Western Pride FC’s Hayden McHenery has joined Brisbane Roar Youth for the remainder of the PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues season.
Mchenery signed after impressing in a recent trial and now has a chance to secure a contract for Roar’s upcoming Foxtel National Youth League campaign.
The 19-year old made 22 appearances for Pride, scoring his first senior goal earlier this season against Moreton Bay Jets.
Mchenery came to attention as part of the Queensland Academy of Sport side that won the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland 2013 Under 18 Boys Grand Final.
By the time Roar took over the QAS program in 2014 Mchenery’s progress was hindered by the onset of Osteitis Pubis and he missed out on promotion to the Hyundai A-League’s Youth side.
Undaunted, the midfielder signed for Pride in the footsteps of fellow QAS alumni Bon Scott, Jesse Rigby and Gabriel Hawash where he was handed his senior competitive debut last season.
Mchenery thanked Pride and coaches Karl Dodd and Graham Harvey for giving him a second chance at professional football.
“It is good to get my foot back in the door again,” Mchenery said.
“After a bad run of injuries Pride gave me a shot of playing at a senior level.”
“This improved my football as it exposed me to quicker and more experienced players.”
Mchenery was prepared to travel an hour each way to Ipswich for training after hearing by word-of-mouth Dodd was a quality coach who was prepared to give youth a chance.
A full summer pre-season under current Pride coach Harvey allowed Mchenery to regain full fitness and exhibit the form of his QAS days this season.
“We’ve had two good coaches in that time I’ve been at the club who challenge us each week,” Mchenery said.
“At Pride the next step was getting into the Roar Youth team, and now it is trying to get a NYL contract.”
Roar Youth coach Josh McCloughan said Roar were attracted to Mchenery’s technical ability.
“As a player he is a huge competitor and a good learner – he’s coachable, and he represents a lot of attributes we are look for at the Roar,” McCLoughan said.
McLoughan said Mchenery’s story should be an inspiration for players who have had similar set-backs.
“You need to have the hope if you go out to an NPL club you will be looked at,” McCLoughan said
“We are always looking and who is performing week in and week out whether they have been in the QAS or Roar program or not.
“There is never a door closed.”
Mchenery is the second Pride player to join Roar in the last year after striker Harrison Sawyer received a contract to play in Roar’s Foxtel National Youth League last summer.
In the same period Bon Scott and Ajdin Fetagenic also left Pride to sign for professional sides.
Pride currently has two more players trialling at the Roar, while Joel Haack, Cory Leggett and Doug Brown all currently trialling with professional clubs in the UK.
McCloughan said he was pleased with how Western Pride went about youth development.
“Graham Harvey is doing a super job,” McCloughan said.
“He’s prepared to look at young players and give them a chance.”
Words: Garry McKenzie
Photo: Chris Simpson
Western Pride Media: email@example.com