Last season couldn’t have started any worse for Sydney FC.
Young Matildas star Amy Sayer has also made the move to Sydney off the back of a productive stint with the North Shore Mariners in the NSW NPL and a breakout season with Canberra United in 2017-18.
Sydney have also made some impressive international signings with American goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe returning for her first full season, having made a significant contribution to the club’s success despite arriving halfway through the 2017-18 campaign. Her return comes after a tough outing in the NWSL, though Sydney can take comfort as Bledsoe broke the league record for most saves in a single season.
Joining her are Sofia Huerta and Danielle Colaprico, who are back in the W-League after representing Adelaide United two seasons ago. All three international recruits have plenty of experience against quality opposition, having just completed their seasons in the NWSL.
The experience and chemistry of the Matildas squad members will be crucial, as Sydney have lost several players who were key to last season’s storming finals run. Kylie Ledbrook, Leena Khamis, Georgia Yeoman-Dale, Remy Siemsen, and Caitlin Cooper have all joined cross-town rivals the Wanderers, while long-time goalkeeper Sham Khamis went to Canberra. Sydney have also lost the talent and leadership of Sonnett, who did not re-sign with the club.
These squad losses are a chance for Sydney’s younger recruits including Angelique Hristodoulou, Princess Ibini, Taylor Ray, Ally Green, and Julia Vignes to make their mark. Ibini is particularly on the rise, having started for the Matildas senior team in their friendly against England in October.
Juric believes this mix of youth and experience will stand Sydney FC in good stead for another blistering campaign this season.
“We’ve got some fantastic individuals in this team and together they make a formidable squad,” he said. “With the right mix of senior national team players guiding our Young Matildas, I believe we’ll more than just challenge this season.”
“Once we get everyone together, I am quietly confident that we will challenge strongly for the championship and put in all we can to achieve this.”
Sydney have retained 13 players from last season’s squad, meaning a high degree of familiarity and chemistry both on and off the pitch. This includes the dynamic front three of De Vanna, Foord, and Logarzo who were responsible for 12 of Sydney’s 29 goals in 2017-18.
The chemistry built up over the last few seasons at Sydney also extends beyond the W-League. Polias, Ralston, and Harrison have played together at Macarthur Rams for a number of years, while teenagers Hristodoulou, Ray, and Vignes were all regular starters for their NPL club, Football NSW Institute in 2018.