Cisak believes Tasmanian talent can play a bigger role in supplying a new player pipeline for the mainland and beyond.

And also, potentially, the talent for Tasmania's own A-League and W-League side in years to come. 


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With the A-League and W-League losing talent at an alarming rate, it's ideal for Tasmanian talent to have a professional back in town.

For Cisak, it's been an eye-opener to see the younger players on the A-League and W-League's doorstep in Tasmania.
“You'd be surprised how popular girls' football is here. It's literally 50-50 with boys, ”Cisak told FTBL today from his base in Tasmania.
Tasmania's numbers should be good news for A-League and W-League scouts
“And with the Women's World Cup in just three years here in Australia and New Zealand, it's only going to skyrocket even more. 
“We’ve got a fair few girls in our academy. There are some really talented players coming through.”
This assessment is backed up by stats. 
At the grassroots level, Tasmania is surging with a total participation figure up 45% last year from 2018. 
Girls make up a huge part of this growth. 
“It’s really important for young Tasmanian boys and girls to have a W-League and A-League team,” Cisak added. “To create that genuine pathway. 
“In Tasmania, we have the most numbers by a mile compared to the other sports. A lot more than the AFL. 
“But it seems like AFL gets all the funding.
“It’s a long-term goal of mine to be part of a Tasmania A-League bid,” he said. 

Will the Apple Isle ever be in the A-League and W-League? It’s an often-debated question. 

Tasmania's Cisak for Oldham against Liverpool in an FA Cup tie

Josh Hope (ex-Victory) and Nathaniel Atkinson (Glory), Jerrad Tyson, and Jeremy Walker are just some of the talents from Tasmania who A-League fans may recognize.

Others are around the NPL in Victoria such as ex-Jets striker Andy Brennan. 

However, like Canberra and other regions around Australia, the clamor for inclusion in a national competition (either A-League or second division) is starting to reach fever pitch as the league switches control from FFA to a clubs’ run model. 

With talk of A-League expansion and a second division continuing, Cisak says Tasmania should be part of that conversation. 
“For now, the only pathway is to get into an NPL squad. 
“Then you have to try on the mainland for an A-League or W-League contract. 

"And even then because you’re from Tasmania it feels you’re judged on that, by being from Tasmania. 

"It'd be a massive thing here, boosting the player numbers and standard continuing to improve because of that pathway to either an A-League or a second division club."

Cisak stresses that the Women's World Cup in 2023, hosted by Australia and New Zealand, could be the catalyst for a W-League club representing Tasmania, or at least the start of that process of including Tasmania in the national football footprint. 

"It'll be a perfect time with this World Cup coming."

Earlier this year, Cisak, 31, moved back to Tasmania after two years with A-League champions Sydney FC. 

It was a low-key end to a 12-year career in England that peaked in the Premier League with Burnley, and included spells at Leyton Orient, Accrington Stanley, Leicester City, and Oldham Athletic. 

Tasmanian Cisak in goal for Burnley

Tasmania was his springboard to a professional career for over 15 years in England and latterly the A-League. 

Cisak made his first start for Burnley in a 2-0 win over local rivals Preston North End in the second round of the Capital One Cup in 2014.

Now Cisak is helping the next generation of Tassie talent come through, guided by his priceless experience of over 200 professional games. 

Melbourne Victory played an A-League game for points in Launceston in 2011. 

That association continues in 2020 as the A-League giant has linked with NPL Tasmania club Riverside Olympic offering boys and girls aged between 9-14 a taste of Victory's football culture.

The A-League club's academy general manager Drew Sherman added his voice to the Tasmania debate earlier this year.

"We're heading down to Tasmania because we know there's a depth of talent down there," he told the Examiner ( READ full story here )

"We know it [Tasmania] is an untapped market.

"The A-League clubs have a duty to provide clearer pathways ...

"There is no A-League presence in Tasmania for the time being so it's a responsibility for us and the way we represent the professional game and we're hopeful we will start to see a slow trickle across."

And if a professional A-League and W-League club want a historical reference point, here's a stat.

The book  Chronicles of Soccer in Australia - The Foundation Years 1859 to 1949  by Peter Kunz claims that the first recorded match played in Australia was in the Tasmanian town of Richmond in 1859.

What's more, the first match in Tasmania played under Association rules was played in Hobart in 1879.

History and the future is coalescing nicely in Tasmania, noted Cisak. 

"We want to keep giving players opportunities," he said. "And a different type of training to what they've had here."

Cisak runs his academy with Garry Upton, a former NSL and Irish league player.

“Both of us being ex-professionals and having played professionally, which the majority of coaches here wouldn't have, will help. 

“There are no limits. If you can work hard and prove yourself, there's always a chance you can go to the mainland for A-League, W-League, or NPL, or even like me and go to Europe.

"It's a long-term goal for us.

"Hopefully, in three to five years you'll have a good crop of players coming through."

CLICK HERE for Alex Cisak's academy in Tasmania



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