Academy Graduates – Where are they now? – Part 1

The signing of attacking midfielder Marin France this week means 52 young players have now graduated from the Sky Blues Academy to play professional football since its inception eight years ago.

In the years ahead Sydney FC will continue to invest in the best pathways for young players in Australian professional sport and develop an eco-system which provides unprecedented opportunities for Academy players.

The Academy’s pillars of a clear football philosophy, good people & a learning environment, plus increased investment in support mechanisms, scouting, and coaching resources will help the club and more young players go to the next level.

Here are 26 of the 52 players to have received professional contracts either at Sydney FC, in the A-League or at overseas clubs after coming through our Academy system:

John Iredale

Iredale now plays his football in Germany with SV Wehen Wiesbaden but recently was called up the Socceroos for his first cap. He followed that cap up with his first goal for his national team against Lebanon.

Iredale celebrates his maiden Socceroos goal

Charles Lokolingoy

Lokolingoy was part of the Sydney FC Academy before moving to the first team during the highly successful 2017/18 season. Since then he moved to Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix and now plays his football with Liga 1 side Arema in Indonesia.

George Timotheou

Timotheou never broke into the first team at Sydney FC, however he moved to Schalke in Germany and made one appearance in the Bundesliga with their first team. Timotheou then moved back to the A-League with stints at Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory before returning back to Sydney to play at Sydney Olympic.

Max Burgess

Max Burgess began his career at Sydney FC Youth Academy before moving to Rochdale and from there he was scouted to the Sky Blues’ first team. He then went to the Jets before a stint in Portugal and returned to the A-League to play with Wellington Phoenix and Western United. Now he is back in Sydney FC colours and ready for a new season under Ufuk Talay.

Burgess and Jake Girdwood-Reich celebrating a Sydney Derby victory

Chris Zuvela

Chris Zuvela came through the Sydney FC Academy and went on to make 18 appearances for the Sky Blues’ first team. He made his debut in the 8-0 win over Darwin Rovers and concluded his career with a 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix in 2021.

Cameron Devlin

After graduating to the Sydney FC first team in 2018, Cam Devlin played a handful of matches in Sky Blue before moving to Wellington Phoenix. From there, he was recognised by overseas scouts and has gone on to make 79 appearances for Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premier League. Devlin has also been capped for his country and was part of the squad at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Patrick Flottman

After graduating the Sydney FC Academy in 2018, Flottman headed overseas and began his professional career in Thailand before heading back to Sydney a year later and made his A-League debut for his boyhood club in December 2019. Following this stint back home, he travelled across Asia, playing in India, Korea and Brunei where he is now.

Tom Heward-Belle

Tom Heward-Belle is a familiar name to Sydney FC fans and having been reserve keeper behind Andrew Redmayne for many seasons, he became a number one at Western United last season. In Sky Blue he made 18 appearances in all competitions.

Jerry Skotadis

Jerry Skotadis graduated the Academy and made his first team debut in an AFC Asian Champions League clash against Kawasaki Frontale for Sydney FC. From there, he moved to Western United and most recently played his club football at Macarthur FC.

Joel King

After forcing his way into the Sydney FC First Team, Joel King made a move to Denmark with Odense Boldklub. After spending a year overseas, he returned to Sydney FC on loan before making the move permanent and remains part of Ufuk Talay’s 2024/25 squad.

Joel King this season

Marco Tilio

Marco Tilio made his Sydney FC A-League debut in Gosford against the Mariners and scored in a 3-1 win. From there, he transferred to Melbourne City before landing a big money move to Celtic in the Scottish Premier League. He was recently loaned back to Melbourne City but now returns to the Champions of Scotland.

Harry van der Saag

Harry van der Saag had the interesting debut of marking Kylian Mbappe when Sydney FC took on PSG in a pre-season friendly and from there, he went on to make 47 appearances for the Sky Blues, scoring three goals. He transferred to Adelaide United and has since made a move to Brisbane Roar only a week ago.

Liam McGing

Liam McGing made his Sydney FC debut in the AFC Champions League and moved to Wellington Phoenix not long after. McGing returned to Sydney FC before heading overseas to play in Ireland with Finn Harps. He now plays his football with Sydney United 58.

