South Coast football talent heading to West Ham talent camp

HAMMER TIME: Illawarra Football Academy squad members, Gabriel Lombardi, Cooper Schofield, Bailey Napier, Jackson Nolan, Cael Harrower, Jesse Blackmore, Aaron Hage, Mitchell Despotovski, Jackson Croft. Photo: Sylvia Liber

HAMMER TIME: Illawarra Football Academy squad members, Gabriel Lombardi, Cooper Schofield, Bailey Napier, Jackson Nolan, Cael Harrower, Jesse Blackmore, Aaron Hage, Mitchell Despotovski, Jackson Croft. Photo: Sylvia Liber

TWENTY of the region’s top young footballers will have the opportunity of a lifetime on the Gold Coast next month.

The 20 Illawarra Football Academy training mates are among 400 children from Australia heading to the Gold Coast next month, for the third annual West Ham United Oceania camp.

Included in the squad is Nowra trio Gabriel Lombard, Jackson Croft and Jacob Fakhoury – who are all part of Southern Branch.

Under the tutelage of IFA director Mark Tyssen, the group were chosen to attend after being identified by some of the West Ham Academy coaches.

"It's a great opportunity," Tyssen said. 

“We’ve been doing this for a couple of years and it provides them with a chance to work with some really top coaches to develop their technique and skill.

The camp is for ages 7-18, run by the Hammers’ senior technical director Paul Heffer, with a handful invited to the club’s academy in London for a two-week international training camp.

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