Melbourne Victory Football Club will kick off its inaugural PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues (NPL) campaign on Saturday, March 7 against Dandenong City.
Launched at Knights Stadium on Friday, Melbourne Victory will field a team in the second-tier competition of the National Premier Leagues, known as NPL 1, as part of its broader youth development strategy.
Across the two competitions, 34 clubs in total will battle it out for honours with 14 clubs competing in the top tier while another 19 clubs will join Melbourne Victory in the second tier.
The move by Melbourne Victory to enter the NPL forms a key component of the club's youth development strategy and ultimately the establishment of its own football academy.
By entering the NPL 1 competition, the club is able to provide coaching, education and personal development to up to 46 talented young players as well as access to state-of-the-art facilities and elite coaches all year round.
Youth head coach Darren Davies said the excitement of entering the NPL was evident through the playing group and everyone involved is keen for the season to start.
"We're really, really excited and we're going to embrace everything about the NPL," he said.
In the week leading up to the launch, Melbourne Victory announced the appointment of former Socceroo and Melbourne Heart head coach John Aloisi as a development coach and coach of its NPL under-20 team.
"Slowly but surely things have come together," Davies said.
"We've got our squads in place now and we are getting there with our coaching staff with John coming on board and we'll be fully embracing the NPL.
"We've wanted to come into the competition and have our youngsters in our system for 12 months and now we've got that and we can't wait for the season to start.
"Myself and John will be will be educating the players the same way that Kevin (Muscat) wants and that's absolutely fantastic.
"It's exciting times for the football club as we are embarking on a new venture.
"John's stature speaks for itself but first and foremost his personality is what we want at Melbourne Victory and we want to bring good people into Melbourne Victory.
"Secondly, his playing and coaching experience is second to none and with him on board our youngsters are going to be exposed to the very best coaching possible."
The 28-round 2015 NPL season begins on Saturday, March 7 and concludes on Saturday, September 12.
|3||Sat, 7 Mar||3.00pm||Dandenong City||Frank Holohan Soccer Complex|
|1||Tue, 17 Mar||7.15pm||Springvale White Eagles||White Eagles Stadium|
|4||Sat, 21 Mar||3.00pm||Eastern Lions||Gardiners Creek Reserve|
|5||Sat, 28 Mar||3.00pm||Ballarat Red Devils||Morshead Park Stadium|
|6||Fri, 3 Apr||8.30pm||Richmond||Kevin Bartlett Reserve|
|7||Sat, 11 Apr||3.00pm||FC Bendigo||Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve|
|8||Sat, 18 Apr||3.00pm||Melbourne City||TBC|
|9||Mon, 27 Apr||8.30pm||Kingston City||The Grange Reserve|
|10||Sat, 2 May||3.00pm||Whittlesea Rangers||Epping Stadium|
|11||Sat, 9 May||3.00pm||Murray United||La Trobe University|
|12||Sat, 16 May||3.15pm||Box Hill United||Wembley Park|
|13||Mon, 25 May||8.30pm||FC Bulleen Lions||Veneto Club|
|14||Sat, 30 May||3.00pm||Springvale White Eagles||White Eagles Stadium|
|15||Sun, 7 Jun||3.00pm||Nunawading City||Mahoneys Reserve|
|16||Sat, 13 Jun||3.00pm||Brunswick City||Dunstan Reserve|
|17||Sun, 21 Jun||5.00pm||Goulburn Valley Suns||John McEwen Reserve|
|18||Sat, 27 Jun||3.00pm||Dandenong City||Frank Holohan Soccer Complex|
|19||Sat, 4 Jul||3.00pm||Sunshine George Cross||Chaplin Reserve|
|20||Sun, 12 Jul||3.00pm||Nunawading City||Mahoneys Reserve|
|21||Sun, 19 Jul||3.00pm||St Albans Saints||Churchill Reserve|
|22||Sat, 25 Jul||3.00pm||Eastern Lions||Gardiners Creek Reserve|
|2||Sat, 1 Aug||7.00pm||Goulburn Valley Suns||John McEwen Reserve|
|23||Sat, 8 Aug||4.00pm||Moreland Zebras||CB Smith Reserve|
|24||Fri, 14 Aug||8.30pm||Richmond||Kevin Bartlett Reserve|
|25||Mon, 24 Aug||8.30pm||Kingston City||The Grange Reserve|
|26||Sat, 29 Aug||3.00pm||Moreland City||Campbell Reserve|
|27||Sat, 5 Sep||3.00pm||Murray United||La Trobe University|
|28||Sat, 12 Sep||3.00pm||Box Hill United||Wembley Park|