Sydney FC Academy prepare to face best clubs in Germany

A Sydney FC U-19 squad will jet off to Germany on Saturday, where they will play two-friendly matches before featuring in the 60th U-19 Champions Trophy, a high-level international competition for youth players.

The U-19 Sky Blue side will play six games in the space of a week against German Academy sides Bayer Leverkusen, FC Schalke 04, Fortuna Düsseldorf, FSV Mainz 05, Danish team FC Nordsjaelland, and Belgian side Royal Charleroi.

The competition is known for hosting the ‘creme-de-la-crème of international youth football’, where players such as AC Milan and Real Madrid legend Kaka, World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger, and one of England’s most famous strikers, Michael Owen, have featured.

Sydney FC Academy

Coach of the Sydney FC’s Academy side, Jimmy Van Weeren, explained how important this competition is for the 20-man team made up of 17 and 18 year olds.

“The players are really in the shop window,” he said.

“They’ll get the experience of living like a professional player for two weeks and significant football learning and development.

“To see the technical level of football in Europe and then to bring that back to the NPL with added inspiration and motivation would be exciting.

“It is a huge opportunity but shouldn’t become a distraction.

“First and foremost, the players should focus on their performances and what they can control.”

Along with this trip, Sydney FC’s Head of Player Management, Alex Baumjohann, will meet with club officials such as Sporting Directors, CEOs and Head Coaches from domestic and European Academies.

The former Sky-Blue Championship winner, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund player, explained that he aims to continue building on his partnerships since heading into an administrative role two and a half years ago.

Bailey Calaghan will be travelling to Germany

“This tour presents a great opportunity to meet club officials personally to explore what we can build for the future,” Baumjohann said.

“Being from Germany and having played in the Bundesliga for many years, I saw an exciting opportunity to arrange to go there.

“I have spent hundreds of hours re-engaging with many contacts. Additionally, during my time at the UEFA Academy, I have met many exceptional individuals who are in influential positions.”

Alex Baumjohann with Sydney FC in his playing days

Baumjohann also revealed that several scouts will attend the Champions Trophy tournament.

“There will be many scouts from European clubs present at all of our games in Germany who want to have a close look at our players.

“It will be a great experience and a huge opportunity. Being quite far away from the global football world in Australia, it’s challenging for our players to compare their level to others of the same age from overseas.

“Additionally, we will attend a couple of games so they can experience the atmosphere of top European football.”

The trip will conflict with the ongoing NPL Season, where the Sydney FC Academy will miss their fixture with the Marconi Stallions this Saturday.

Youngster Jai Rose will have a spot on the plane

Instead, the Sydney FC’s younger academy players, will play. 

The Sky Blues Academy v St George fixture has been postponed and a new date will be revealed in the future.

A Tight Competition: 

Currently, the Academy side plays once a week. But, in the Champions Trophy tournament and pre-competition friendly matches, the Sky Blues will feature in six games over a week.

Van Weeren exclaimed that he is wary of this, but the players should enjoy the opportunity as much as possible. 

“There’s potentially six games in seven days, which will be tough physically and psychologically.”

“But it will be one that young players should really relish, and to travel across the world and participate in a tournament is really exciting.”

Sydney FC Academy Manager Nick Susko dissected the rules of the Champions Trophy, which will allow the side to play two games a day against top European opposition.

This is great experience for all at the Sydney FC Academy

“The matches are 50 minutes long instead of 90, and there’s two groups of five teams.

“We get the opportunity to play several games in the group. We then go onto the final day on Easter Monday, where we will hopefully play the corresponding standing/place of the other group. So if we finish first, we will play first place, and so on.”

Sydney FC Academy will first verse FC Schalke 04 U-19 and Bayer Leverkusen U-19 in friendlies before kicking off the Champions Trophy tournament against Fortuna Düsseldorf on March 28.

Below is the squad playing in the Champions Trophy tournament and two pre-tournament friendly matches.


Match Details:

Sydney FC Academy v FC Schalke 04 U-19
Monday, 25 March 2024
Kick-off: 11:00am (local) / 9:00pm (AEST)
Broadcast: TBC

Sydney FC Academy v Bayer Leverkusen U-19
Wednesday, 27 March 2024
Kick-off: 3:00pm (local) / 1:00am (THURS, AEST)
Broadcast: TBC

Sydney FC Academy v Fortuna Düsseldorf U-19
Thursday, 28 March 2024
Kick-off: 8:15pm (local) / 6:15am (FRI, AEST)
Broadcast: TBC

Sydney FC Academy v FC Nordsjaelland U-19
Saturday, 30 March 2024
Kick-off: 11:30am (local) / 9:30pm (AEST)
Broadcast: TBC

Sydney FC Academy v Royal Charleroi U-19
Saturday, 30 March 2024
Kick-off: 4:00pm (local) / 2:00am (SUN, AEST)
Broadcast: TBC

Sydney FC Academy v FSV Mainz 05 U-19
Sunday, 31 March 2024
Kick-off: 10:00am (local) / 8:00pm (AEST)
Broadcast: TBC