It’s been a while since I wrote something here – something I was reminded of yesterday. So I thought I’d just share a few words about the off-season so far.
It was great to see the Socceroos qualify for their 3rd successive World Cup, and the fourth overall. Qualifying this time around was just how qualification for the biggest stage of them all should be: tough, gritty and a test of the depth and quality of the squad. I said here last year, when many other people were in a ‘doom and gloom’ mode, that we would make it so congratulations to Holger, Viddie, Robbie, Tony on the coaching staff as well as all the guys in the squad.
The next 12 months is an exciting time for so many players to put up their hand and say to Holger – “pick me!”.
Commiserations to Paolo (Paul Okon) and Milan (Blagojevic) and the Young Socceroos. They only picked up a point, and our recent record of not progressing past the first round of the World U-20 Cup remains, but I think everyone can be encouraged by what we saw.
I belong to the school of thought which says that our development took a dip when the National Youth League was cancelled by FFA in 2004. I think we’re just beginning to see the fruits of the "new" system again now. Don’t forget the NYL didn’t come back until 2008. It should be blue skies ahead.
In terms of Sydney FC, I’m very happy with our planning and preparation for the season ahead so far. So much is happening.
It's wonderful to be back working with Rado Vidosic again.
Recruitment has gone well. Of course, some fans have different opinions and it’s always enjoyable to read them. But the fact is, I have to balance room to move with availability with salary cap with need. It’s a juggling act – but a good one to have.
The boys are working very hard, with two sessions a day and Wednesday off. We’re not only working on fitness but how we want to play, our shape and our discipline. I don’t want to see a whole lot of yellow and red cards for dissent or lack of discipline late in games this season and the players are very aware of that.
The pre-season schedule is also very good.
We meet a range of local teams in Sydney this month: Belmore, Sydney University and Macarthur Rams.
We have a match against Sagan Tosu in Tosu City, Japan, on 24th July. I may not make this match as I'll be finishing the Pro-License course in Canberra; but will catch up with the squad on their return.
We have a tour to Italy for a couple of weeks in August, where we’ll be meeting some local teams as well as some Serie A, B and C teams.
By the time 11th October rolls around, for the opening match against Newcastle Jets at home, we’ll be fighting fit and ready. I hope you’re looking forward to it too.
Sydney FC memberships are now open; it’d be great to have you on board. Join up here.
By the way, if you haven't already discovered a new website that's around - check it out. Australian Football PRSS has all the football news you could possibly want. I check it out twice a day. There's also separate sites for each A-League club and European football. Check out Sydney FC's site. It will be fantastic when the season starts and there's even more news around.
Note from Frank
It's a game of opinions and I've always thought everyone's entitled to theirs.