Sydney FC has launched its Female Football Pathway to help aspiring young players realise their dream of becoming the next Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord or Cortnee Vine.
The pathway provides a link between grassroots football and the professional game, closing the gap on the current lack of opportunities for girls to transition from one to the other.
It will create a legacy for professional women’s football in Australia and build on the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
Sydney FC Chairman Scott Barlow said: “We want to create the best elite pathway in women’s football and provide a clear vision for the best young female footballers to transition into a professional career.
“Young, talented girls should have the same opportunities as boys to play football professionally and we are committed to developing the next Sky Blues and Matildas.
“It is clear what an enormous impact the Women’s World Cup had on our country and it is vital we invest in the development of future generations of female footballers.”
The elite pathway begins at the new Sky Blues Female Training Program, which leads into the Sydney FC Development Squad before selection in the Sydney FC A-League Women’s team.
The Female Training Program (FTP) is split into two separate training programs based out of Sydney FC’s training base of Sky Park in the city’s north and Sutherland Shire in the south.
Talented girls aged between 11-13-years-old can express an interest to join the FTP and potentially be selected to become part of the Sydney FC Development Squad.
The Development Squad consists of girls aged 14-16 with players being scouted through FTP and competition games at local clubs.
They will train twice per week at Sky Park working closely with the Liberty A-League Women’s squad and opening the door to sign professional contracts at Sydney FC.
Current Matildas and Sydney FC forward Cortnee Vine says the program will give the club and the national squads more chance of future success.
“The Women’s World Cup showed us what we can do without pathways such as this, so imagine what we can do with it?” she said.
“It will be of enormous benefit to Sydney FC and the Matildas, with more chance of success in the future.
“It’s also hugely important to give young girls the best opportunity of a professional career in football which is what this will provide.”
Former Sydney FC Captain Teresa Polias will be the Pathway’s Ambassador and she says it’s an extremely important step to ensure the continued success of the game.
“Increased opportunities for professional training between the ages of 11 and 16 will lead to more girls staying in the game, creating greater competition and better players.
“It’s common practice in many countries around the world so it’s important we don’t fall behind, particularly given the recent in interest and surge in Memberships in the Liberty A-League.”
The pathway’s structure has been set up after extensive negotiations with all stakeholders and agreement reached that the program is the best framework for the future of women’s football.
The Sky Blues Female Training Program is open for anyone to express an interest to join – please click here.