The National Premier League (NPL) season is almost upon us and the Sydney FC Academy will once again be fielding a side that competes against the best teams that NSW has to offer.
Playing what is essentially the 2nd tier of Australian football, the Sydney FC NPL side will be led once again by Jimmy van Weeren who now comes into his sixth season at the Sky Blues Academy.
Last season, many players had impressive campaigns and were deserving of a call-up to the Isuzu UTE A-League side with the likes of Jake Girdwood-Reich, Mitch Glasson, Matty Scarcella, Jaiden Kucharski, Adrian Segecic, Hayden Matthews and Adam Pavlesic all playing NPL football. Now with them having stepped up to the professional level, it is time for a new generation of players to come through this season.
“This year we have a very talented group, although we are younger than we were last year with the majority of the NPL squad for 2024 Under 17 and Under 18.
“This is the perfect development space for us as each week we play against teams who are ‘Win at all costs’, so we are guaranteed a competitive game every week,” van Weeren said.
‘We have players aged 17 and 18 playing against men, some of which are experienced NPL players so it is the ideal development space for us where they can test themselves against the second best in the country.”
With quite a number of players now playing A-League football, van Weeren and the rest of the Academy staff take great pride in their development giving them the chance to make it at the highest level.
This is a journey that starts at Under 13’s and more often than not, progresses all the way through.
“As the NPL Head Coach, I am at the end of the Academy line and there is a lot of work that goes into it from a lot of the other staff.
“It’s a real team effort from U13’s all the way through,” he said.
“We now have 47 players who have come through the Academy who are playing professional football either domestically or overseas, so given the Academy is in it’s 9th year, is something we take great pride in.
“It is all coaches and support staff who bring the program together and I think as a collective, it is really nice to see and something that we are really proud of.”
This Saturday, Sydney FC will travel to Christie Park to take on NWS Spirit, with First Grade kicking off at 7:30pm AEDT.
The full NPL fixture list can be found here.
All matches in the NPL will be broadcast live on the NPL NSW YouTube channel which can be found here.