Sydney FC appoint academy director

Sydney FC has appointed one of Australian football’s most successful producers of young talent to be the club’s new Academy Director.

Kelly Cross will take up the role shortly once his current job as the FFA’s Assistant National Technical Director is completed.

Cross comes to Sydney FC with a wealth of experience, having helped the likes of Harry Kewell, Brett Emerton and Jason Culina develop into Socceroos during his time as Head Coach of the NSW Institute of Sport and Football Director at Westfields Sports High School.

Cross also had a role to play in forging careers for a further 30 players in the national team and as professional footballers, including Archie Thompson, David Carney, Brett Holman and Luke Wilkshire.

Having also worked as the FFA’s Head of Coach Education between 2006 and 2013, he is credited with having increased the standard of Hyundai A-League coaching during that time, with the likes of Tony Popovic, Mike Mulvey, Phil Moss and Rado Vidosic all coming under his tuition.

“I am very excited by the challenge of producing the next generation of Sydney FC players,” Cross said.

“The club’s plans to develop Australia’s leading elite football academy are second to none and I’m looking forward to getting started.

“Sydney FC will lead the way in providing talented young players with an elite pathway to aspire to become professional footballers, and hopefully future Socceroos.”

Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata believes the appointment of Cross as Academy Director is a major coup for the club.

“Kelly has a proven track record of producing players of the highest quality and we are delighted to welcome him on board,” he said.

“Sydney FC’s Academy is one of the central pillars of our strategy moving forward and will only serve to deepen the relationship Sydney FC has with community football.”

Cross was heavily involved in developing FFA’s football philosophy and National Curriculum and he will have a key role in establishing and implementing Sydney FC’s long-term philosophy, playing style and youth training program.

His experience in educating and mentoring many of Australia’s top coaches will be valuable as he is keen to identify and train a team of first-class youth coaches who can bring the Sydney philosophy to life.

“To have secured someone with Kelly’s calibre and experience shows how crucial we believe this Academy to be. His knowledge of world football and overseas youth development is incredible and can only help bring about future long-term success for the club,” Pignata added.

FFA Head of National Performance Luke Casserly said: “FFA would like to thank Kelly Cross for the tremendous contribution to football over the last eight years, especially in relation to the implementation of key coach education programs and the National Football Curriculum. We wish him all the best in his new role at Sydney FC.”

Kelly Cross is Australia’s only FIFA Coaching Instructor and the country’s only Pro Licence Instructor.

He is also Deputy Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Asian Football Confederation and is a member of FIFA’s global list of Strategic Consultants.


Kelly Cross Career

2013 ‐ present – Assistant National Technical Director, Football Federation Australia.

2006 ‐ 2013 – Head of Coach Education, Football Federation Australia.

1997‐2006 – Head Coach, Men’s Football, NSW Institute of Sport.

1993 – 1997 – Head Coach and Football Program Director, Westfields Sports High School.


Additional Experience

Assistant Coach, Australia U‐17 1997‐2000, 2006 (FIFA World Cup Finalists, 1999)

NSW State Teams, U‐15s/U‐16s, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998 (3 Times Australian Champions)

Head Coach, First Team, various NSW Premier League/State League teams, 1987 ‐ 1992, 1996

• FIFA Coaching Instructor since 2007

• Member of FIFA’s global list of Strategic Consultants

• Member of FIFA Technical Study Group, U20 World Cup, Canada, 2007

Deputy Chairman, Technical Committee, Asian Football Confederation (2012 – present)

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