York Set For Youth Injection: ‘We’ve Got Reinforcements Coming’
York United fought league leaders Pacific to a nil-nil draw last night, but an even tougher battle lies ahead for the club: reaching the league’s minimum quota of 2,000 minutes for domestic U-21 athletes.
The Nine Stripes entered the match dead last in that minute count, with just 341 out of the required 2,000 minutes. While four of the seven faces on the club’s bench fit the bracket, York only accumulated seven youth minutes when Trivine Esprit came off the bench in the 83rd.
That means the club will now need to give Canadian youth athletes an average of 137 minutes per match for the rest of the season if they’re to hit the league’s minimum when the season ends. Failing to do so means the club will automatically miss playoffs regardless of where they are in league standings.
Speaking with media after the match, head coach Martin Nash gave a quiet urge for calm when asked about the situation.
“We’ve got reinforcements coming,” said the gaffer. “We’ll be starting U-21s more regular now, pushing that way and that direction – we need to.”
The club already revealed that the left-back replacement for Lassana Faye will be a domestic U-21 product rather than an international, though it’s unclear who is coming in. With Markiyan Voytsekhovskyy now out for the season, another roster spot has opened up and they intend to fill that quickly, too.
“We need to get more U-21s to start them because of the injuries. This week, we’ll have a few more,” added Nash.
The Nine Stripes boss was impressed by Trivine’s performance off the bench against Pacific, stating that the Darby FC lad will get more minutes in the near future. Developmental call-up Camilo Vasconcelos – who had trialed with the Halifax Wanderers – came close to a debut on the night, if not for Nash wanting to close out the game. He’ll keep training with the squad and etch closer to featuring later on.
While Theo Afework was on the bench, it looks like the 19-year-old still isn’t fully recovered from his own injury setback, with Nash opting to wait until his sharpness is up before handing him a debut. Similarly, defender Noah Abateneh is still out through a hand injury, but is expected back on the pitch with a soft cast in the near future.
While Eleias Himaras looked good in his lone venture betwixt the sticks a few matches ago, it’s a tough call for the club to have him replace an in-form Niko Giantsopoulos for the sake of youth minutes – but one we can’t rule that out, either.
Now in his fourth year of professional soccer, York United’s Max Ferrari has aged out of the youth bracket (just), but the League1 Ontario graduate believes he’s in a unique position to help the club’s youth contingent make the step up to the pro level.
“I’d like to say I’m still young,” laughed the 22-year-old. “This my fourth year and I’ve got a lot of learning to do, I’m not saying I’m the most experienced guy, but I try to help the guys like Noah, Theo, and Marki when he was fit, these younger guys like Trivine – I thought he did really well when he came on tonight, he helped us a lot.”
“It’s helping those guys and giving them little tips, and maybe if they watch me a bit they can learn some stuff. We have confidence in those guys.”
The younger-leaning contingent of the Nine Stripes will need all the help they can get, because it sounds like Martin Nash is preparing to direct plenty of minutes their way – and with a some young fresh faces coming in, too.