Central Coast Mariners Youth Academy Trial

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About The Central Coast Mariners Academy

The youth system of Central Coast Mariners FC is the Central Coast Mariners Academy (CCMA). It is based in Gosford, Australia. The academy teams compete in the highest level of youth football in Australia, the National Premier League, and the Y-League. Some senior team players recovering from injury usually play in the academy side to gain form. The present manager of the academy system is Ray Junna. The Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence serves as their training ground and is used for the majority of their home fixtures. Occasionally, the Pluim Park is used also.

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Academy Team Background

First Academy (2012–2014)

Mariners and Central Coast Football collaborated to form Central Coast Mariners Academy. The main purpose is to provide a junior development pathway to the NYL and A-League sides. The academy existed solely as a junior side prior to 2012. It was then confirmed to participate in the New South Wales Premier League in 2012. Joey Peters was revealed as senior coach in October 2012. In its first two seasons, the club finished tenth among twelve clubs.

CCMA provides a pathway for Central Coast Mariners in the Hyundai A-League and is focused on nurturing young talents. 15-year-old Daniel McFarlane earned trials with UK clubs Swansea City and Birmingham City, based on appearances for CCMA. Patrick Zwaanswijk competed in the National Youth League after signing for McFarlane from the CCMA. After making a significant impression in the NSWPL season, local players Steve Whyte, Josh Forbes, Bradley Wilson, and Nathan Verity acquired a contract in the NYL squad.

The Academy program was eventually closed following disputes between the Mariners and Central Coast Football over technical and financial aspects of the program. In August 2014, Central Coast Football got back the Football NSW license to run the representative side on the Central Coast.

2015 Till Now

Academy sides from Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers were proposed to be included in the National Premier Leagues NSW competitions. In addition,  the inclusion of a Central Coast side is to be determined between the Mariners and Central Coast Football. All these were recommended by a competition review conducted by Football NSW in 2015. Subsequently, in August 2015, Mariners applied for entry to the NPL and SAP. They replaced Central Coast FC after being accepted from the 2016 season onwards.

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Chances Of Being An Academy Coach

An opportunity is available for a suitably qualified coach to join the Central Coast Mariners Youth Boys Program.

Your role when accepted is that you organize and carry out three training sessions per week on the Central Coast along. Also every match day in the FNSW Leagues One competition must be attended.

Qualified applicants are required to possess a current C License – Youth. Although, a B License is preferable. A valid Working with Children Check must be held by each applicant.

About The Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence

The training ground and academy home of Central Coast Mariners are the Mariners Centre of Excellence. It is located in Tuggerah, Australia. Also, it serves as a training ground for the club’s senior team. A 3,000, capacity stadium is also contained within the facility. It is the club’s home ground and was purpose-built for the Central Coast.  


In 2011, work on the site began.

The Setup of the Establishment

The Mariners Centre of Excellence consists of:

  • 2 full-size grass pitches and a 3,000-seat grandstand
  • 10 sports courts
  • 1 heated aquatic and hydrotherapy center
  • 1 gymnasium
  • 1 educational learning centre
  • 1 medicine centre
  • 1 event centre

About The Central Coast Mariners FC

Australian football club Central Coast Mariners Football Club is located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Gosford.

It is under license from the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) and competes in the A-League Men. The Mariners were are one of the eight original A-League teams and was founded in 2004. No professional sports club from Gosford competed in a national competition before them.

The Central Coast Mariners have won an A-League Championship from four Grand Final appearances. They also won the A-League Premiership twice after finishing top of the table. Also, they have featured five times in the AFC Champions League. The 20,059 capacity Central Coast Stadium serves as their home ground.

The Yellow Army (named after the color of the club’s home strip) are Mariners’ main supporters’ group. The Newcastle Jets also known as the F3 Derby, after the previous name of a highway connecting the cities of the team’s, are the club’s main rivals.  Mariners’ all-time leading goal scorer with 55 goals across all competitions as of January 2020, is Matt Simon. John Hutchinson holds the team record for matches played with 263 appearances for the Mariners.

