Lacey & France – A Journey together

Last week, Marin France put pen to paper on his first professional contract with his childhood club, Sydney FC.

It has always been a dream of his to play in Sky Blue ever since he was a six year old playing his football at Curl Curl FC and it turns out that a team-mate back then is his team mate now.

Joe Lacey was also a member of that U6 Curl Curl side and he has also signed a contract at Sydney FC A-League side. Now, this continues their football journey together.

“Joe and I would go to Sydney FC games together with our dads watching Del Piero and then winning titles,” Marin France said.

“We’ve been in every team and school together since we were six.

Marin France and Joe Lacey in Curl Curl FC’s under 6 squad.

“We joined Sydney FC together in under 13’s, played in the same NSW teams and now we are both in the Sydney FC’s A-League Men’s squad, it’s an unbelievable story.”

Both are yet to make their A-League debuts, but both had bizarrely similar experiences at nearly making their debuts.

The pair were named on the bench at Allianz Stadium last season, Lacey against Melbourne Victory in Round One and France in Sydney Derby #3.

Both were due to come on in the dying stages of the games, standing on the touchline waiting for the ball to go out of play until the full time whistle blew and cut short their dream debut appearance.

Lacey at a Sydney FC Fan day with Bernie Ibini

“Standing on the sideline as a 16-year old, my nerves were crazy, butterflies in my stomach and seeing everyone in The Cove going crazy,” said Lacey at the time.

“If I came on, that would have been insane, but I’ve learned a lot so far.”

France, who was due to come on after Jaiden Kucharski’s memorable late winner, added:

“Just being on the bench in a derby, let alone the way it finished was unbelievable,” he said.

“Seeing JK [Jaiden Kucharski] score at the end just after Wanderers equalised and being a part of it was very special, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

Marin France signing his contract at Sky Park

“After he scored, I turned around and Uffy was waving me over to get on. As I was taking my bib off, I realised this could be the moment.

“Unfortunately the full time whistle went before it could happen but just standing there and waiting to come on was an unbelievable feeling.”

Now, both boys are re-united at Sydney FC first team and will be looking to get some minutes under Ufuk Talay when the squad return for the Australia Cup which kicks off at the end of July.

What a tremendous journey and all the better having done it together!