Football Australia confirm eight foundation clubs for National Second Tier

Football Australia has officially announced the eight foundation clubs for the inaugural National Second Tier (NST) set to commence in March/April of 2025.

The founding clubs include five teams from New South Wales and three from Victoria, chosen by FA following multiple phases of the application process that began in early 2023.

FA has confirmed the intent to select an additional two-to-four clubs through a refined application process, with two competition formats under consideration for the inaugural season: a 10-team competition with two rounds plus a finals series, and a 12-team competition with two rounds plus a finals series.


  • APIA Leichhardt FC (NSW)
  • Avondale FC (VIC)
  • Marconi Stallions FC (NSW)
  • Preston Lions FC (VIC)
  • South Melbourne FC (VIC)
  • Sydney Olympic FC (NSW)
  • Sydney United 58 FC (NSW)
  • Wollongong Wolves FC (NSW)

Football Australia CEO James Johnson said: “The establishment of the National Second Tier is a transformative step for Australian football, aligning perfectly with our 15-year strategic vision outlined in the XI Principles.

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“It symbolises our commitment to reconnecting the football pyramid and enhancing the competitiveness of our national game.

“Each club demonstrated not only their readiness in terms of operational and commercial elements but also their alignment with the strategic objectives of Australian football.

“This is more than just a competition; it’s a cornerstone in our mission to fortify the foundations of our sport. The National Second Tier will be instrumental in nurturing talent, engaging communities, and elevating the overall quality of football across the country.”

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After revealing the eight founding clubs, FA will now turn attention to finalising the application process for the additional clubs in 2024 over the coming months.

FA has revealed a launch event is planned for early 2024, with the development of the NST’s brand underway.

“A new era kicks off in 2025,” Johnson said.

“Join us as these clubs carve their paths in the annals of Australian football history. Football Australia stands united for the game and ready for the future.”

Read more about the eight founding clubs

Supplied by Football Australia

APIA Leichhardt FCEstablished in 1954. From the vibrant community of Leichhardt in Sydney’s inner west, APIA Leichardt Tigers FC brings a rich heritage and a fervent fanbase to the NST.
Avondale FCRepresenting one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, Victoria’s Avondale FC steps into the NST ready to make its mark with home grown talent and ambition to match.
Marconi Stallions FCProudly supported by a membership base of over 36,000. A club synonymous with legacy and achievement, Marconi Stallions FC from Fairfield in Sydney’s outer west has produced 75 Socceroos including 6 former captains.
Preston Lions FCEstablished in 1947. With a passionate following and a progressive culture, Preston Lions FC from Victoria’s northern suburbs is poised to add a new chapter to its illustrious history.
South Melbourne FCGlobally recognised as Oceania Club of the Century. A club with a deep-rooted legacy and strong commercial base, South Melbourne FC stands ready to extend its influence into this new era.
Sydney Olympic FCEstablished in 1957. Representing the spirit of competition and sportsmanship, Sydney Olympic FC enters the NST supported by strong community programs and partnerships.
Sydney United 58 FCAustralia Cup 2022 Runner Up. A beacon of Sydney’s south-western suburbs, Sydney United 58 FC has a proven track record developing talent including 60 players who have represented the Socceroos.
Wollongong Wolves FCEstablished in 1980. Embodied by the resilience and strength of its region, Wollongong Wolves FC represents a territory comprised of over 20,000 players across 108 clubs.