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Formation (2004)

With a focus of filling the one spot for a regional team appointed by the FFA, Central Coast Mariner bid for a franchise in the Football Federation Australia’s new A-League. Media speculated that the Mariners’ bid may be favorable due to its new blood prior to the announcement of the franchise in the new league. They were supported by Alex Tobin, former Australian international player and club technical director. Also, the proposal was further strengthened by Clean Up Australia personality Ian Kiernan who would act as inaugural club chairman.

Central Coast was expected to make it into the league by default as they were the only regional. The club appointed former Northern Spirit coach Lawrie McKinna as manager and former Rangers and Northern Spirit player Ian Ferguson as coach. This was following a reported signed deal with the FFA.  The Mariners established formal connections with local state league team Central Coast United to aid the FFA’s objective of building the sport’s profile.

The club was announced as one of eight teams to become part of FFA’s domestic competition, the A-League on 1 November 2004. They were the first professional team from the Gosford region to play in a national competition.

The club was owned by Spirits Sports and Leisure Group at the time of the new league’s formation in 2004. A star player under the league’s allowance for one star player outside of the $1.5 million salary cap was reportedly sought after by the club. However, the insisted that the player should not look at the position as a retirement fund. Australian national team players Ante Milicic and Simon Colosimo were sought after by Coach Lawrie McKinna. He announced that he may sign more than the three under-20 players required by league rules.

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The club’s  financial stability were their early concerns, but it was eased after partnering with a technology company Toshiba. Also, local businessman John Singleton further invested in the club. Damien Brown of Bateau Bay, formerly of the Newcastle Jets was relentlessly sought after by McKinna. Brown finally became the first player to sign for the club in a decision which prompted the player to state that he was “over the moon”. Part of his role was to assist in the selection of young talents from the local region. Club chairman Lyall Gorman was pleased that a local had become a “foundation player”.

The club had built a solid foundation of player signings by early December 2004. They began talks with Nik Mrdja, a former Perth Glory striker and finally signed him, their first star striker later in the month. He scored the final goal to secure Perth Glory’s final win and was an outstanding player in the previous National Soccer League. The club’s management was reluctant to sign a star player outside of the $1.5 million salary cap. Stating that they “would have to contribute on the pitch and get people to come to the ground.”

The Events Of The Lawrie McKinna Era Within 2004–2010

The Mariners had a successful inaugural season as they finished third in the regular season and reached the 2006 A-League Grand Final. Unfortunately, Central Coast lost 1-0 to Sydney FC in front of a record 41,689 spectators. They went on to defeat Perth Glory 1-0 to win the 2005 Pre-season Cup. The Mariners acquired the services of then-Australian international Tony Vidmar from NAC Breda who signed a two-year contract. This was prior to the 2006-07 A-League season. Following the lead of Sydney FC (Twilight Yorke (and Adelaide United (Qu Shengqing), this was the club’s first marquee signing.  

Central Coast lost the 2006 Pre-season Cup 5-4 on penalties to Adelaide United after an extra time 1-1 draw. They finished sixth in the 2006–07 A-League season and were unable to gain a spot in the final series.

The Mariners released club captain Noel Spencer who then signed to Sydney FC to participate in the Asian Champion after the 2006–07 season. Meanwhile, the club appointed a 22 year old Alex Wilkinson as the new captain. He played every possible competitive game for the club.

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Central Coast Mariners signed an arrangement with English Football League Championship club Sheffield United in February 2008. This partnership was just one out of many links the Mariners made with foreign clubs. Among them are Ferencváros of Hungary, Chengdu Blades of China and Sao Paulo of Brazil. The youth system and senior side had the opportunity to draw from the roster of Sheffield United through transfers because of this partnership. Also, in hopes that Central Coast could utilize its share of income to expand and boost their Mariners Youth Academy, they formed a property development joint venture.

Central Coast won its first premiership on goal difference ahead of Newcastle in the 2007-08 season. They were level on 31 points with three other clubs in the final round. They lost 2-0 to Newcastle in the first leg of it’s major semi-finals in the final series. However, they held a 2-0 lead in the second leg, thereby, forcing the tie to extra time. Sasho Petrovski who had scored earlier netted a 94th-minute goal which put Central Coast ahead at 3–2 on aggregate. As a result, the Mariners qualified for the 2008 A-League Grand Final.  

