SYDNEY FC will hit the road this month as they play eight matches against State League sides at local grounds in the first stage of a pre-season workout.
Sydney FC will play matches in Campbelltown, Bankstown, Penrith, Asquith, Manly, Edensor Park and Sutherland with all money raised from nominal entry fees to be put straight back into the football community through the relevant State League clubs and local Associations.
The eight-match "road trip" is an extension of last year's pre season that saw Sydney FC play three matches against State League opposition but coach Vitezslav Lavicka's thirst for more pre season matches mirrors Sydney FC's desire to take the game to the people of Sydney.
The result is clashes against State League sides Macarthur Rams, Bankstown City FC, Penrith Nepean United, Northern Tigers, Manly United, Sydney United and Sutherland with one final clash to be determined.
The first match will be against the Macarthur Rams at Lynwood Park, St Helens Park in Sydney's south-west on Wednesday 13 May with more than 1,000 tickets already pre-purchased for that match.
"I want to play as many games as possible so we can start to play together," said Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka. "I have a good feeling after the start of training and with the players. We also need to play games, many games.
"We will start with games with local teams to build little by little and then after we will play some tougher games. I am happy with these games. It will help us be ready for the first A-League game."
Lavicka's willingness to embrace Sydney FC's desire to connect with the Sydney football community has also pleased Sydney FC CEO Stefan Kamasz.
"Last year we started this initiative with games against Blacktown, Sutherland and Manly at their grounds around Sydney and we had great crowds at those games," Kamasz said. "This is an extension of our desire to embrace the wider football community.
"Sydney FC has stated we are serious in continuing to increase what we do with the community and I think this schedule, and the initiatives that will take place at all eight matches, proves we are willing to back up our intentions with actions.
"This schedule allows Vitja (Lavicka) to play some important pre season games, allows Sydney FC to take the stars to the fans at suburban grounds and also allows young State League players to test themselves against A-League opposition."
As well as playing games against State League sides, members of the Sydney FC coaching staff will also spend time with young players and coaches at each club before and during the match to help pass on valuable knowledge.
"Sydney FC wans to do more than just show up, play the game and help raise some money for local football so we will be putting on some coaching sessions for the elite Youth League players and 'coach the coaches' sessions with the Youth League coaches.
"The feedback we have received from clubs and Football NSW tells us we can offer a great service to the local football fraternity by passing on knowledge from our coaching staff and it is an important part of what we are trying to achieve over these eight weeks."
Sydney FC's pre season match schedule against State League opposition is:
Wed 13 May Macarthur Rams Lynwood Park (St Helens Park) 7.30pm
Wed 20 May Bankstown City Jensen Park (Sefton) 7.30pm
Wed 3 June Northern Tigers Mills Park (Asquith) 7.30pm
Tue 9 June Penrith Nepean United Venue T.B.C. 7.00pm
Tue 16 June Manly United Cromer Park (Dee Why) 7.00pm
Wed 24 June Sydney United Syd Utd Sports Centre (Edensor Park) 7.30pm
Wed 1 July Sutherland Sharks Seymour Shaw Park (Miranda) 7.30pm
At the end of the matches against State League opposition, Sydney FC will step up the intensity with matches against Hyundai A-League sides North Queensland and Newcastle as well as the possibility of playing two international teams before the start of the Hyundai A-League season on 8 August.