Canberra midfielder Josh Gaspari accepts offer with Western Sydney Wanderers NYL team
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Canberra midfielder Josh Gaspari accepts offer with Western Sydney Wanderers NYL team

Gungahlin United midfielder Josh Gaspari is the latest example why Canberra deserves its own team in the National Youth League after joining the Western Sydney Wanderers.

The 19-year-old has accepted an NYL contract with the Wanderers and will need to find a part-time job to cover his living expenses when he moves to Sydney next month.

Josh Gaspari, pictured playing for Canberra Olympic last year, has accepted an offer from the Western Sydney Wanderers' National Youth League squad.

Josh Gaspari, pictured playing for Canberra Olympic last year, has accepted an offer from the Western Sydney Wanderers' National Youth League squad.Credit:Graham Tidy

Gaspari has had two games as a trialist for the Wanderers' A-League side, coming off the bench for the final half an hour of Tuesday night's 3-0 win against Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium.

Capital Football is aiming to have a Canberra United team in the NYL as soon as the 2016-17 season to have a pathway for young footballers.

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Gaspari said it was vital players had the opportunity to train in a full-time environment without having to leave their home city.

"They've got that at the moment with NTC and ACTAS, but the fact is they're not playing competitive games against the other states," Gaspari said. "As much as they're training full-time, they're not in the shop window.

"Having a Canberra United team gives them a game each week and exposes them to the A-League coaches.

"It's good to get into that full-time environment with the Wanderers.

"It's going to be tough living away from home on a youth contract especially, so I'll have to get a part-time job to pay rent."

Gaspari spent three years in the ACTAS program before he played for two seasons with Canberra Olympic in the National Premier League.

He made the switch to Gungahlin United this year and played for the Wanderers in a pre-season game against Mt Druitt in July.

A versatile player who can play anywhere in the midfield, Gaspari was given another challenge against Canberra FC when he was injected into the game at right back.

While it's a role he is unfamiliar with, Gaspari is prepared to do whatever it takes to reach his dream of playing in the A-League.

"It'd be hard to find someone who wouldn't tell you that they wouldn't want to be a professional athlete," Gaspari said.

"It's obviously the dream, I just have to try and open as many doors as possible to get there."

The Wanderers led 2-0 at halftime before Brendon Santalab added a third after the break.

Meanwhile, this weekend's ACT National Premier League men's semi-finals are now a double-header at McKellar Park on Saturday.

League champions Canberra FC will face Cooma Tigers FC in the qualifying final at 3pm followed by the elimination final between Belconnen United and Canberra Olympic at 5.30pm.

The third v fourth game between Belconnen and Olympic was originally scheduled to be held at Deakin Stadium at 3pm.

Capital Football competitions manager Chris Doyle said the decision to move the game was the best for all parties involved.

"We wanted to provide the maximum benefit for the majority of fans to look at both semi-finals for the men's competition on the one day," Doyle said.

"We also wanted to give people the opportunity to support the women's finals on the Sunday.

"The finals schedule itself was locked in a number of weeks ago and club representatives knew the men's games were on Saturday and the women's were on Sunday."

Lee Gaskin is a sports reporter at The Canberra Times.

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