How Ipswich rebuilding football Pride after uncertainty
AFTER being demoted from the National Premier Leagues competition, Western Pride faced a period of uncertainty preparing for the 2020 senior men's season.
However, that apprehension was shortlived, having to refocus on joining next year's Queensland Premier League ranks.
With the club's professional management team quickly readjusting and appointing new coach Andrew Catton, Pride is ready to rebuild.
Catton is delighted with the players who have re-signed, along withan exciting injection of talent eager to revitalise Pride's footballing future.
"We want to bring them together. I'm very much process driven,'' Catton said.
"We've got some pretty stable building blocks in place at the moment.''
State level players returning include the loyal Nielen Brown, last year's experienced recruit Killian Flavin and skilful defender Aidan Norris who was a regular top side player during the 2019 season.
"Nielen, for me, I'm really happy to have kept. He's been here for a long time,'' Catton said.
"He understands the club. He gets the culture and what the club's about.
"He's certainly been fantastic at training. He's been a real leading figure around the group.
"The loyalty he has shown speaks volumes.''
Player of the future Connor Maynard has also returned after forcing his way into last year's NPL side.
Promising youth players Jacob Advaney, Jarrod Hyslop and Griffin Trevett-Lyall bring a blend of past Pride winning culture into the senior ranks.
The newcomers include Lions recruits Rhys Webster and Adam Sawyer, Franco Aceto from Olympic, ex-Capalaba player Nathan Yoon and George Freeman, who adds some experience to the young brigade.
Webster is a left-foot centre back, with under-20 leadership experience in a championship-winning side.
Sawyer was a former Brisbane Roar Youth captain who plays in the centre midfield.
"He's got a lot of experience,'' Catton said.
"The same with Nathan Yoon. He's come through the Roar Youth program as well.''
Having played an important role in Ipswich Grammar's recent footballing successes, Catton is keen to bring on young talent having recently completed his higher level coaching accreditation.
He is pleased to have former Pride player Matt Haspels returning from an NPL stint with the Magpies Crusaders.
Another footballer to watch is Will Orford, who is back in Ipswich colours after crafting his skills in Victoria.
"I had him (Orford) at IGS the year we won it (GPS premiership) in 2017,'' Catton said. "He was here (Pride) that year when they won the under 18s too.
"He's taken off to South Melbourne so he has got a bit of experience down there but a quality player.''
Aceto is a striker who Catton said "was really hungry for an opportunity''.
Winger Freeman is an athletic IGS Old boy who has played overseas.
"George is 25. The rest are all under 22,'' Catton said.
The Pride's top side started fresh last week after trials in early October and a short break.
Catton has a five and a half week program planned before Christmas.
After a trial game against the promoted Ripley side, Pride were planning a game against the Ipswich Knights.
Pride are also looking to play the Sunshine Coast Fire, South West Thunder and Brisbane Strikers in future weeks.
After Christmas, Pride will contest the annual Silver Boot pre-season tournament before more trials against Brisbane Roar, Olympic and Burleigh.
The 2020 QPL season is set to kick off in late February.