Why are NPL players overlooked by A-League clubs?
We see the same headline all the time, an NPL player is on trial with an A-League club but never ends up signing.
Occasionally you get the rare talent, for example, current Brisbane Roar striker Dylan Wenzel-Halls, or Newcastle Jets right-back Matthew Millar.
Are NPL players overlooked by A-League scouts simply because they play at a lower level and have not played professionally before?
Well, they are wrong; there is a lot of talent spread across the Australian leagues.
Florent Indalecio, a former Fraser Park player - a team that plays in the NPL 4 in Sydney - joined English Premier League side Newcastle United on a deal to play in their under 23’s. How did he slip through the cracks?
Florent Indalecio (above) joined England's Newcastle United from the NPL 4.
Not many scouts would be looking in NPL 4, but A-League clubs should look at players and teams in the top two NPL competitions across the nation.
More recently, we saw a plethora of NPL players trial for A-League teams such as the Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle, to name a few. But why can’t these players break into A-League rosters?
Is the gap between the Semi/Non-Professional leagues too much?
Certainly not, in more recent times, for example, the 2019 FFA Cup saw A-League clubs stunned by NPL clubs.
Think of the Brisbane Strikers 3-2 win over Wellington, or Central Coast being knocked out by Green Gully 2-1.
The Brisbane Strikers famously knocked out Wellington in the 2019 FFA Cup. (AAP)
The National Premier Leagues are full of former A-League pros, such as James Virgili. He is now playing for Broadmeadow Magic in Newcastle’s NPL, for example.
The NPL is also full of young, eager talent, ready to take their clubs, and themselves, to new heights. However, once again, they are considered inferior to those that play for A-League NPL teams.
So, what can we do to fix this issue?
We need to get people involved with the club watching the games at the grounds or watching live streams of games so that we certainly see more NPL players making the jump to the A-League in years to come.
NPL players at an A-League level should wait for their chance or be seen to garner a trial or be scouted.