Sydney FC have promoted another two of their successful Academy stars to the Isuzu-Ute A-League Men’s squad for the next two seasons.
17-year old Jake Girdwood-Reich and 18-year old Corey Hollman will make the step up and be part of the Sky Blues squad until 2024.
The midfielders are the 4th and 5th members of Sydney FC’s successful NSW NPL League 1 Men’s squad to be given first team contracts this month, joining forwards Adrian Segecic (17) and Jaiden Kurcharski (19) plus defender Aaron Gurd (20).
Both players have come through every level of the Sky Blues Academy since 2016, having previously represented Seaforth FC and Manly United FC (Hollman) and APIA Leichhardt, Sydney Olympic and Scottish club St. Johnstone (Girdwood-Reich).
“It’s amazing and I’m stoked,” said the Northern Beaches based Hollman.
“In the Academy we’d always go to watch the first team train and speak to the players afterwards, so for any kid it’s a dream to sign. I’m buzzing.
“Hopefully I can give the squad a bit of energy and improve my game, then get minutes to show what I can do.”
Girdwood-Reich who hails from Clovelly in Sydney’s East, said he was looking forward to playing at the new Allianz Stadium and doing his relatives proud.
“It’s a big honour for me and my family and I’ve worked so hard for it.
“Having been in the Academy since I was 12, I’ve always wanted to go through the system and get to the first team and I’ve done that.
“What you’ll see from me is a little pest in midfield and hopefully I can get some minutes in the A-League.
“It’s a massive new stadium we are heading to so I’d love to play in that.”
Head Coach Steve Corica is happy to have promoted another two players and believes they can forge good futures in the game.
“They’ve trained with us regularly since pre-season last year and I’ve been really impressed with both players,” he said.
“They’re two different types of midfielder; Jake is a bit more defensive breaking up play and Corey is more of a box to box player with an eye for goal.
“Both have a lot of talent and a career ahead of them if they work hard, push themselves every day at training and learn from the players and coaching staff around them.”
Sydney FC’s Technical Director – Youth, Kelly Cross has worked with both players for the past six and seven years, spotting Hollman playing at Manly United.
“I remember scouting Corey as a 12-year old and I’m so proud of how far he has progressed in the seven years that he’s been with us,” he said.
“He has great technique and a tremendous engine. I wasn’t surprised when he began to get regular invitations to train with the A-League Men.
“Corey has a wide range of strengths to his game, particularly ball-winning and seeing the best passing option.”
Girdwood-Reich came into the Academy set-up after attending one of Sydney FC’s Academy Football Schools try-outs.
“I first noticed Jake as a Year 6 boy trialing for the Sydney FC football program at Endeavour Sports High School in 2016,” Cross continued.
“I observed him at NSW Primary Schools competitions and became convinced that Jake was very talented and would flourish in our environment.
“He has confirmed that potential and I’m sure he would have figured prominently in Australia’s U17 World Cup squad, but the tournament was cancelled because of the pandemic.
“We all feel strongly that Jake will blossom in the senior set-up after seven years in our academy.”
Both players will continue to feature for Sydney FC’s NSW NPL League One squad until the end of the season before linking up fully with the Sky Blues Isuzu-Ute A-League Men.