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Jan 25, 2024   |  4:45PM AET

Matthews Signs First Pro Deal

Matthews Signs First Pro Deal

Young Sydney FC centre half Hayden Matthews has signed his first professional contract which will see the 19-year-old remain in Sky Blue until the end of the 2026-27 season.

The three-season deal caps a fantastic week for the right footed defender who made his A-League debut in last Friday night’s 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets.

At 195 centimetres, Matthews becomes the tallest member of the Sky Blues Isuzu-UTE A-League squad however he is about to enter his eighth season with the club, having joined the Academy as a 12-year old.

Matthews (aged 13 with former player Brandon O’Neill) has played at every level of the Sydney FC Academy from U13 to first team.

“It’s a pretty surreal feeling and a dream come true,” he said.

“It’s something I’ve imagined since I joined the Academy and having been with the club for the past eight years it’s really special.

“I’ve been a Sydney FC supporter as long as I can remember, watching Del Piero playing at Allianz Stadium and dreaming about being on the pitch one day.

“Making my debut was such a proud moment for me and my family, I really enjoyed being out there and seeing ‘The Cove’ in full voice,” he continued.

“When I found out I was coming on I think I sprinted over [to the halfway line], I might have hit a new top speed, but I was excited and ready to come on.”

Matthews made his A-League debut in the 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets.

Matthews was born in the St George area and hails from Oatley. 

He won the Football NSW under 14’s Championship in 2018 and the National Premier League NSW Men’s Under 20’s Championship in 2022 during his time in the Sydney FC Academy.

He was also School Captain at Sydney FC’s Academy Football School, Endeavour Sports High.

The young defender has featured on the bench for the Sky Blues in the exhibition game against Celtic last year and in the Australia Cup against Central Coast Mariners in Wollongong this season.

“Hayden is a very good prospect for this club and has a lot of potential,” said Head Coach Ufuk Talay.

“He is a good defender, who has good composure on the ball and is strong in the air.

“I am delighted we have another prospect who has come all the way through our Academy.”

Matthews has captained his school and Sydney FC Academy lifting the Under 20’s Championship

Sydney FC Technical Director – Youth, Kelly Cross has observed Matthews throughout his time as a Sydney FC Academy player.

“I’ve been tracking Hayden since 2016 and after several impressive performances at a primary schools’ tournament I was convinced he had potential,” Cross said.

“He has continued to improve year-by-year, demonstrating a humble and balanced personality.

“Hayden has had a professional attitude since he was 12, which is credit to a strong family environment and parental support; he is a coach’s dream.

Matthews training with Sydney FC’s A-League team.

“Many of his peers, such as Adrian Segecic and Jake Girdwood-Reich have gained contracts and junior national team selection before him, but he wasn’t disheartened.

“That’s a challenge for many young players, but it’s about focusing on your own development and belief and being patient.

“It’s not a race, and there is no finish line which has been Hayden’s approach, and it has come to fruition.”

Matthews will wear the number 27 shirt.