Coincidentally, Newcastle faced them again in the final which they lost this time in controversial 1-0 loss. The match ended in controversy due to an uncalled handball against Newcastle in Central Coast Mariners penalty box during the closing seconds of the match. This would have been a huge opportunity to equalise the match if the foul was called. Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic struck referee Mark Shield on the arm as Mariners players disputed the referee’s  decision.

The Suspension Of The Goalkeeper

This lead to an immediate send off of the goalkeeper and later, they suspended they from both domestic and international competition for nine months. Also, they added an additional six-months’ suspension ban. But, they later reduced to three months on appeal. FIFA banned the goalkeeper from competing at the 2008 Olympic Games despite further appeals. It lasted into October, so Central Coast signed former Manchester United and Australian international keeper Mark Bosnich on a seven week contract.

They predicted the Central Coast to be among the A-League leaders before the 2008-09 season. However, they had a run of three losses in a row to end the regular season. They managed to qualify for the Finals after finishing fourth, two points ahead of Sydney F.C. and Wellington Phoenix. Queensland Roar ended Central Coast’s season after defeating them 4–1 on aggregate in their minor semi-final.

The Events In The Graham Arnold and Phil Moss Era From 2010–2015

After the 2009-19 season, McKinna moved to become Central Coast’s Football and Commercial Operations Manager in February 2010. They appointed Graham Arnold who was Socceroos assistant manager as the club’s new manager, becoming its second manager. Numerous transfers resulted in changes to the club’s squad in the build-up to the 2010-11 season. In June 2010, the Mariners announced the signing of Argentine 2005 Under 20s World Cup winner Patricio Pérez. They also went on to sign Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk.

They announced that the Mariners’ women’s team would not compete in the 2010–11 W-League competition in July 2010. This was as a result of financial issues following Football NSW withdrawal of it’s funding.

The 2010-11 season was more successful for the club than the previous season despite relatively low expectations for the season. Both the A-League and youth league teams

finished second in their respective leagues. Brisbane Roar then defeated the senior team 4–2 on aggregate over two legs in the major semi-final. They went on to qualify for the 2011 A-League Grand Final after  defeating Gold Coast United  1–0 in the Preliminary Final. The club also qualified for the 2012 AFC Champions League automatically by reaching the Grand Final. Central Coast finished runners-up for the third time in a championship match that the A-League’s website called “classic”. They lost 4–2 in a penalty shootout after leading 2–0 with three minutes remaining in extra time.

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The club won the premiership for the second time in its history in the 2011-12 season. They finished with 51 points, two more than second-place Brisbane.  The club failed to qualify for a second successive Grand Final losing 5–2 on aggregate to Brisbane in the major semi-final. And then  5–3 on penalties after a 1–1 draw with Perth Glory in the Grand Final Qualifier.

Central Coast won its first A-League title after three losses in Grand Finals on 21 April 2013. The Final, held at Allianz Stadium saw them beat first-year team Western Sydney Wanderers  2–0.  Arnold extended his contract with the club for a further two seasons on 30 August 2013. However, they announced that he signed a two-year deal with J. League Division 1 side Vegalta Sendai as manager on 14 November.  He was to start in January 2014. Phil Moss, his former assistant manager succeeded him as the new head coach. Mariners general manager Peter Turnbull also left the club. New Zealand  international Michael McGlinchey moved to the J. League to play for Arnold’s new side.

The 2013-14 A-League regular season saw Central Coast finished in third place. They were only behind runner-ups Western Sydney on goal difference. The Mariners’ championship hopes crashed when they lost 2–0  to Western Sydney in the semi-finals. The game came barely three days after the team lost 1-0 to Japanese club Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Then, they left the 2014 AFC Champions League.

Some Alterations By Moss

Moss did little to change what Arnold created at the club in what was his first pre-season as coach. They signed the Senegalese international Malick Mané and Hungarian Richard Vernes.  Also, Marcos Flores left the club and Mike Sterjovski retired.  Mariners beat local rivals Newcastle Jets 1-0 in the A-League opening round and also qualified for the 2014 FFA Cup. They began the season on a high. However, they flopped and failed to secure a win for the remainder of the year.

The club dismissed Moss as head coach after Chinese side Guangzhou R&F eliminated them from the 2015 AFC Champions League and a continued poor league record.

