Sydney FC NPL NSW U20 Head Coach Howard Fondyke believes the Sky Blues’ Academy’s philosophies are paying off after clinching the U20 Premiership at the weekend.
The Sky Blues’ youth setup sees players compete up an age group, and Fondyke said this move was paying dividends as his young squad overcame experienced sides to seal the title and progress to the NPL NSW Finals.
“This is what Sydney FC’s Academy is all about,” Fondyke said.
“Exposing young players to a higher resistance level in training and in games. All our age groups play against players older than them and with the right environment it enhances their football development.
“The majority of this squad had never played Under 20s football before so it shows we will play players who are training at a quality level consistently no matter the age.
“I’m very pleased with how the young players have adapted to training and playing senior football so quickly.
“The Premiership is just a little reward for the players that show they have produced good individual and collective performances.
“Our technical, medical and physical staff have tried their best to prepare and help individual players be the best they can be on and off the field to perform.”
While claiming his first piece of silverware as a Head Coach, Fondyke heaped praise on his players as he set his sights on fostering the next batch of Hyundai A-League and Socceroos stars at Sydney FC.
“It’s my first year as a Head Coach and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning off these young players and our staff,” he said.
“Winning titles as a youth development coach is not my goal and shouldn’t be at any youth development level as coaches.
“The challenging culture and environment among the staff is that the players are the starting point and how we can influence them as people and players should always be our goal.
“It’s fantastic for the players to win trophies and start to build their own trophy cabinet but for me it is solely about helping the player be the best he can be,” he continued.
“The thing that means the most to me is how many of these players I coach can go on and play at the highest level possible be that at Sydney FC, Europe, Asia and national teams.
“I look forward to continuing to coach at a top class club with promising young players.”