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Jan 23, 2009   |  11:16PM AET

Sydney FC sets the record straight on community program

Sydney FC sets the record straight on community program

Want the real story on Sydney FC’s efforts in the community? Read on.

Sydney FC has been criticized in some quarters in recent times for not doing enough with the community. Whilst these critics might have had some grounds for such allegations in the past, particularly when the program did not have the support of previous coaches and a very small number of players, the current criticism is unfounded and totally unfair.

The club, with the full support of John Kosmina and the players, has worked hard on ensuring that the significant work undertaken this year in the community goes well beyond our responsibility as a corporate citizen. Sydney is a huge market, but we will do all we can with our available resources to ensure that we visit as many schools, junior clubs, gala days and shopping centres as possible.

Can we do some things smarter or better? Of course we can, and we will as we continue to develop our community program further.

The club is an easy target for knockers, particularly in a huge market such as Sydney, which requires massive resources to be properly serviced.

The fact is though, we are doing far more than we have ever done and believe that in total hours and the number of visits to schools, clubs and associations, we are arguably doing far more than any other Hyundai A-League club.

By way of example:

• We have this season increased our community staff, with Ryan Walsh joining Brendan Renaud.
• This calendar year, we have visited 28,753 schoolchildren/registered players to date, far exceeding the previous best of 18,000.
• Sixteen (16) players on ASA-s will spend a total of 2,300 hours in the community this season.
• This is in addition to the nearly 250 game development/sponsors appearances (which excludes media appearances) undertaken by all players. This number will increase next season.
• The club works closely with the Football United Refugee Program, providing equipment and coaching and player appearances at sessions and media events.
• The club works closely with Football NSW to ensure it attends their major gala days, competitions and junior football events, including the Harry Williams Cup for indigenous players.
• The club, with the help of FFA, runs the Sydney Schools Cup, which now has 30 teams and is growing.
• Relationships are being established with the private schools. We have a close relationship with Knox and Newington, with plans to expand to other private schools.
• The club has signed an agreement with the Ku-Ring-Gai District Soccer Association to provide assistance with workshops/coaching/trials for young aspiring players and an annual match against the association-s senior team. Similar agreements are being discussed with other associations and will be in place in the near future.
• The club hosts association children on match days, enabling youngsters to participate in onfield activities. Association coaches are also involved in a match day experience behind the scenes, including discussions on game tactics.
• The club stages its holiday clinics at Macquarie University.
• Additionally, as part of its community engagement, the club staged pre-season matches in Blacktown, Manly, Sutherland, Wollongong and Campbelltown and is hosting a number of NYL matches at Manly and Sutherland.

Stefan Kamasz
CEO, Sydney FC