CLAYTON is looking to develop its own senior players with the introduction of an under-18 side for the 2013 Southern Football League season.
The Clays have secured former St Kilda City under-18s coach Brett Gardiner to lead the side and will announce a major sponsor for the team in the coming weeks.
Clays senior coach Ben McGee said the club needed to have its own colts side to develop players for its senior team and players of all experience levels and backgrounds were welcome to join.
"It's much better to pick the apple off your tree as opposed to getting it when it's already processed," he said.
"Having an under-18 side is vital for the model we are looking at for moving ahead.
"Every year if we can extract one or two future prospect players, it means we are growing our brand from within, as opposed to having to grow it by bringing other players into the club."
While McGee and the Clays are determined to field a side, he made it clear the club had to have 16 committed players by November 7 to proceed with the team.
The club will host a meeting at its Meade Reserve, Clayton ground on November 7 to make sure it has enough committed players before confirming its entry.
McGee is hoping that by the start of the season the side will have 28 players.
"It's a road-block meeting.
"There needs to be 16 kids in the room.
"As I've said to the committee — it's all very well for us to say yes to having a side, but ultimately it comes down to the kids."
The Magpies are also looking into the likelihood of creating partnerships or understandings with other Clayton junior sides.
McGee said he hoped the club would also attract players from Clayton's multicultural community who wanted to learn about the sport.
"We want it to become a big multicultural soup pot. I will be visiting some of the African community centres, language schools etc.
"We just have to get our brand out there.
"Teenagers are a hard demographic and have competition from other sports.
"If we do this well, then we can say to junior footballers in the area 'if you want to keep playing as an adult, we will look after you'."
To ask about playing prospects at Clayton, or get more information about the Clays' under-18 side, contact Ben McGee on 0439 969 275 or via email at email@example.com.