Academy Preview: Season begins at Arctic Circle

The Sydney FC Academy will kick start their 2024 NPL season on Saturday night at Christie Park as they take on NWS Spirit.

This season will be a tough one for the Sky Blues Academy with a number of young players in their side currently with the Isuzu UTE A-League squad so they will be forced to shuffle the pack to start the season.

Sydney FC enjoyed a positive previous campaign, finishing sixth on the table with 14 wins, four draws and 12 defeats.

They began their season with three losses in their first four games, before bouncing back with an impressive six-match unbeaten run.

A number of players from last season’s Academy have signed professional contracts

The rest of the season saw mixed results, as they never lost or won more than twice in a row, but their quality propelled them to a top half finish.

Head Coach Jimmy van Weeren is excited to get the season to get started but wary of the threat that Spirit pose.

“I am really looking forward to the season getting underway this weekend.

“Spirit will be a great test first up for our boys, especially with their late goalscoring that they were famous for last season,” he said.

“They will need to remain focused for the full 90 minutes and this contest will really test the endurance of this very young group.”


As for Spirit, they will be looking to build on a statement first season in NPL Men’s NSW, which saw them finish in 11th place, safely away from the relegation playoff with 16 points separating them from 15th.

Despite their position, Spirit were one of the most exciting teams in the competition last season, playing some champagne football, and taking in part of some of the most dramatic games of the season.

Sydney FC Men played NWS Spirit during pre-season and won 2-1

In games in which NWS Spirit were involved in throughout the season, an astonishing 11 goals were scored in the 90th minute or after.

Seven of these were meaningful goals – goals that changed the result at the time and/or had an impact on the final result.

Last season, they were exceptional at home. Eight of the Spirit’s 11 wins last campaign came at the Arctic Circle while they lost just four matches there compared to their nine away from home.

This Saturday night should be an interesting start to the season with both sides aiming to start the season on the front foot and will want three points to begin their 30 match journey.

All matches will be broadcast live on Football NSW’s YouTube Channel which can be found here.

The full fixture list can be found here.

Match Details

NWS Spirit v Sydney FC Academy
NPL NSW Round One
Saturday 17th Februray 2024
Christie Park, Macquarie Park
Kick Off: 7:30pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Football NSW YouTube Channel