Cowan back to help YoungHeart
Returning veteran Adam Cowan's experience should be a big boost to YoungHeart Manawatu in the national league this season.
The former Manawatu captain played for Hawke's Bay United last summer but has returned to the fold for Manawatu and having played more than 130 national league games, his experience will be vital.
He hadn't wanted to leave last year but had his time away and thought the new squad was looking good.
"I'd say the only difference is the team's a lot younger," he said.
"Definitely back then you had the likes of Jason Hayne, Colin Falvey, a few older boys," he said. "Now it's only me, Nathan Cooksley, Matt Borren and Matt Kennedy. There's a lot of players coming through. A lot of new players I've never played with before."
Cowan should play a key role in developing the young members Manawatu have coming through the ranks.
"As an older guy I should have to kick them in the arse and that sort of thing," he joked. "The kids these days, they don't listen to you very much. I remember when I was young you sat there and did what they said. They've got more attitude these days."
Cowan said even though some of the younger players in the squad, such as Wade Randle, Jordan Martens and Michael Fraser, have played a season, they might get a shock as to how good some players are in the national league.
"I think they play for [Palmerston North] Boys' High [School] or their club like Marist. It's definitely a big step up, especially when you're playing the likes of Auckland City and all their players are pretty much professional."
With the experienced heads like Cooksley, Kennedy and dangerous striker Seule Soromon, Cowan said it was up to the likes of them to take the weight off the shoulders of the younger players.
The 31-year-old Cowan had originally left before last year because of money disputes with the YoungHeart board but now coach Stu Jacobs has taken over, Cowan was keen to work under him.
"Stu's definitely one of the trump cards. He's a good coach. I've always heard good things about him. Finally got to play under him which is good. It makes a difference having someone in my role you can learn off, even at my age."
The drive to Napier three times a week for training and games was another reason he traded Hawke's Bay's black and white for the green jersey this year, with him getting home to his young family at 11pm after trainings.
Nathan Cooksley, who is nearing 100 games for Manawatu, was captain last season but Cowan could be another option to lead the side with his experience.
After the doldrums of the winless season last season, there is only one way YoungHeart can go and that is up.
"Last year was a bit of a disappointment for Stu and the boys," Cowan said.
"I think some of the younger guys that played then are a bit older and got a year's experience which is always going to help. I can't see us having the same sort of performance as last year."