Sydney FC stars help launch NSW Premier League

Sydney FC stars Terry Antonis and Mitch Mallia returned to their roots today by helping launch the NSW Premier League competition.

Sydney FC stars Terry Antonis and Mitch Mallia returned to their roots today by helping launch the NSW Premier League competition.

Mallia and Antonis followed the traditional career path through junior association football and are living proof that the Football NSW State League and Association structure is a strong part of the elite football pathway, which can see local kids from all over Sydney progress to play for Sydney FC.

The current Sydney FC squad boasts 14 players who have played football in the NSW Premier League and Local Association junior representative football, continuing a trend that started with the Sky Blues- inaugural squad in 2005.

In that time, Sydney FC has contracted 80 professional players, some on multi-year deals and others on short term contracts, and 52 of them played for local Premier League, State League and Association junior representative clubs in NSW.

Sydney FC has already contracted three young players for its 2012/13 A-League squad with Mallia, Daniel Petkovski (APIA and Marconi) and Hagi Gligor (Marconi and Sutherland) the next round of local Sydney players to progress to the Hyundai A-League.

Mallia, who played in the NSW Premier League with Marconi, made the breakthrough this season with Sydney FC, playing a role in the A-League after joining the Sky Blues Youth Team in 2011/12.

His performances then warranted a full time professional contract for the 2012/13 season and the pathway from grass roots to elite football continues.

“It-s great to be part of the launch of the Premier League,” Mallia said. “The NSW Premier League and junior rep competitions were an important part of my development and I-ll always remember it was where I got my start and learned a lot about the game.

“I-ve been able to make the jump from the NSW Premier League to the National Youth League and then into the A-League and it-s proof that a real pathway exists for all players to go from their local club to Sydney FC.”

Antonis, who is in his second season as a professional with Sydney FC, was signed as a 16-year-old but spent significant parts of his development with Sydney Olympic and Marconi as a youngster.

Sydney FC is offering a special ticket offer which allows fans to buy 2 tickets and get 1 free for this weekend's crucial clash against the Newcastle Jets. Adult tickets are available from $20 and families from $50. (Please note this offer applies only to pre-sale through www.ticketek.com.au)