Ward Primed For Break-out 2016
Words: Michael Flynn
Image: Sunshine Coast FC
After two years as understudy Kevin Ward is determined to make the most of his opportunity to become FNQ Heat’s first-choice goalkeeper in 2016.
Ward, 22, is Heat’s latest announced signing and is set for his third season with the Cairns-based club.
He amassed 16 PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland appearances and two clean sheets in that time, but primarily served as back-up to former Heat glovemen Daniel Valcicak and Nicholas Mooney.
However, Ward said he is determined to assert himself this year and prove he has what it takes to be first-choice goalkeeper to Heat coach Tim Campbell.
“I want to be playing as many games as possible, so with Nick moving on that has given me another opportunity,” Ward said.
“That’s the main goal – to keep my spot all season and really lock it down.”
Ward conceded it can be difficult to maintain motivation as a reserve goalkeeper but he drew strength from the team environment when not receiving regular match time.
“The love of the game is important. I enjoy being around the lads and all the banter that goes with it.”
He added he and his teammates are determined to improve on last year’s mid-table finish and identified how Heat can return to the top four.
“Defensively we need to tighten up a lot. Last year we conceded a lot of silly goals that we caused ourselves whether it be by not clearing the ball properly or not making good decisions.”
“Going forward has never been a problem, our attackers have always scored goals, but defensively we need to not concede silly goals,” he concluded.
Mooney, whose performances with Heat in 2015 earned him selection to the inaugural PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Under 23 All-Stars team, has been training with Heat in pre-season but will move to Brisbane before the season starts to pursue tertiary studies.