VPL grand final stage for A-League deal?

BENTLEIGH Greens forward Ryan de Vries is aiming to impress in the Victorian Premier League grand final this weekend as he chases his dream of an A-League contract.

The highly rated youngster has been impressing state league fans at Bentleigh in the VPL for the past few seasons, but now has the chance to step up to the top-tier of Australian football.

Scorer of both of Bentleigh’s goals in their 2-1 qualifying final win against Northcote City two weeks ago, de Vries then flew out to New Zealand for a trial at Wellington Phoenix.  

After a week trialing with the squad, the 22-year-old then made his way back to Melbourne for this weekend’s grand final, an opportunity he sees as a chance to show what he is capable of on the big stage. 

“I’ve got to put in a good performance, do what I do and then focus on whatever comes after,” said de Vries. “Fingers crossed.”

Bentleigh coach John Anastasiadis was full of praise for his star forward.

“I think there’s some coaches in the A-League that can’t see right in front of them at the moment,” said Anastasiadis. “This guy is a sensational player and I don’t understand why they haven’t given him a go.

“He’s a very exciting player. When he’s on song he’s incredible. The boy can only keep on doing what he’s doing and hopefully someone picks him up.”

De Vries was born in South Africa before moving to New Zealand at a young age.

There he began his career playing for Waitakere United before moving across the ditch for Bentleigh Greens. 

The forward had a trial a few years ago at Phoenix and was unsuccessful, but now has another opportunity to finally make it to a professional level. 

De Vries has New Zealand citizenship, meaning he would not take up a visa spot on the Phoenix roster.

But first, de Vries is concentrated on Saturday’s VPL grand final at AAMI Park.

“I am pretty pumped,” said de Vries. “It’s been a big achievement for the club and the players this year.”

“Whoever shows up shows on the day shows up and we just have to do our best and take it from there.

“It’s a good pitch and hopefully there’s a good atmosphere on the day.”