‘Fan’-tastic start to the season for Sydney FC

Sydney FC kicked off its final week of preparations for the new Hyundai A-League season on the weekend, with several hundred supporters braving cold conditions to help the club begin the count-down to this-Saturday’s round one clash with the Melbourne Victory.

Sydney FC kicked off its final week of preparations for the new Hyundai A-League season on the weekend, with several hundred supporters braving cold conditions to help the club begin the count-down to this-Saturday-s round one clash with the Melbourne Victory.

An open training session got proceedings underway at Fan Day 2008, and gave the assembled supporters a rare chance to see how the team is put through its paces by coach, John Kosmina at the club-s training base at Macquarie University.

As the session drew to an close, many of the players and coaching staff got ready to line up in a celebrity match, alongside personalities such as Irish singer and ‘Football Superstar- host, Brian McFadden, ‘Superstar- winner, Adam Hett, Sydney radio identities, Ugly Phil and Adam Spencer, and channel nine presenter Stephanie Brantz.

The celebrities, Kossie, and many of the first team then hit the field, and the fans were treated to an entertaining exhibition match.

With Fox Sport-s Simon Hill commentating the game, Brian McFadden scoring a double and Adam Spencer engaging in a ‘revealing- celebration after he found the back of the net, the crowd was kept amused throughout the contest, which ended in a draw.

Three-all at full-time, the match went to a penalty shootout which also produced the same score-line, with the teams still unable to be split.

While the players prepared for their official season launch, fans had the opportunity to get involved in the array of activities on the main field.

There was the latest Sydney FC merchandise on sale, exhibitions from Sydney FC sponsors QANTAS, Foxtel and MBF, not to mention goal-shooting and X-Box competitions, face painting, and jumping castles to keep everyone entertained.

The focus then moved to formal part of proceedings, and the presentations of the player's jerseys for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season by junior footballers from several Sydney associations.

Speaking on stage to the assembled supporters, Coach Kosmina said, “I think the A-League is going to be a lot more even this season (but) I think we'll give the title a shake, we have a great squad.”

The day concluded with Sydney FC-s stars taking time to meet and greet their fans.

The players happily spent around two hours signing autographs, posing for photographs and mingling with the hundreds of supporters that showed up for the annual event.

Although bad weather threatened to put a dampener on the season launch, a large contingency of Sydney FC's supporters remained for the duration of the day-s events, much do the delight of everyone involved in the club.

“It was terrific to see the support that we got today, particularly from the families,” said Sydney FC CEO Stefan Kamasz. “We have increased our membership and the merchandise sales have been terrific,” he added, highlighting the days overall success.

Sydney FC will continue its preparations over the next six days, before kicking off its Hyundai A-League campaign at home against the Melbourne Victory, this Saturday, August 16 at 7pm.

Tickets for the match are now on sale and can be pre-purchased through Ticketek.