Cashmere Technical winger Lyle Matthysen headlines Tasman United signings

Cashmere Technical youngster Lyle Matthysen, left, scored 12 goals during the Mainland Premier League season.
CHRIS SYMES/PHOTOSPORT

Cashmere Technical youngster Lyle Matthysen, left, scored 12 goals during the Mainland Premier League season.

"Every week is a trial for the players."

That is Tasman United coach Davor Tavich explaining that each and every single member of his squad will have equal opportunity to prove themselves worthy of selection, even the youngest members.

Which is good news for two of their latest recruits, Lyle Matthysen and Matt Tod-Smith, who were two of the stars of the Mainland Premier League.

The two teenagers were included the latest wave of Tasman signings, with Sam Ayers and Luca Perico also securing contracts.

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"They believe, and rightly so, that they will get a chance to play. We don't play favourites here and if you are better than the person next to you then you will be picked, regardless of who that player next to you is," Tavich said.

"I think the young footballers appreciate that and players like Matt Tod-Smith, Callan Elliot and Lyle, and if we get some other younger boys, know that I will play them if their performance warrants selection or if they are training hard enough.

"With Tinashe [Marowa], he played for the youth team last year and he was given a chance and he ended up being one of the better players on the pitch, so it's all performance based and attitude based, so you will be selected if you are good enough."

Tavich was pleased to have Matthysen on board. He said he approached the South Africa-born winger after he provided the star turn in Cashmere Technical's Chatham Cup quarterfinal win over Nelson Suburbs.

"He played really mature football," Tavich said.

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"He hadn't looked intimidated by the occasion or by playing senior football. His technical ability is really good, he's really physical and he's agile and he's quick."

At that stage, Tavich said, Canterbury United had shown little interest in the 19-year-old, despite him proving to be one of the brightest prospects in their catchment.

"He's got all the makings of a good footballer and at that point I heard no one had shown any interest in him in regards to playing national league, so I just approached him and asked if he would like to be involved as we could give him a chance to play higher level football."

Meanwhile, Tod-Smith, Ayers and Perico have all re-signed after featuring sporadically during Tasman's inaugural season.

Tod-Smith will be pushing for more game time after making just six appearances during the 2016-17 campaign, five of those as a substitute.

The former Nelson College captain has continued his development, scoring nine goals in a breakthrough season with Suburbs, and Tavich has set him the challenge of putting his hand up for a starting role.

Ayers was underutilised by foundation coach Richard Anderson but became one of the first names on the team-sheet when Tavich took over.

The 28-year-old was used primarily at left-back but is so versatile that he could step into any outfield position with relative comfort.

"We know how good Sammy is and how hard he works. He's capable of playing, as he proved to everybody last year, in the national league and there's no stress in his game whatsoever.

"With Matt Tod-Smith, his technical ability is in the same category as Lyle and he's a promising young player that could go a long way. They love the game and all they do is play football, and you have to admire that and reward that and I think his reward will come sooner rather than later."

Perico, a 26-year-old Italian, was a midseason signing in the previous campaign and, like Ayers, brought some much needed stability to the Tasman defensive unit, resulting in their most successful spell.

Tasman United confirming signings: Paul Ifill, Cameron Lindsay, Alex Ridsdale, Robbie Pearson, Daniel Allan, Kieran Smith, Corey Wilson, Ryan Stewart, Callan Elliot, Lyle Matthysen, Sam Ayers, Matt Tod-Smith, Luca Perico.

 - Stuff

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