Sydney United will be the NSW representatives in this year’s inaugural NPL finals series, having been crowned Premiers on the last day of the regular season.
Club: Sydney United 58 FC Founded: 1957 Colours: Red and White Home ground: Edensor Park Recent Honours: NSW Premier League Champions: 2006; NSW Premier League Grand Finalists: 2011; NSW Premier League Premiers: 2009, 2013; Waratah Cup Champions: 2005 Head Coach: Mark Rudan Key Players: Luka Glavas (captain), Liam Reddy
Sydney United 58 FC will be the NSW representatives in this year-s inaugural National Premier League finals series and will host Canberra FC in the opening match this Sunday at Edensor Park.
The club mustered a strong finish to the regular season, claiming the minor-premiership and their spot in the tournament with victory in the final round. The club were unfortunate not to get the opportunity to contest the grand final, after bowing out of the finals with successive losses in penalty shoot-outs.
United were formed in 1957 under the banner of Sydney Croatia Sports Club and began competing the following year. The club catered for the influx of Croatians that migrated to Sydney around this time and went through their first season in the NSW Soccer Football Association undefeated.
The club subsequently moved to the NSW Soccer Federation and has been one of the most successful clubs in the country in terms of producing representative players.The likes of Tim Cahill, Mark Bosnich, Atti Abonyi, Jim Patikas, Graham Arnold, Zeljko Kalac, Jason Culina, Robbie Slater, Tony Popovic and Ante Milicic among others, were all produced by Sydney United.
Club Captain Luka Glavas said the side was disappointed to lose two straight penalty shoot-outs to deny them the chance of championship success.
“Obviously it-s never a nice way to go out as it-s a bit of a lottery but to lose two in a row was extremely frustrating,” said Glavas. “Despite this we know we still had a good season.”
The 28-year-old recently broke Graham Arnold-s long-time goal scoring record for United, bettering the mark of 84 goals for the club in his side's final regular season game.
The forward added to his tally when he scored the first goal of the preliminary final against the Rockdale City Suns from the penalty spot. However he was unable to repeat the dose in the shoot-out having been injured during the match as United bowed out of the finals.
Despite the loss Glavas said the side would not be scarred by the experience ahead of the NPL national finals series.
“We will focus on the season we had,” said Glavas. "We know we have the quality and dominated throughout the year. We are confident in our ability and have a have a lot of self-belief.”
Following their finals result Sydney United had a week off from training before refocusing their attention on Canberra FC, who they will meet in the first round of the NPL finals series. The match-up promises to be a tight affair with Canberra FC being the outstanding performers in Capital Football this season and they also herald from Croatian heritage.
Glavas is quietly confident his side not only has the ability to get past Canberra but to ultimately take out the inaugural title.
“It-s a competition we definitely want to succeed in. We-ll take it very seriously and hopefully can win it.”
The match kicks off at 3pm this Sunday 29 September at Edensor Park.