Bertie Grabs His Chance – And His Video – With Both Hands

May 12, 2015 by

It’s not every day a twelve-year-old footballer gets to watch a video replay of his exploits during a game to see exactly how he played and how to improve upon it.

But that’s exactly what has happened to Rochedale Rovers goalkeeper Albert Cate after a recent call-up to play for Brisbane Strikers’ PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Under-13s team.

The Strikers’ regular Under-13s goalkeeper Campbell Farrelly recently suffered an injury that required short-term cover.  Strikers goalkeeper coach Sean Lahiff had been out among the Strikers’ community partner clubs and had been impressed when he saw Cate playing for Rochedale Rovers.  He recommended the young goalkeeper to Strikers technical director David Large, who contacted his counterpart at Rovers, Scott MacNicol.

MacNicol – himself a former Strikers player at senior level – had no hesitation in approaching Albert, better known to his family and team mates as “Bertie” and, before he knew it, Bertie was playing for Strikers Under-13s against Western Pride at Perry Park two weeks ago.  Patrolling behind an unfamiliar back four, Bertie achieved what every goalkeeper wants in every game – a clean sheet – as Strikers won 3-0.

The Rovers youngster took it all in his stride, showing that he has the ideal temperament to succeed in a position that perhaps has more pressure attached to it than any other in a football team.

“I think I did fairly well”, he said.  “I was fairly confident coming into the game because I knew a lot of the boys already through my school (Cavendish Road) football academy and elsewhere, through playing with Lytton district and Met East trials.  I felt like I had a good game and importantly all the boys played well too.”

When Bertie’s father, Darren, learned the game was being filmed (a regular occurrence at junior matches in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues) he asked if Bertie could have a copy of the film to see what he could learn about his own performance.  Strikers technical director David Large happily obliged and handed over a USB stick to Bertie last week.

“I am really looking forward to (watching) it”, Bertie said.

“I felt like I had a good game, so its always good to see yourself if you have played well.  But I will also be able to pick up where I made mistakes and hopefully improve on that.”

The youngster said he had been thrilled when he heard the Strikers had asked him to play for them.

“It was a great feeling because Strikers bring a new level of professionalism”, he said.  “Its a step up from Rovers, although Rovers has a high level of professionalism as well.  But NPL is the next step toward becoming a professional footballer, which is where I want to be.”

MacNicol said Rovers were supportive of Bertie having the opportunity to turn out for the Strikers, regardless of having to go without their goalkeeper for a week.

“It doesn’t really matter what level you play at, it’s always good to get recognized by another club or another player”, MacNicol said.  “It shows that you’re doing well and shows that you are progressing in the right way”.

“It’s good as a coach, as well, to see that our players are being recognised, not just from the individual basis but from the club basis.  It shows that we must be doing the right things from our level and that we’re working together with the Strikers.

“And basically it gives our kids an opportunity to have a look at what it’s like to play with another team and against different opposition that they’re not used to playing against”.

Large said he could not be more appreciative of the supportive stance taken by MacNicol and other technical directors in the Strikers’ catchment community clubs in providing promising juniors with opportunities to experience PlayStation 4 NPL football.

“Scottie’s been absolutely fantastic”, Large said of MacNicol.  “ He’ll push every kid he can from Rochedale to us to help.

“On top of that, we bring boys in to train with us periodically.  Bertie actually hadn’t had that opportunity, but now that we’ve made that acquaintance – and he did have a solid game – I’ve told Sean to bring him in one night a week and give him an opportunity to train with us as well”.

Large said that if the PlayStation 4 NPL model is to succeed in identifying and developing players with potential to play at elite levels it was essential for PlayStation 4 NPL clubs to work hard on forging close relationships with the community clubs in their catchment areas.

“That is massive for us”, Large said.  “It’s something that our club strives to do well.  I’m driven in a massive way by (Chairman) Bruce Atterton-Evans and, I suppose now, (CEO) Bruce Dinsdale will be in tandem with him.

“It’s not just about the sixteen boys that get selected for our teams each year.  At the moment, for example, we’ve got three or four boys in the Under-12s that are periodically coming in and training and Paul Wilton, the coach, manages when they come in and when they don’t.

“These boys are from Logan Lightning, from Souths United, from Rochedale  Rovers – obviously the bigger clubs because they are the ones that seem to have the players – but it’s something that we’ll keep doing and, if I am being fair to our catchment, they’ve all been really supportive and helpful in giving kids an opportunity”.

Photo: Bertie Cate with technical directors David Large (Strikers, left) and Scot McNicol (Rovers, right)

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