Sydney FC and Wollongong Wolves have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote football in the Illawarra and South Coast region of New South Wales and also to facilitate the Wolves becoming a ‘feeder’ club for the Sky Blues.
The agreement will cement their long running relationship and provide an improved pathway into the professional game for elite players from the area.
Wolves will also have access to Sydney FC’s elite programs which can provide education, training and development, with the Sky Blues hoping to unearth the next A-League or W-League star.
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Sydney FC Chairman Scott Barlow said: “We’ve had a great relationship with football fans and players from this region for many years, cornered by a long-standing MOU with Football South Coast.
“This new agreement with Wollongong Wolves strengthens the club’s commitment to the area by helping with elite football pathway and player development opportunities, and we are also supportive of Wollongong Wolves bidding for a standalone A-League license in the years to come.”
There are numerous links between the two clubs and the South Coast football community, with no fewer than nine players across the Sky Blues’ squads hailing from the region, including Matildas forward Caitlin Foord and A-League star Aaron Calver.
The current Wolves Head Coach Luke Wilkshire also has strong Sydney FC ties having helped the club to Premiers Plate and FFA Cup success last season.
Sydney FC has existing agreements to increase participation at grassroots level in the St. George, Sutherland Shire Football Associations and Football South Coast areas.
Wollongong Wolves Chairman Tory Lavalle said: “This is a terrific development for football on the South Coast.
“Sydney FC are the biggest club in the A-League and recognise the talent coming from our club and the area.
“This relationship will help us try and achieve a stand-alone A-League team in the future, and provide increased opportunities for our juniors and our coaching staff to become involved in Sydney FC’s junior academy and senior teams.
“We have always had a close relationship with Sydney FC and are united in our opposition to an A-League expansion club in Southern Sydney.”
Wolves Head Coach Luke Wilkshire said: “Having been involved in both clubs, I think this is a massive announcement for football in our region.
“We are trying every day to improve the sport and what we can offer to the South Coast and we have a long way to go and lots to achieve.
“The Sydney FC programs and their resources will benefit our elite players and coaches and improve the path to professional football, which is largely missing at the moment.”
The clubs will also look to co-operate in other aspects of football including the promotion of memberships and community engagement initiatives.