The Australian Youth Olympic Festival kicks off this week and Australian youth soccer coach Paul Okon is looking forward to the challenge. Former Socceroos star Paul Okon is excited about the prospect of mentoring tomorrow's stars and sees it as a great starting point for potential professional footballers.
"Although the squad has had a limited preparation, I'm very happy with the performance of the players at our training camp in Sydney last week," Okon said.
"We worked hard on our structure and shape, our mentality going into the competition is good and most importantly we are injury free.
"To win the tournament would be great, but for the players, the opportunity to play international level football against opposition of the quality of Chile, China and the USA will be very beneficial.
"For some of these players, this may be the highest level that they ever compete at internationally, but for others it will be a chance to continue their international football careers and one day hopefully play at an Olympic Games or World Cup for Australia."
The festival caters for athletes aged between 13 and 19 years of age with 23 nations in 17 different sports taking part in the five day event.