‘Breakout year’ on the horizon for Australia Cup hero after penning extension with boyhood club

Sydney FC young gun Jaiden Kucharski has extended his contract for another season, after a blistering start to the 2023-24 campaign with the Sky Blues.

Kucharski enamoured himself with the Sky Blues faithful after scoring a brilliant solo goal in the dying embers of their Round of 32 Australia Cup tie with the Central Coast Mariners to send the game to penalties.

The 21-year-old went on to score their third penalty en route to a 10-9 victory on spot kicks, which booked their place in the Round of 16 against recently crowned NPL New South Wales champions APIA Leichhardt Tigers.

Kucharski – who grew up a Sydney FC fan – said he was buzzing to extend his stay at the club until the end of the 2024-25 season, meaning his current scholarship contract will roll into a professional one at the end of this season.

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“This means a lot to me,” he said. “When I was young, Dad was a big football fanatic and we went straight into The Cove.

“The Capos gave us some flags as young kids and really got us involved. It drove me to wanting to support the team.

“To get my first professional contract this year is great, after 14 years of supporting the club and I’m very excited.”

The attacker made his senior league debut last season, making 14 appearances and tallying one assist.

Kucharski played largely as a substitute behind the likes of Robert Mak, Joe Lolley and Adrian Segecic but is hoping to carry over a strong pre-season into competitive fixtures now that their campaign is underway.

“I want to get as many goal contributions as I can,” he said.

“I got my debut last season against Macarthur. I got that assist and then kind of slowed down towards the end of the season.

“I started off my first game this season with a goal, so if I can just start building from that, get goals and assists, even if they’re not a goals and assists just being in that forward pack, try and make quick chances around the box and try and provide for the team.”

Coach Steve Corica is confident this could be a breakout season for the Sky Blues youngster.

“Jaiden was unfortunate with some injuries last year but we all saw what he is capable of doing in the cup match with Central Coast Mariners,” he said.

“He can play as a winger or as a central striker and he is the type of player you’d pay for a membership to watch.

“I’m confident this year can be a breakout year for him if he works hard and continues to learn.”

His focus for now is on the aforementioned tie against APIA who secured NPL NSW’s biggest prize on Sunday afternoon after a quality season locally.

Kucharski believes he and his teammates need to be at their absolute best to defeat a “raring to go” Tigers outfit.

“They’ve got no more games. They can really just focus on the Australia Cup now, so if they want to do well, they will,” he said.

“They’re a quality side. Last year they didn’t have the best season. They were still competing, but his year they were out the front from the start, so they’re going to be really competitive.

“We’ve got to treat them as any other team like any team, any other A-League team. Anyone that’s going to come want to win because like I said, they’ve got no more games coming. This is what they’re focusing on.”

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