Academy Graduates – Where are they now? Part Two

The signing of attacking midfielder Marin France last week means 54 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 is part two of our where are they now series and 28 of the 54 players to have received professional contracts either at Sydney FC, in the A-League or at overseas clubs after coming through our Academy system:

Aaron Gurd

Aaron Gurd came onto the scene during the 2022 Australia Cup and netted on debut in a 2-1 victory over Bentleigh Greens. He signed a contract extension with Sydney FC which will see him remain in Sky Blue until the end of the 2024/25 season.

Corey Hollman

Corey had a frustrating start to his Sydney FC career which was heavily hampered due to injury. He made his debut away against Macarthur in 2021 and had to wait until August 2023 for his next appearance. Since then, he has become a key part of Ufuk Talay’s midfield and made 29 appearances in all competitions in his first full season. The 20 year old recently signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2025/26 campaign.

Hollman in the Australia Cup

Adrian Segecic

Segecic came onto the scene at Sydney FC during the back end of the 2021/22 A-League and Asian Champions League season. He made his debut in a 3-0 win away at Macarthur and scored his first goal against Bentleigh Greens in the Australia Cup. At the start of the 2023/24 season he was loaned out to Dutch club FC Dordrecht where he made 27 appearances and scored five goals.

Adrian Segecic with the Olyroos

Jake Girdwood-Reich

Jake Girdwood-Reich is one of the most successful stories from the Sydney FC Academy. He made his first team debut in the 2022 Australia Cup Round of 32 clash with the Mariners and played sporadically under Steve Corica. At the start of the 2023/24 season he was forced into centre back where he excelled and it ultimately earned him a move to St Louis City FC in the MLS, becoming the club’s record transfer fee in the process.

Zac Sapsford

Sapsford was part of the Sky Blues Academy during 2022 before moving to Western Sydney Wanderers. He then progressed from the NPL into the first team where he famously scored against his former club in the Sydney Derby. He has made 19 appearances for the Wanderers first team.

Aidan Simmons

Simmons was part of the Sydney FC Academy for many years and moved to Western Sydney in 2022. He made his A-League debut against Western United as a second half substitute. He has gone on to make 34 appearances, his most recent one coming in a 4-3 win over Melbourne Victory.

Jed Drew

Jed Drew in action for Macarthur

Jed Drew was with the Sky Blues in the Junior Academy from 2017-2019 and moved to Blacktown City to continue his football journey. From there he was picked up by Macarthur Bulls and made his professional football debut in the 2022 Australia Cup. He has made 60 appearances for the South Western Sydney side and scored against his former club in a 1-0 Macarthur victory last season.

Nectar Triantis

Triantis played his football in the Sydney FC Junior Academy and moved to Wanderers in 2020. He made one appearance for them before having a breakthrough season at the Central Coast Mariners. From there he landed a move to Sunderland in the English Championship and then was subsequently loaned to Hibernian in Scotland under former boss Nick Montgomery.

Stevan Stancic-Floody

Stancic-Floody grew up in the Northern Beaches and played his junior football at the Sydney FC Academy before moving to the Wanderers which earned him a move to the Irish Premier League with Drogheda United FC. He would then move to the Welsh 2nd tier where he currently plays with Llandudno FC.

Stancic-Floody when he signed with Drogheda United

Clayton Taylor

Taylor came through the Sydney FC Academy and began playing NPL at 16 years old. He was at the Academy since U12’s and then moved onto Newcastle Jets and worked under former Sydney FC Assistant Coach Robbie Stanton. There he had a brilliant first professional season where he made his A-League debut and scored 8 goals in 27 matches.

Oscar Priestman

Priestman is another to spend many years in the Sydney FC system and break through into the NPL side. He was the NPL captain in 2023 which came off the back of his first professional appearance in the Australia Cup against the Central Coast Mariners. Priestman then moved to Western Sydney Wanderers where he gained more first team minutes and made 28 appearances this campaign.

Oscar Priestman at Sydney FC

Zane Schreiber

Schreiber is another of the class of 2023 to break through and shine a spotlight on their abilities. He grew up in the Sydney FC Academy and moved to Melbourne City where he has seen minutes off the bench in the A-League. He made his professional debut in a 3-0 victory in the Australia Cup against Wellington Phoenix.

Nathan Paull

Nathan Paull joined the Sydney FC Academy in 2020 after playing much of his football in his hometown of Wollongong. After notable impressive performances in defence, he was picked up by the Mariners and saw plenty of minutes in the early stage of the season. Paull was part of the squad who won the A-League double and AFC Cup in 2023/24.

