Sydney Building From The Bottom

Brian Dene says the transition of several of his youth team players to first team football has debunked the myth that Sydney are a club without a commitment to youth development.

Brian Dene says the transition of several of his youth team players to first team football has debunked the myth that Sydney are a club without a commitment to youth development.

Speaking ahead of his team's final game of the season against Melbourne Heart, Dene pointed to the success of Peter Triantis and Aaron Calver as proof of a successful year for Sydney youth.

"We selected 16 players before the season started and five out of those sixteen players have played first team football this year and one has sat on the bench," said Dene.

"It-s certainly been a good learning experience for everyone. You feel like you-ve got some unfinished business because you want to see these guys go on for two, three years."

Dene certainly knows what he's talking about. His CV includes time at the NSW Institute of Sport, where he oversaw the development of Sydney first-teamers Sebastian Ryall and Terry Antonis.

By dividing his time between Sydney's youth team and his role as director of football at Newington College, Dene is able to coach youngsters for a full twelve months of the year. And he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I love it! I love it with a passion. I-ve been involved with it for so many years now.

"There-s just this joy of seeing these kids really going on and becoming professional players and seeing the ups and downs that they have."

Dene says the highlight of the season has undoubtedly been the rise of Peter Triantis. The youngster has turned himself into a regular first team starter, and his coach insists it's no less than he deserves.

"He-s slotted right in there. Lovely family, lovely kid, great attitude, great work ethic, passionate about the game.

"I think he-s got a bright future in front of him."

The experienced mentor has already started planning for next season, having identified several new youngsters. Another pre-season trip to Vietnam is also on the agenda following it's success as a team-building exercise last year. Then there's the possibility of one day fielding a Sydney youth team in the winter state leagues.

"I'd like to have a team in the state league so we could have that continuity over a twelve-month period. Then you can look to develop players into first team players.

"You-ll get the Rhyan Grants and the Seb Ryalls and the Terry Antonis- coming through from the youth team and going on.

"It [Vietnam] was a great experience for all of the players. To get more and more games against Asian opposition - whether it be Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Vietnam - they are experiences that you can-t get back here in Australia. Those sort of things are invaluable."

Watch Alessandro's first game at Allianz Stadium since renewing his contract and the Socceroos captain Lucas Neill's home debut for Sydney FC against the current league leaders Central Coast Mariners on Saturday 9th March (kick off 5.30pm) when Sydney will look to make it six wins in a row at home. Tickets are available by clicking here from Ticketek.