Sydney FC’s newly formed Female Development Squad has successfully launched and completed its first week on the training field.
Thirty-seven girls aged between 14 and 16 years old gathered together at Sky Park, Sydney FC’s Elite Centre of Excellence last week under the watchful eye of Head Coach James Slaveski and Assistant Coach Charlotte Young.
The players worked in the Sky Park gym as Sydney FC’s Liberty A-League squad trained, before they took to the field themselves to undergo a number of game-based sessions.
“It has been a lot of hard work, I’m incredibly happy to have it up and running and it’s a really proud moment to see it come to life,” said Female Pathways Manager Sarah Ferris.
“It provides an opportunity for talented females to train in a professional environment with the ultimate aim for them to sign professional contracts.”
The players were selected from scouting reports, club recommendations and expressions of interest and have come from many different areas.
Clubs as far as South Hobart and Illawarra Stingrays have representatives while closer to home North West Sydney Spirit and Manly United have also had players selected.
“The players are still part of their club but this is a program which involves being in a professional environment in the off season, after which they return to their clubs,” Ferris added.
“We wanted to recognize the club’s involvement and commitment to their development so far.
“They are the ones who are responsible for getting the players to the standard they are at to be able to come into this environment and potentially become Liberty A-League players.”
The development squad meet twice a week at 6.30pm for a gym session followed by on field at 7pm until 8.30pm, once the Liberty A-League session is complete.
Over time those who have shown they have the ability to step up will be selected to train with the Sky Blues women’s squad.
Parent Tania Saad said: “We’ve already noticed just how welcoming and warm it feels, and how it has made us feel confident our girls are going to be looked after.
“The club is excited about this program as much as we are and it’s a privilege to be part of the inaugural group and we can’t wait for it to take off.”
The program runs until the end of February when the players will return to playing with their clubs.