Western Pride are delighted to announce five young players with close ties to Ipswich have been promoted to the Senior Men squad for the 2018 season.
Dan Hall, Andy Pengelly, Alex Parsons and Solomon Lukonga have all been promoted to the top team after making their senior debuts this year.
Matt Haspels has also secured a senior deal after his form in the U20s earned him the Best and Fairest award at Pride’s recent awards night.
Pride coach Graham Harvey said he was delighted to give the youngsters a chance at a higher level.
“They have earned their right to play first team football through hard work and consistent performances,” Harvey said.
“These young players are well on the path to becoming at a minimum NPL footballers.”
Hall made his debut as a substitute against Moreton Bay United in July and marked the occasion by setting up a Harry Sawyer goal.
In all the midfielder made 6 substitute appearances, scoring his first senior goal in August’s home win against SWQ Thunder.
Hall’s most telling impact was being fouled late in the PlayStation® 4 National Premier League Grand Final to allow Dylan Wenzel-Halls to score the winning free-kick.
Lukonga has been a consistent goal-scoring threat at every age group since joining Pride’s youth program in 2014.
An early-season injury crisis saw the attacker make his senior debut back in Round 3 against Olympic and going on to score against FNQ Heat and Sunshine Coast.
Both Pengelly and Parsons were both awarded with a pair of late-season substitute appearances after heavy goal-scoring for Pride’s U20s.
Pengelly’s grabbed a league-high 33 goals while Parsons scored 14 goals in 13 appearances as the U20s plus another 3 for the U18s.
Haspels rose through the ranks at Richlands-based Brisbane Force and after a stint at Ipswich Knights joined Pride late last year.
The defender made 21 appearances for Pride’s U20 squad which went undefeated in the last 9 rounds of competition.
The quintet all have strong ties to Ipswich having attended local schools.
Hall, Parsons, Pengelly and Haspels went through Ipswich Grammar School’s football program, while Lukonga was a student at WestMac.
Harvey said it was highly rewarding to develop players from the Ipswich area.
“Quite simply giving young players from Ipswich an opportunity was the objective behind the club when it started five years ago,” Harvey said.
WORDS: Garry McKenzie
PHOTO: Chris Simpson
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