McGing for Sydney FC in the Y-League Grand Final

Ryan Teague

Ryan Teague broke into the first team alongside Harry van der Saag and Marco Tilio and after making his debut, earned himself a move to Portugal with Famalicao. After a loan spell at Sporting da Covilha, Teague returned to Australia and now plays consistently with Melbourne Victory.

Adam Pavlesic

Pavlesic has been an integral part of the recent Sydney FC squads. He made his first team debut in goals in the AFC Champions League and most recently started between the sticks in the Big Blue. He is now a free agent after over four years in the first team set-up.

Luke Ivanovic

Luke Ivanovic made his Sydney FC debut in 2018 against the Mariners and went on to make 98 appearances for the Sky Blues, Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory in all competitions. Having had a successful spell out West at Glory, Ivanovic earned a transfer to FC Lahtl in Finland where he currently plays his football.

Luke Ivanovic

Anton Mlinaric

Anton Mlinaric showed plenty of promise while at the Sydney FC Academy and he was given the green light to travel to Croatia to trial at Dinamo Zagreb. He did not gain a contract but was loaned to Brisbane Roar upon return, where he later signed for them, and went on to make 14 appearances. He now plays for Marconi Stallions in the NSW NPL.

Cameron Peupion

Cam Peupion never made a first team appearance for Sydney FC, however he was scouted and purchased by Brighton and Hove Albion in the English Premier League. Peupion made his first team debut in the EFL Cup against Forest Green Rovers and backed it up with a Premier League appearance in 2023 away against Newcastle.

Peupion with NPL First Team Head Coach Jimmy van Weeren before he left for Brighton

Callum Talbot

Talbot made his Sydney FC debut away against Macarthur and after those minutes, forced his way into the first team set-up under Steve Corica. At the end of the 2022 season, he transferred to Melbourne City.

Calem Nieuwenhof

After breaking through into the Sydney FC First team, Nieuwenhof looked elsewhere for minutes around the A-League and after impressing at the Wanderers, he was transferred to Heart of Midlothian in Scotland. He joins Cam Devlin at the club alongside fellow Australians Kye Rowles and Nathaniel Atkinson.

Jordi Swibel

Swibel made his first team debut in 2020 at home against Adelaide United and went on to make 13 appearances in Sydney FC colours. Since then, he made a move to Hapoel Nof HaGalil in Israel and soon returned to play for Marconi Stallions in the NPL. After one season back home, he now plays his football in Canada with Valour FC.

Swibel in action against Newcastle Jets

Jake Hollman

One third of the Hollman siblings is Jake Hollman who never made an appearance for the Sydney FC first team, however he moved across town to Macarthur during their inaugural season. Since then, he has gone on to make 84 appearances for the Bulls and won their Player of the Year this season.

Patrick Yazbek

Patrick Yazbek came through the Academy and burst onto the scene at Sydney FC. He made his debut in the 4-2 FFA Cup victory over Sydney Olympic in 2021 and scored his first A-League goal away against Perth Glory in that same season. After impressing in the team, Yazbek was signed at Viking FK in Norway where he still plays his football. He has since been called up the Socceroos and assisted fellow Sydney FC Academy graduate John Iredale in a 5-0 win over Lebanon on debut.

Patrick Wood

Patrick Wood has made 82 appearances for the Sky Blues and scored 15 goals. He now sits equal 18th in the Sydney FC all time goalscoring charts alongside Anthony Caceres. Wood has been a key part of the squad since making his debut in 2021 against the Wellington Phoenix.

Philip Cancar

Phil Cancar was in the Sydney FC Academy from 2016 and after two years made the move to Croatia to play in the Academy of Lokomotiva. He then joined second division side Hrvatski Dragovoljac. Cancar moved back to Australia after the COVID-19 pandemic and then headed to Scotland to play at Livingston. He then made a move back to Australia to play with Newcastle Jets where he still plays.

Jaiden Kucharski

Jaiden Kucharski has made 44 appearances for the Sydney FC First Team and he has scored some vital goals along the way. He won the NPL NSW Player of the Season in 2022 and had a breakout year last campaign, scoring a stoppage time equaliser in the Australia Cup and a stoppage time winner in the Sydney Derby. He has written his name into Sydney FC folklore with these two incredible goals and will look to continue his fine run of form next season.