Dylan's a 'keeper who's destined for bigger things
SOCCER: Goal-keeper prodigy Dylan Fry has returned from a UK tour ready to take his game to the next level next season and beyond.
And that's in the form of the Brisbane-based Holland Park Hawks which play in the under-16 Queensland Premier League.
Gladstone United and CQ Mariners product Dylan was one of 35 young goal-keepers who took part in the two-week Joe Fenech Football Academy tour and he received one of five awards given out at the end of the tournament.
The tournament included a match against Scotland's U15 side in which Dylan was captain and the tour also included coaching clinics from some of the world's most famous teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Celtic and Arsenal.
"It was a great experience overall and got to play a lot of teams and got to meet a few famous people the likes of Aaron Mooy and England U16 World Cup-winning striker Angel Gomez,” Dylan said.
He met him at Huddersfield and said Mooy had just finished training.
Dylan said to lead his team against Scotland was an experience he will never forget.
"It was a great opportunity not only to represent Queensland and not only as the goal-keeper, but as their captain and it was a great feeling to lead those boys,” he said.
As for the one of five select few who received awards, Dylan explained what his was for.
"Mine was for best team player and best player on tour so it was pretty special to win that one,” he said.
In contrast to the warm and fine conditions in Gladstone (mostly), Dylan described weather in the UK as challenging.
"They were very severe conditions and you can't really train for this in Gladstone, but I believe as a whole and adapting to the new conditions and new teams, I believe I also did really well,” Dylan said.
"In the first game at Huddersfield we were playing in winds that were 70km/h and there was snow as well.”
He admitted that he had made a few spectacular saves, but also said that he had stuck with the fundamentals well such as catching and distribution of the ball
Dylan spoke highly of Fenech and the manner how he encouraged the players.
"Joe gave me a lot of great feedback and it was really constructive where I implemented that into my game and he knows how to treat the team well,” Dylan said.
"He's a great coach and he knows what he's talking about and you can't really get another coach like Joe.”
Dylan's chances to make it into the English Premier league Tottenham Hotspur youth team is enhanced, but he and Fenech said there is much work to be done such is the calibre of players.
The coach said Dylan has the focus and knows now what it takes to make it to the top.
"Dylan himself now knows the bench-mark now that he has experienced opposition both professional and semi-professional in the UK,” Fenech said.
"He understands that it will take much more than compliments and encouragement from those close to him if he is to achieve his dream of becoming a professional player.
"He has a determination that, matched with hard work, will see him achieve whatever he sets his mind to.”
Anthony Coleiro and William Webb are others who have helped with Dylan's rapid rise and Webb has worked on the mental side.
"We have been focussing on his fitness and footwork for the last eight months and Paul Jones, the Australian Matildas goal-keeping coach, has been working with Anthony on his goal-keeping technique particularly holding his standing position longer and transferring his weight correctly in a dive,” Webb said.
"My study and career as a professional golfer has assisted in helping Dylan improve his mental toughness and being more vocal with his organisational skills in directing defenders.
"We have worked on motivation and concentration and particularly staying in the present and breathing techniques to remain calm and his pre-kick routine when taking goal kicks.”