Club Preview - Sydney FC

Strangely for Sydney FC the off-season has been somewhat quiet

Strangely for Sydney FC the off-season has been somewhat quiet, despite a new overseas coach coming in and a fairly big turnover of players. The new hierarchy at the club is going low key as they look to rebuild after several seasons where off-field and on-field drama has seen the inaugural Hyundai A-League Champions slip down the pecking order. Missing the finals last year hurt a lot and with every chance Sydney might have a second team in two years time, things had to change and quick smart.

First port of call was a change in coaching personnel with Czech Republic U21 National Team Vitezslav Lavicka appointed as Head Coach, replacing John Kosmina. Sydney had already lost a number of players to other clubs before Lavicka arrived, although apart from Iain Fyfe and Robbie Middleby, most were fringe players only. One thing that Lavicka can thank Kosmina for was introducing a host of youngsters to the first team last year from their very talented Youth team, with no less than five players earning first team contracts. Of these four - Kofi Danning, Antony Golec, Rhyan Grant and Matthew Jurman - are part of the Qantas Young Socceroos squad. Lavicka-s prize signing is midfielder Karol Kisel, who played under him at top Czech club Sparta Prague. The Slovakian international will be the anchor in the midfield, while former Korean international defender Sung-Hwan Byun is another experienced player that Lavicka has signed. The late signing of Swiss defender Stephan Keller adds considerable experience to the defence.

However Sydney-s fortunes this season could rest with two former Qantas Socceroos in John Aloisi and Steve Corica. Aloisi endured a torrid first season in the harbour city, scoring just 2 goals. Admittedly he went into the season having come off a disrupted pre-season with injury and he never really recovered. It has however been the complete opposite for Aloisi this pre-season and he has come through with a lot of confidence and determination to prove his critics wrong and if he can force his way back into the Qantas Socceroos frame with a stack of goals. Corica meanwhile is set to again be the main playmaker in attack in what is likely to be his final season, while the likes of Simon Colosimo, Alex Brosque and Stuart Musialik are among the best players in the league on their day and need to show consistency throughout the season if Sydney is to be a force once again.

Sydney have also played the most amount of pre-season games of any club, with a host of friendly matches against NSW Premier League and Super League teams and the odd game against their Hyundai A-League opponents. They went through their 13 pre-season matches undefeated, have scored an impressive 26 goals and conceding just 2 goals in 1080 minutes of football! It is however pre-season and it-s from Round 1 that counts and with a tough first up trip to Townsville; getting three points will not be easily achieved.

There is no doubt Sydney will be in contention for the finals this season, but just where has many expert pundits perplexed. If they get off to a good start, they have the players necessary to be among the front runners, but as for winning the title, only time will tell.

Current Squad: John ALOISI, Clint BOLTON (gk), Mark BRIDGE, Alex BROSQUE, Sung-Hwan BYUN, Adam CASEY, Shannon COLE, Simon COLOSIMO, Steve CORICA, Kofi DANNING, Brendan GAN, Anthony GOLEC, Rhyan GRANT, Matthew JURMAN, Stephan KELLER, Karol KISEL, Terry MCFLYNN, Stuart MUSIALIK, Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), Chris PAYNE, Mitchell PRENTICE and Sebastian RYALL.

Re-signed: Alex Brosque (2 years), Adam Casey (2 years), Shannon Cole (3 years), Ivan Necevski (1 year).

In: Karol Kisel (Sparta Prague, Czech Republic - 1 year), Sebastian Ryall (Melbourne Victory - 2 years), Kofi Danning (Sydney FC NYL - 2 years), Brendan Gan (Sydney FC NYL - 2 years), Antony Golec (Sydney FC NYL - 2 years), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC NYL - 2 years), Matthew Jurman (Sydney FC NYL - 2 years), Byun Sung-Hwan (Jeju United, Korea Republic - 2 years), Stephan Keller (De Graafschap, Holland - 1 year)

Out: Adam Biddle (released), Beau Busch (North Queensland Fury), Mike Enfield (released), Iain Fyfe (Adelaide United), Robbie Middleby (North Queensland Fury), Tony Popovic (retired), Brendon Santalab (North Queensland Fury), Jacob Timpano (North Queensland Fury), Nik Tsattalios (Newcastle Jets)