THE Stirling Lions Soccer Club looks to build junior success into its senior team in a bid to climb back up the ladder in 2017.
The first team finished seventh on the NPL ladder, just missing on a top four berth by four points.
Three other teams, including the under 18s, finished the year as premiers, while many others finished in the top four.
Senior coaching staff member Keegan Ashley, who was the acting head coach in the last few rounds, said he not entirely satisfied with their poor finish to the season.
“Up until the last five games our form was pretty consistent and we were opening up teams and scoring plenty of goals,” he said.
“This club is not a mid-table club, so we will be working hard to get to the top.”
Ashley said the Lions needed to work on their fitness during the pre-season.
“First, we need to build a solid base of fitness so we can get the most out of our season and second, really nail our structures and shape,” he said.
“We hope to really drill into the boys about being accountable and to sustain good form for the whole season.
“During the course of the season injuries always crop up and as it’s part and parcel of the game it’s our job to manage the squad effectively.”
He said some of the highs of the season included giving younger players an opportunity, which would help the club’s future.
“Players like Ben Campbell (16), Bleron Mamuidi (16) and Lucas Di Lema (17) … the first two come from our very successful premiership-winning under 18s and Lucas from the under 20s,” he said.
“Also, our free-flowing attacking football was a pleasure to watch. The lows were really only our run of losses in the back end of the season.”
President Cane Spaseski said he hoped to keep their junior talent and move them up the ranks.
“We tried our best in terms of using our youngsters, which showed some very good results, and it is what we want to do through the next few years and bring in players from the 18s and 16s,” he said.
“That is the base that we are trying to create without having to go out and recruit.
“These are the kids who will be showing some potential next year and in the year after that and are the future of Stirling Lions.”
He said the goal for the next two years was to win all divisions.
“I think we are a very traditional club and we made some changes this year to make sure we are there with the best of the NPL and I think the results have showed that we have achieved certain things in terms of being there,” he said.
“We should not be winning it this year but next year it will be a different year.”