Sydney Youth count-down to season kick-off

They say defending a title is much more difficult than winning one and that task begins today for Sydney FC’s National Youth League team, which will kick-off its campaign against the AIS at the Sydney Football Stadium this afternoon, in a curtain raiser to the Sky Blues’ Hyundai A-League clash with North Queensland.


They say defending a title is much more difficult than winning one and that task begins today for Sydney FC-s National Youth League team, which will kick-off its campaign against the AIS at the Sydney Football Stadium this afternoon, in a curtain raiser to the Sky Blues- Hyundai A-League clash with North Queensland.

The junior Sky Blues are a new look side this season. Only two players remain from the team that won the Championship in 2008/09, and Coach, Steve O-Connor only added the last pieces of the puzzle this week, finalising the signing of five players to complete his squad of 16.

“Having a few more players gives us a bit more scope this season. We-ll certainly keep it simple for the first game and then we-ll get an opportunity after that to start working on things,” said Sydney-s Youth mentor when asked about the limited preparation time that has been available to his team. “We-ve got some decent players in there - they-ve all been playing in the State League over winter so they-ll be pretty fit and raring to go, I-m sure.”

Despite taking what is essentially an entirely new team into the 2009/19 competition, Coach O-Connor is confident Sydney will again be a strong side.

“The players always want to win games and so do I,” he explained. “They-ll be competitive and you need to be because that-s part of the playing style.”

“There are opportunities for them, there-s opportunities for them to get an A-League contract down the track. We have a number of players from last year who have professional contracts now with A-League teams, so the boys can see that that-s an opportunity and that should spur them on.”

In all, five members of last year-s team went on to win professional contracts with Sydney FC. Three of those will be among a five-strong contingent of Sky Blue players that will depart for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt on Monday.

“It ‘s a challenge. With those players disappearing off to the U20s - they-ll be away for 5 weeks, and later in the year there-s the U19s going for the first lot of qualifiers for the next U20s - we could have a lot of players involved in that as well,” said O-Connor. “It-s going to be a bit chaotic in terms of players coming and going but that-s part of the job.”

Prior to the departure of Sydney FC-s (Qantas) Young Socceroos, O-Connor will have a near full strength NYL playing roster at his disposal this weekend for the meeting with the competition newcomers. The curtain-raising clash kicks-off at 4:45pm at the Sydney Football Stadium. The main game against the Fury gets underway at 7:30pm.

Sydney FC's National Youth League squad for the 2009/10 season is as follows:

Joel Chianese Midfielder Kerim Bulut Striker Joe Gibbs Striker Dimitri Petratos Striker Zac Cairncross Defender Sam Munro Midfielder Ray Miller Striker Nenad Vekic Goalkeeper Tim McGowan Midfielder Steve Tibbetts Defender Hussein Akil Midfielder Sam Gallagher Defender Mitchell Speer Defender Mark Pullman Goalkeeper Luke Austin Defender Iain Ramsay Midfielder