Paul Okon to take charge of National U/18 team

Former Socceroos captain, Paul Okon, has been named to take charge of an Under 18 men's team to participate in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney from 14-18 January 2009.

Former Socceroos captain, Paul Okon, has been named to take charge of an Under 18 men's team to participate in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney from 14-18 January 2009.

Okon is one of the new generation of elite level coaches in Australia, having had an 18 year playing career which spanned teams in the former national soccer league, the Hyundai A-League, Italy's Serie A, the English Premier League and the Belgium First Division. Okon also played 37 times for Australia.

The Australian Youth Olympic Festival has been running since 2001 following the success of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The 2009 Festival promises to be the biggest yet with 1,550 athletes from 27 countries competing across 17 sports.

Nine members of the 18 man squad selected by Okon play for National Youth League teams.

"This tournament is a good opportunity for the younger guys to get some international experience," said Okon.

"We are playing three strong teams over an intensive period of just four days so it will be a good test for them.

"It's the type of opportunity that some players really make the most of, and I look forward to seeing how they go."

The Australian team will compete against China, Chile and USA with all matches to be played at Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood.

National Youth Olympic Team squad

Dylan De Montis (AIS), Steve Lustica (Sydney FC), Dejan Aleksic (Perth Glory), Lucas Andreucci (Adelaide United), Daniel Bowles (Queensland Roar), Tyler Thurtell (Queensland Roar), Kofi Danning (Sydney FC), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Kliment Taseski (VIS), Koh Satake (QAS), Petar Franjic (VIS), Jacob Borg (NSWIS), Kearyn Baccus (NSWIS), Mitchell Bevan (Queensland Roar), Joshua Groenewald (VIS), Liam Harvey (Perth Glory), James Virgili (NSWIS), Neko Vujevich (QAS)

National Youth Olympic Team

Schedule - Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood

Day 2 - 15 January 2009 Australia v China - kick off 5.00pm AEDT USA v Chile - kick off 6.00pm AEDT

Day 3 - 16 January 2009 Chile v Australia - kick off 5.00pm AEDT China v USA - kick off 6.00pm AEDT

Day 5 - 18 January 2009 Chile v China - kick off 5.00pm AEDT Australia v USA - kick off 6.00pm AEDT

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