Nathan Paull during the NPL season

Mitch Glasson

Mitchell Glasson broke into the Sydney FC first team during the 2023/24 Isuzu UTE A-League season. He joined the Academy from SD Raiders and progressed through the age groups and was playing first grade while still 17 years old. He made his professional debut in the Australia Cup and netted in the penalty shootout. He has two more years on his contract with the Sky Blues.

Zac De Jesus

The right back burst onto the professional scene in 2023 and started his first match away against Adelaide United after notable appearances off the bench. He also started the Sydney Derby at Allianz Stadium and after growing up a Sydney fan, this was a big deal for the Wollongong local. He still has two years left on his contract but is still only 18.

De Jesus in action against Melbourne City

Gus Hoefsloot

The teenage shot stopper is highly rated and came through the Academy having worked his way up through the age groups. He is yet to make his professional debut but was hampered by injury during the 2023/24 campaign. Gus will now aim to get more NPL minutes under his belt despite being only 18 and then force his way into the A-League squad.

Matthew Scarcella

Matty Scarcella is another to come through the Academy and see their first minutes during the 2023/24 campaign. Scarcella made their debut in the 3-3 Australia Cup draw with the Mariners and successfully converted in the shootout. He will be looking to force his way into the central midfield next season after making eight appearances during the 2023/24 season.

Wataru Kamijo

Wataru Kamijo made the swap from the Wanderers to the Sydney FC Academy and shortly graduated after showing plenty of promise in the NPL. He is yet to see minutes in the A-League after a back injury sidelined him for months and set back his progress. He is contracted at the Sky Blues until the end of the 2025/26 season.

Joe Lacey

Joe Lacey became the first player to go through the entire Sydney FC pathway having come through the Academy Training Program, Academy and then earn himself his first professional contract. The teenager was on the bench for the opening round Big Blue but never got on the pitch. His three year contract will start July 1 and he will look to impress Ufuk Talay and see his first professional minutes.

Joe Lacey signs his contract in the Sydney FC board room at Sky Park

Rawley St John

Rawley St John spent four years at the Sydney FC Academy before earning himself a move to German Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart. He made 12 appearances for the U19 side and has gained plenty from applying his trade overseas. He remains on contract with Stuttgart for another year.

Rawley with Stuttgart

Max Vartuli

Shot stopper Max Vartuli came through the Sydney FC Academy and Academy Schools path. Former Endeavour Sports High student, Vartuli was part of the Sky Blues junior set up before landing a two year loan deal with Danish side AaB Aalborg. He has been playing with the reserves side while training with the first team.

Alen Harbas

Harbas is another of the class of 2023 to graduate from the Academy and earn a move overseas where he currently plays his football with Finnish second division side FC KTP. He has made 16 appearances this season and remains on loan with them until January 2025.

Harbas in Finland with FC KTP

Kealey Adamson

Adamson broke through from the Academy during the 2023 Australia Cup run and played a key role in the team’s success. He then transferred to Macarthur FC where he found consistent minutes at left back. Adamson made 15 appearances for the Bulls during the 2023/24 campaign.

Nathan Grimaldi

Nathan Grimaldi played his football in the Sydney FC Academy for a number of years and then moved to Sutherland Sharks where he was picked up by the Newcastle Jets. He made his professional debut away against Sydney FC in January 2024 and he went on to make eight appearances for the Novocastrians.

Hayden Matthews

After coming through the Sydney FC Academy from age 13, Hayden Matthews cemented his position as an A-League player during the 2023/24 season. He was tipped to be the NPL captain but was never able to play a minute having fitting in so seamlessly at the top level. Matthews made 17 appearances and remains on contract in Sky Blue until the end of the 2026/27 season. Next season, he will be a star to watch!

Tiago Quintal

Tiago Quintal has been with the Sydney FC Academy since age 11 and has just signed a professional contract that will see him remain at Sydney until 2027. He was a train on with the A-League squad during the 2023/24 Isuzu UTE A-League season and was on the bench at home against Brisbane Roar. He will look to break through and get his first minutes for the upcoming season in his favoured number 10 role.

Quintal putting pen to paper
Middleton signing his contract

Lachlan Middleton

Middleton joined the Sydney FC Academy five years ago as a 13-year-old and has recently signed a three year deal with his boyhood club. The contract will start on the 1st of July and he will be looking to add to his impressive training performances during 2023/24 where he was a train on with Ufuk Talay’s squad. He plays holding midfield and will look to prove his spot this upcoming campaign.

Marin France

17-year-old Marin France became the latest Sydney FC Academy graduate to earn a professional contract when he put pen to paper on a three year deal last week. He joined the Sky Blues Academy as a 12 year old and has continued his journey year on year and now finds himself on the brink of the A-League squad having been a train on for most of the season. He will continue to play NPL despite being a teenager and will look for his first professional minutes next season.

Marin France