Sydney FC has become one of the first Hyundai A-League clubs to have their Academy accredited with ‘2 Star’ status under a new Football Federation Australia (FFA) system designed to provide more high-quality coaching to a larger number of talented players.
The two-star accreditation represents best practice in Australia and the Sky Blues are one of only three Hyundai A-League clubs to have been awarded the accolade.
Sydney FC Academy Director Kelly Cross believes it is a significant step for the growth and future of the club.
“Our Academy is a key component of Sydney FC’s long-term strategy,” he said.
“We believe that future Sydney FC teams will feature a large number of Academy graduates, and we are already excited by the way our young Sky Blues are developing.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure that what we do on and off the field is the best you will see in Australia, so to receive this 2-Star accreditation is a great honour, but not really a surprise.”
The 2017 National Premier League Youth season was a very promising one for Sydney FC with our five Academy teams from U13 to U18 winning 107 out of 142 games with only 19 draws.
The total goal difference across the sides was +338 and Cross was delighted with the results.
“When you consider that our teams always have a large number of younger players on the field, that is quite impressive,” he said.
“Our U18s, who are almost totally made up of U16s, won the league with three games left and also won the Grand Final which is fantastic and bodes very well for the future.”
The Sky Blues are also well on their way to raising $500,000 in much needed funds for the Academy through multiple donors to the Sydney FC Foundation, in further recognition of the regard the Sky Blues youth are held.
Cross put the success down to the strategies put in place from the very beginning.
“We have three key elements at the Academy,” he continued.
“The first is to provide a first-class learning environment, the second is to have a clear philosophy on how to play and how to learn how to play football; the third is to focus on good people.
“To put it all together, we believe that if you bring good people into a learning environment that has a very clear philosophy, then you will get excellent outcomes.”
The other Hyundai A-League clubs to receive ‘2 Star’ status are Western Sydney Wanderers FC, and Central Coast Mariners FC.
FFA is working with all other Australian-based Hyundai A-League clubs and their respective Member Federations to attain 2 Star status for their club academies within the next two years. Melbourne City FC and Melbourne Victory are awaiting admission of more youth teams into Victoria’s PS4 NPL competitions next season to progress their applications. The next round of the accreditation process is now underway for Brisbane Roar FC, Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory.
FFA CEO David Gallop says 2 Star accreditation of the first three Hyundai A-League club academies is a landmark for football in Australia.
“The development of top tier club academies is a major focus of the 20 year Whole of Football Plan,” said Gallop.
“Over the past 10 years our player development path has been very narrow. The approach we have been working on for the past couple of years is to put our Hyundai A-League clubs and National Premier Leagues clubs at the heart of player development with support and guidance from the FFA and our Member Federations.
“We are now seeing this become a reality,” he said.
The new club academy accreditation system is just one of the initiatives being pursued by FFA and its Member Federations to develop players.
‘One Star’ represents quality youth development, ‘Two Star’ represents best practise in Australia, and ‘Three Star’ represents world’s best practise.
During 2016/17, 2,668 coaching accreditations were issued – an 80% increase from 2015/16. This means Australia now has a total pool of 5,500 accredited coaches.
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