Sydney Olympic will have a new look in 2016.
Coach Grant Lee returns once again, but this season the task this season will be more about rebuilding than winning championships.
“We’ve lost eight of our main 14 players over the offseason who have moved on for various reasons,” Lee said.
“Over the last few years we worked on the squad and I think we did very well to have been successful with what we’ve had and the budget we have worked with.”
“We’ve been happy, but in some ways you can become a victim of your success as your players become targeted.
“Some have moved onto higher levels like Troy Danaskos (Wellington Phoenix) who has moved to the A-League, but they’re also open to teams around us who spend a bit more money than us and want to be successful, so they move laterally.”
Japanese stars Taiga Soeda and Go Shirai have left the club and Olympic have opted not to replace them with new imports, instead opting for former Olympic players for the much-needed experience that Lee hopes will guide his younger squad through the seasons.
Chris Triantis and Mitchell Stamatellis return to the club while the likes of Paul Henderson, Brayden Sorge and Leigh Egger are retained and while Lee admits the transition could prove difficult, he believes his strongest team is good enough to keep Olympic in finals contention at the very least.
“I think we’ll be competitive, which we always want to be,” Lee said.
“It’s a very different squad and a very young squad, but I think we can be top five candidates.
”Mitch and Chris are both Sydney Olympic boys from their youth days, so it’s nice to have them back and help the younger boys.
“If I can keep my best 13 on or around the pitch, I would hope to make the finals.”
Player to Watch: Mitchell Stamatellis
With such a young squad thin on experience, Mitchell Stamatellis will prove a huge addition to Grant Lee’s side. His versatility and ability in either defence or midfielder will give his coach plenty of options and cover.
SQUAD: Anthony Tomelic, Chris Triantis, William Angel, Paul Henderson, Jason Madonis, Mark Cindric, Jake De Marigny, Oliver Green, Jake Green, Adrian Vranic, Cohan Morris,Brayden Sorge, Leigh Egger, Howard Fondyke, Jacob Boutoubia, Harris Gaitatzis, Nikolas Tsattalios, Mitchell Stamatellis, Eoin Montford, Michael Gaitatzis, Denver Crickmore