Iconic Sydney FC duo Cortnee Vine and Charlotte McLean depart Sky Blues for NWSL: Full details

Sydney FC have announced star duo Cortnee Vine and Charlotte McLean have played their final games for the club, with both players taking up opportunities overseas after four trophy-laden years in Sky Blue.

Fresh off capturing a third Liberty A-League Championship Vine and McLean will now depart the Harbour City in favour of a move to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the United States, with their final destination to be revealed in due course.

“The last four years at Sydney FC have had a life-changing impact on me and I’m extremely thankful to everyone at the club,” said 26-year-old Vine after her departure was confirmed.

“Sydney FC has given me the platform to achieve my goals, enjoy a lot of success and move on to the next stage of my career.

“I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities I’ve had as a Sydney FC player and one day I would love to return to Sky Blue.

“We have a fantastic squad and some unbelievably talented young players, so I’m convinced the club is in good shape to defend our title.”

Matildas icon Vine’s final hurrah in Sky Blue saw her add a second Liberty A-League Championship medal to her trophy cabinet – which already houses three Premiership medals – with the forward enjoying her most productive ever season on the pitch, scoring 10 goals whilst registering six assists.

VINE DOWN THE YEARS: The end of ‘Vine Time’ at Sydney FC: The four trophy-laden seasons that forged an Aussie icon

The 26-year-old leaves Sydney FC having played 65 times for the club and scoring 30 goals, all of which helped her gain national team recognition, with all 28 of her Matildas caps coming whilst representing the Sky Blues.

While Vine’s absence in attack will no doubt be felt, head coach Ante Juric will also now have to plug an enormous hole in the heart of his defence following the departure of defensive rock McLean.

The 24-year-old defender shone throughout the 2023-24 campaign for the Sky Blues and played a pivotal role in a backline shorn of injured club captain Nat Tobin, with her performances ultimately leading to her being named Sydney FC’s Player of the Year.

“I will never forget the experience and development I’ve undergone at Sydney FC,” said McLean when discussing her departure.

BIG BOOST: Sky Blues’ history-maker out to prolong ‘dynasty’ after inking contract extension

“It has been a wonderful and incredibly successful last four seasons, built on a winning mentality and a fantastic team culture.

“Sydney FC has given me the chance to fulfill many of my sporting dreams and helped open a pathway to my next challenge.

“I’d like to thank everyone at the club, particularly Ante [Juric], our coaching staff and my team-mates for their fabulous support.”

A two-time PFA Team of the Season representative, McLean leaves Sydney FC having featured in every single game of the 2023-24 season, taking her overall tally to 74 appearances at the club.

Reflecting on the departure of both stars, head coach Ante Juric concedes it’s a big blow to lose two players of Vine and McLean’s calibre, however the future is certainly still bright.

“It is sad to see Charlotte and Cortnee leave the club,” said head coach Ante Juric, who himself just signed a new one-year contract extension.

“But I am extremely proud of them and wish them all the best in the USA. They are excellent players and more importantly great people. I will miss them.

“They have been fantastic for Sydney FC and have both made important contributions to our success.

“They have always worn the shirt with pride and given everything, which is truly special and our Members will remember that.

“When Charlotte and Cortnee came to Sydney FC no one really knew much about them or spoke of them as superstars. 

“As a club, we are proud of helping them emerge as genuine stars of our game, by providing them with an environment to grow, flourish, and shine.

“We are very confident of unearthing and developing the next stars of Sydney FC and Australian football and have young players at the club who will now have their opportunity to step up and fill this void. 

“It’s something Sydney FC has done very well in recent years, successfully replacing big players such as Logarzo, Foord, Kennedy, Polias, Wheeler, De Vanna, Siemsen Green, Hunter and Rule with new talent. The future is always exciting.”

2024-25 TRANSFER CENTRE: Your club’s ins & outs