The decision was made on 6 March 2015 and Mariners appointing technical director Tony Walmsley  as interim. They also appointed captain John Hutchinson  in a dual player-coach role till the end of the season. Also, Portuguese player Fabio Ferrera  joined the team at the tail end of the season.   Walmsley was announced as Mariners’ permanent technical director and head coach for the 2015-16 season on 15 April. The announcement came despite an end to the season in which the club finished the league in eighth position.

The Events After Arnold’s Era 2015–2020

The 2015-16 season saw the Mariners experience their equal-worst A-League performance to date. They finished last place with 13 points, the fewest in club history. They set a league record by losing 20 games while winning only 3, a record low for the Mariners. Central Coast allowed 70 goals, the most in league history, and had a goal difference of −37, the worst by an A-League team. The Mariners’ totals of goals conceded at home and away (32 and 38 respectively) were also A-League records. They didn’t record a clean sheet all through the season.  

The Mariners lost 2–1 to Green Gully SC at Green Gully Reserve in the 2016 FFA Cup. As a result, they became the second A-League team to be eliminated by a state league team in the FFA Cup. On 8 August 2016, the club sacked Walmsley  following this loss. They made his assistant, John Hutchinson, the interim caretaker.  

They appointed Paul Okon as Central Coast’s permanent coach on 29 August 2016. The Mariners came down from 3-0 to draw 3-3 with Perth Glory at Nib stadium in Okon’s debut as Central Coast manager. On 6 November, Okon recorded his first win in a 2-1 victory over defending Champions Adelaide United at Hindmarsh stadium in his fifth game in charge.  However, the Mariners finished the season in eighth position.

On 2 August 2017, they knocked Mariners out of the FFA Cup by a state league team. Sadly, it happened in the first round for the second consecutive year. They lost to Blacktown City 3-2. Hope you are following on the topic “Central Coast Youth Academy Trial”.

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The Mariners were in the top four at a time in the 2017-18 season. However, after a run of 11 games without a win the club dropped down the table.  Central Coast was in ninth entering the last four rounds of the regular season when Okon resigned. Wayne O’Sullivan served as an interim manager following Okon’s departure. The team finished last for the second time in three years, with a six-game losing streak at season end.

In 2018, Central Coast hired Mike Mulbey, the former Brisbane manager. The Mariners won only a match in the first 21 matches of the 2018–19 A-League season. Alen Stajcic, former head coach of the Australia’s  women’s  national team replaced Mulvey as manager. The Mariners were unable to avoid finishing at the bottom of the table again despite two wins in six games as a caretaker manager. The club offered Stajcic, a three-year contract after the season.

Michael Charles worth put the Mariners up for sale after their last game of the 2019-20 season on August 4, 2020.  As a result, they put the club at risk of leaving the Central Coast. They will hand back the Mariners’ A-League license to the FFA if they don’t find a buyer.

The Identity Of The Lodge

The Mariners home strip is mostly yellow with sleeves that are navy blue. The away uniform is a mostly plain navy blue jersey with yellow as a secondary colour. Hummel manufactured the club’s kit in the 2011–12 season as the A-League’s Reebok deal had expired at the 2010–11 season end. Facts revealed that the Mariners signed a two-year deal with Kappa to be their official apparel supplier in September 2012. The team logo is a yellow football at the centre of a blue curling wave which symbolizes the beaches of the Central Coast.

Since 2012, in order to raise money and awareness for Pink Ribbon Day, part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Mariners have worn special pink kits for some match in October. The Mariners club collected donations at the ground. Also, they auctioned the match-worn kits on online auction site eBay. Then, they donated the proceeds to charity.  

Football Ground Of The Club

The Central Coast Stadium serves as the home ground of Central Coast Mariners. It is located in Grahame Park, between the Gosford Central Business District and the Brisbane water foreshore. They constructed it to make the most of its location. Also, they give a magnificent filtered view of the Brisbane waters through a row of large palm trees as the southern end is open. It is adjacent to the Central Coast Leagues Club and is within walking distance of Gosford railway station.

They set a record attendance of 19,238, the highest for a Mariners fixture against local rivals Newcastle Jets in round 19 of the 2007-08 season. Apparently, they scheduled matches away from Central Coast Stadium, at North Sydney Oval and Brookvale Oval in the 2013—14 and 2014—15 season. This was due to difficulties in drawing spectators. The club’s goal was to play closer to its fan base in north Sydney.

