Youngest ever Australia Cup scorer, another electric talent from Adelaide, and sons of Socceroos: Meet the future of Australian football


The next generation of Joeys opened up their national team careers this week with a win against Switzerland. With players playing club football in Italy, Belgium, England, France, and Croatia, the cohort has a large quantity of overseas-based talent, a positive sign that Football Australia is taking the national teams at younger ages more seriously, especially important with Danilo Treffiletti (Italy and Monza), Paul Okon’s son Gianluca Okon (Belgium and Club Brugge), and Noah Slunjski (Croatia and Hajduk Split) all being players that have received interest from their respective nations.

The Australian-based players are relatively spread out, with Perth, Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory, and Adelaide all producing three players. The Brisbane Roar contributed two, with Sydney FC, the Mariners, the Sutherland Sharks, and Gold Coast Knights having one each selected.

FT | The #Joeys have claimed a 4-3 win in a modified 120-minute contest over Switzerland U-16! ????????????

MacNicol 9′, 55′
Tatu 72′
Bolongi 107′

— Football Australia (@FootballAUS) April 11, 2024

It’s worth noting that Western United, Macarthur, Newcastle, and the Western Sydney Wanderers all contributed no players. Serious questions need to be asked especially about the Western Sydney Wanderers, who should have one of the best youth programs in the country based on their location and size.

Joeys to Look Out For

Danilo Treffiletti: The only player in this team with prior Joeys experience, Treffiletti is a midfielder for Monza in Italy. Along with representing Australia last year, he has also played for the Italian national team, which is obviously a good sign regarding his quality. He has a wonderful pass, is a strong ball-progressor, and sees the game very well. The midfielder has played above his age with Monza and will be very interesting to watch in the coming international period.

Marcus Neill: Another foreign-based player and the son of Socceroo Lucas, Neill is a striker for Sunderland, having moved from Liverpool at the start of this calendar year. The move appears to be a positive one as Sunderland’s head of recruitment said, “the plan for him is to join the U-18s with an eye on the U-21s but the last thing we want to do is loudly broadcast his arrival to the world and place unnecessary pressure on the boy.” Sunderland clearly has high expectations for the son of a former Socceroo.

Besian Kutleshi: A Melbourne City centre-back with impressive size and ball-playing ability, Kutleshi is certainly a player to look out for. He recently made his debut for Melbourne City’s top academy side, with players much older than him. Melbourne City clearly values him, and it will be interesting to see their long-term plan for him.

Amlani Tatu: Tatu has a pretty similar story to Nestory Irankunda, he is an electrifying forward of Burundian heritage who plays for Adelaide United. The first thing that sticks out about him is also his shot power, but he is a lot more than that. Tatu is an outstanding one-on-one player and appears to be a little bit less direct than Irankunda, liking to cut inside. He is quite technical and can move his body in a way few other Australians can. Another serious, serious attacking talent to watch out for in Adelaide who scored for the Joeys against Switzerland.

Quinn MacNicol: He is the third youngest A-League player ever, youngest Brisbane Roar player ever, and the youngest ever Australia Cup goalscorer. A technically gifted midfielder, MacNicol is probably the most-known player in this cohort and his elevated status as the only player in this team with A-League involvement is not unwarranted. A good ball-playing midfielder for the Brisbane Roar to look forward to. He scored twice against Switzerland and is truly a huge talent, both within and beyond the context of Australian Football.

He’s only just on the field and he’s put his first goal straight into the ledger for @brisbaneroar!!
Here’s how the 15 year old made it 5-Nil against @SydUtd58FC!!
Watch #SUDvBRI live & free now on 10 Play!! #MagicOfTheCup #AustraliaCup

— 10 Football (@10FootballAU) August 26, 2023

The full squad:

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Jai Ajanovic (Goalkeeper, Central Coast Mariners)
Nickolas Alfaro (Midfielder, Sydney FC)
Max Anastasio (Attacker, Angers SCO)
Antonio Arena (Attacker, Delfino Pescara)
David Bolongi (Attacker, Gold Coast Knights)
Alex Bolton (Midfielder, Perth Glory)
Aaron Cartwright (Attacker, Melbourne City)
Jordan Graoroski (Attacker, Sutherland Sharks)
James Houridis (Midfielder, Melbourne Victory)
Alexander Houridis (Midfielder, Melbourne Victory)
Feyzo Kasumovic (Defender, Adelaide United)
Besian Kutleshi (Defender, Melbourne City)
Quinn MacNicol (Midfielder, Brisbane Roar)
Jayden Necovski (Defender, Melbourne City)
Marcus Neill (Attacker, Sunderland AFC)
Malual Nichola (Defender, Adelaide United)
Gianluca Okon (Midfielder, Club Brugge)
Christian Pullella (Defender, Perth Glory)
Noah Slunjski (Attacker, Hadjuk Split)
Amlani Tatu (Attacker, Adelaide United)
Hayden Thomas (Defender, Perth Glory)
Danilo Treffiletti (Midfielder, AC Monza)
Oskar Von Schrenk (Goalkeeper, Melbourne Victory)
Rhys Williams (Midfielder, Brisbane Roar)

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