The Western Sydney Wanderers Academy will be aiming for another successful year as preparations for the 2017/18 season officially get underway this week.
After launching in March of last year, the Academy has rapidly grown into one of Australia’s premier junior football programs.
The Academy has enjoyed enormous success since entering its seven teams into the NSW NPL and NSW NPL2 competitions, while an unprecedented number of players have gone on to represent both NSW and Australia.
Importantly though, the Academy represents a sustainable long-term model for the club, providing a genuine pathway to the Hyundai A-League for young footballers in Western Sydney.
The Wanderers Academy was last month recognised for its excellence in youth development when it was announced as one of only three Academies to be accredited with a ‘2 star’ status by Football Federation Australia.
It comes as eight Wanderers this month helped the Young Socceroos reach the 2018 AFC U19 Championship after topping their group in the qualifying tournament in Vietnam.
Mathieu Cordier, Kosta Grozos, Fabian Monge, Tass Mourdoukoutas, Moudi Najjar, Noah Pagden, Tate Russell and Marc Tokich were all part of the squad, with Najjar emerging as Australia’s top scorer in the tournament.
The group will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of current Hyundai A-League squad members Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Keanu Baccus, Abraham Majok, Lachlan Scott, Jaushua Sotirio and Nicholas Suman, who are all products of the Wanderers youth setup.
With the club’s new state-of-the-art training base in Blacktown soon to be completed, 2018 is set to be a significant year for both the Academy and club as a whole.
Academy Technical Director Ian Crook has overseen the Academy since its inception and said the program is headed in the right direction.
“We’ve worked hard over the last couple of years and we believe that we’re in the midst of producing a pathway here,” Crook said.
“From the day one, the whole club has had a fabulous feel about it and that’s something we want to instil in the young boys as well; a feeling for the club, the community and the area.”
“We’ve had good representation in our state and national teams over the last couple of years and we’ll look to keep developing that but our end product is for us to get as many boys as possible to the Hyundai A-League level.”
Western Sydney Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas said he’s excited about the future of the Academy.
“As a club we’re committed to unearthing and nurturing the best young talent in Western Sydney,” Tsatsimas said.
“The Academy is a significant part of our vision to be a globally recognised and respected football club so it’s pleasing to see the strides we’ve been able to make in such a short amount of time.”