Majority owner Michael Charlesworth estimated the region to be about 20% of its total supporters. In December 2014, Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop suggested that it’ll  be unlikely for the club to continue playing in north Sydney. This was following attendances at North Sydney Oval that were similar to those at Central Coast Stadium.  Are you following with the topic “Central Coast Youth Academy Trial?”.

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Initially called Grahame Park, Central Coast Stadium  is a sports venue in Gosford. It is located precisely  on the Central Coast  of New South Wales, Australia. Occasionally, the stadium also hosts rugby league  and rugby union fixtures as well as other major social events.

They designed the stadium as the home ground of the North Sydney Bears. This is a rugby league football club.

The stadium is rectangular and is unusual in that seating is located on only three sides of the ground. It was the smallest stadium in the A-League as of 2012. The Central Coast Leagues Club and League Club Field are adjacent to the stadium, across Dane Drive.


Erina Shire Council proposed to develop a park on the shore of Brisbane water in 1911. The park required much land to change possession from marshland. Also, a section of the road demolished and the council purchasing privately owned land. In 1915, they opened the Waterside Park and added a cricket pitch the same year.

During the depression, they offered jobs to the unemployed after they extended the park due to its further reclamation. They added a surplus railway land and a Bowling Club. Also, they added a green as well as tennis courts 1939. Apparently, they renamed the place Grahame Park, after the former mayor of Gosford, William Calman Grahame in 1939.

In the late 1990s, they built a full touted stadium. They planned to commission it in 1999 for NRL club the North Sydney Bears. However, construction problems including inclement weather conditions delayed it’s completion. The stadium finally opened in early 2000 as NorthPower Stadium at Grahame Park. It served as home ground for the Northern Eagles National Rugby League team (a merging of the aforementioned Bears and the Manly Sea Eagles) till its dissolving 2002 season end. We will still elaborate more on Central Coast Youth Academy Trial.

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The stadium hosted three group matches in the 2003 Rugby World Cup as no major team was in residence. In the 2004 tour of the Pacific Islanders rugby union team, they played a game at the stadium.

With the formation of the Central Coast Mariners, the stadium gained its second full-time tenant in 2005. It became the first full-time national sporting competition to have a team play at the stadium. The stadium further hosted the Central Coast Waves rugby union team, which joined the Shut Shield in 2006.

Occasionally, the stadium still hosts NRL competition matches, as well as several pre-season trials. In 2007, the Central Coast Rays, the Central Coast’s Australian Rugby championship team, played out of the stadium during the only season of the competition. The Central Coast Mariners still make use of the stadium as their home ground. It hosted NRL matches throughout the 2008 Centenary Year. The NSW Country Eagles hosted a National Rugby Championship match at Central Coast in 2014.

Foot Note

The Sydney Roosters have hosted one NRL match per season at the stadium In recent years. South Sydney Rabbitohs, West Tigers, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have also utilized the stadium for their fixtures. Central Coast Stadium hosted two North Queensland Cowboys games in 2004. The first resulted in a historic 20–20 draw with wooden spooners in South Sydney. the first such result since they introduced the golden point in 2003.

They used the ground temporarily as home ground for New Zealand Warriors in the 2020 and the first four months of the 2021 NRL seasons. This was due to the COVID-19 pandemic which caused border restrictions between Australia and New Zealand. Thereby,  preventing the club from travelling freely between the two countries. Next on the topic “Central Coast Youth Academy Trial” is change of name.

Name changes

Since they built the Stadium, they have changed several name due to sponsorship:

  • Waterside Park, from 1915;
  • Grahame Park, from 1939;
  • NorthPower Stadium at Grahame Park, from January 2000;
  • Central Coast Stadium at Grahame Park, from 23 September 2002;
  • Central Coast Express Advocate Stadium at Grahame Park, from 11 February 2003;
  • Central Coast Stadium at Grahame Park, from 21 March 2005;
  • Central Coast Bluetongue Stadium at Grahame Park, from 28 March 2006.
  • Central Coast Stadium at Grahame Park, from 25 January 2014;


The Gosford railway station is within walking distance to the stadium. Central Coast & Newcastle Line, serve the station , in addition of a small number of long-distance services.

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Apply here; https://ccmariners.com.au/academy/

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