Sydney FC’s Academy – ’10 Things You Didn’t Know’


Think you know everything about Sydney FC’s stellar Academy? Guess again! ​​​​​​​

Think you know everything about Sydney FC’s stellar Academy? Guess again!

As the fifth anniversary of our Academy’s establishment nears closer, we sat down with Technical Director – Youth, Kelly Cross to find out 10 things you may not know about the Sky Blues’ youth setup.


  • Of the nine competitions the Academy competes in, the U13s and NYL are the only ones where we compete on a level playing field with our opponents. All our other teams are comprised on average of around 50% of players playing up. 15s and 16s over the last 2 weeks have been more than 70% younger players. We do this to challenge and push our players to develop at a higher level. Our role is to develop players who can push for A-League selection rather than teams who can win junior championships.
  • The Sydney FC team that competes in the NSW Men’s NPL Division 1 (the second tier of football below the A-League) is generally made up of 4 U19s, 6 U18s and one U17 or U16. Two of our goals this season have been scored by U16s.
  • We have five Sydney FC Academy Schools in metropolitan Sydney, one in Wollongong and one in Canberra. We are helping to develop around 600 talented young male and female players, not just the 120 we have in the Academy. The schools are Endeavour Sports High, Narrabeen Sports High, Illawarra Sports High, Matraville Sports High, Bossley Park High, Crestwood High and Erindale College (Canberra).
  • We’ve recently seen two of our graduates gain professional contracts overseas (Ryan Teague to Famalicao in Portuguese First Division, and Cameron Peupion to EPL club Brighton. Both were with the Academy from its very first day in October 2015.
  • As well as promoting players from within, we have the same approach with our coaches. Jim van Weeren was our U15 Head Coach in 2015, and has progressed through the U18s, and is now our NPL and NYL Head Coach. Many other members of our current staff have been with us since Day 1 in 2015: Nick Susko, Alex Watson, Jason Rea, Jacques Sartor and Mizuki Ito.
  • We have a partnership with Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam, which links us closely in terms of player development and sharing of ideas. Ajax are world-renowned as a leader in youth development, and we are their exclusive partners in Australia.
  • Sydney FC won the 2019 Toyama International U18 Youth Tournament in Japan, beating top-level Japanese and Korean opposition.
  • In December 2019, we had nine players selected for an Australian U18 camp (over one-third of the squad, made up of payers from all over the country).
  • In the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil, four Sydney FC boys played just about every minute of Australia’s four matches (Ryan Teague, Cameron Peupion, Anton Mlinaric and Adam Pavlesic).