Youthful exuberance and a desire to take it to the competition’s top teams is sure to power Sydney FC during the 2019 NPL NSW Men’s top tier competition.
It is the club’s third season in the NSW state league top flight and they will be determined to prove their place in the NPL once again.
Made up of players aged 21-years and under from the Sydney FC A-League academy, the Young Sky Blues stand out as a unique prospect among the league’s other 11 sides.
Coached by Jimmy van Weeren, Sydney FC is unashamedly focused on the development of players instead of winning the title.
But the young coach insists that doesn’t mean his side will be walkovers.
“Obviously we are in a unique situation compared to our opponents but we are no less competitive,” van Weeren said.
“This is a good group of players who are going to take the game to whoever they play.
“All the boys have a lot to play for and I know if we apply ourselves we could catch a few teams by surprise.”
Van Weeren will have an almost all new squad to work with this year with the players turning 22 in 2019 moving on from the side.
Gone are regulars from last campaign such as Duro Dragicevic, Sam McIllhatton and Jeremy Cox.
However, van Weeren is not short of quality in his squad with Liam McGing, Tom Heward-Belle, and Jordi Swibel just some of the players at the young coach’s disposal.
“It is an interesting challenge trying to mold a new group of players year to year but we are really happy with how the side is shaping up.
“There is naturally going to be a few teething issues throughout the season but I have a lot of confidence in what these boys can do.”
One player sure to be an x-factor this season is 18-year-old attacker Luke Ivanovic who has already broken through to Sydney FC’s A-League side and scored in their win against Melbourne City.
“There are some special players in this group who on their day can be a real handful,” van Weeren said.
“Luke has had some great performances for the first team and really showed his class.
“Hopefully he will be able to continue his development throughout the NPL season.
Sydney FC finished the 2018 season in last position but survived relegation thanks to their superior record in the Club Championship.
They will be desperate to not finish with the wooden spoon again in 2019.
The Young Sky Blues open their campaign on March 10 with an Eastern Suburbs derby of sorts against Hakoah Sydney City East at Hensley Athletic Field.
Key Player movements
Arrivals: Marco Tilio, Joel King, Hamish Lamberton, Ben Koop, Daniel Blachura
Departures: Duro Dragicevic, Jeremy Cox, Sam McIllhatton, Jordan Mutch
-By Nick Houghton