Alexi and James Houridis named in Subway Joesy 23-player squad to contest the 2024 ASEAN U-16 Boys’ Championship held in Surakarta, Indonesia from 21 June – 4 July.

The tournament – formerly known as the AFF Championship – features 12 Members from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Football Federation.

Australia has been drawn in Group C for the tournament, alongside Malaysia, Thailand and Timor-Leste and will play all their Group Stage fixtures out of Sriwedari Stadium.

The 2024 edition of the Championship – which is also contested at U-19 level – will be Australia’s ninth appearance, having previously won the tournament in 2008 and 2016.

The selected squad is brimming with young talent from Isuzu UTE A-League club academy programs across the country, including brothers, Alexi and James Houridis (Melbourne Victory FC), Quinn MacNicol (Brisbane Roar FC) and Christian Pullella (Perth Glory FC).

Alexander Garbowski (BK Häcken, Sweden) and Noah Slunjski (Hadjuk Split, Croatia) have been selected from overseas leagues, while David Bolongi (Football QLD) and Jordan Graoroski (Football NSW) have earnt selection direct from their respective Member Federation club sides.

A large portion of the squad selected by Maloney for these Championships were part of his assembly in early-April 2024 for friendlies against U-16 Switzerland and U-17 Inter Milan FC. The camp – held at the Australian Institute of Sport European Training Centre in Varese, Italy – represented the beginning of a new cycle for this age group and their first taste of a national team environment.

Maloney will bring together his squad for a brief pre-camp in Indonesia prior to the Subway Joeys’ first game on Sunday, 23 June against Thailand. Australia will then face Malaysia (26 June) and Timor-Leste (29 June), as they look to secure a spot in the tournament’s Semi Finals by topping their Group.

Subway Joeys’ Head Coach, Brad Maloney said the opportunity for his squad to be exposed to tournament football in foreign conditions would be an invaluable experience.

“I’m really happy with the squad we’ve been able to put together, particularly off the back of a couple of strong showings in April,” Maloney said.

“We saw some fantastic individual performances in Italy and players have been rewarded with selection as a result, but most importantly, we were able to begin to implement our principles of play.

“That camp was the perfect foundation to begin this cycle, and while our focus is on our Asian Cup Qualifiers in October and U-17 World Cup Qualification, success at this tournament will go a long way in helping us reach those goals.

“The players are excited for the challenge. They will be playing in new conditions, against a different style of opposition and I believe we’ve got a group that can do well in these Championships. 

“They [the Championships] present a tough format with tight turnarounds between games, so we know recovery will be extremely important and the boys will be leaving no stone unturned to get the best out of themselves. 

“It’s going to be a great experience for them and we’re all looking forward to getting started,” concluded Maloney.

Credit: Football Australia