NEWS: Central Coast Mariners announce Northbridge FC partnership


Central Coast Mariners today announced an historic agreement with Northbridge FC, Australia’s largest community football club, to establish a youth development academy on Sydney’s North Shore.

The Mariners will substantially extend their youth development footprint to jointly set up the North Shore Mariners Academy, which will be based at Northbridge FC.

Mr Michael Charlesworth, Mariners Chairman and Owner said: “Today marks the beginning of a vision we share with Northbridge FC to bring excellence and accessibility to youth football development at the highest level to young people across northern Sydney.”

“Our goal is to be in the top 100 development clubs in the world by the next FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018. The partnership with Northbridge FC is the kick-start of a revitalised program. It has included us setting up a state-wide scouting network, plus appointing a Head of Youth Football (Stu Jacobs) and Head of Junior Development (Rui Tomé).”

The latest move by the yellow and navy will create a strong presence for the North Shore Mariners Academy in the extensive player growth areas of northern Sydney from early 2015. It will allow Central Coast Mariners to directly impart the Club’s junior development philosophy on greater numbers of male and female players, influence their progression as footballers, and expand the club’s brand across the region.

The North Shore Mariners Academy will be administered by Northbridge FC, and will provide kids from Skills Acquisition Program (SAP) through to senior ranks in men’s and women’s competitions the opportunity to represent the 2013 Hyundai A-League Champions.

Mr Rory Grace, President of the Northbridge FC, said: “This is an amazing opportunity that will provide youth from across the North Shore with access to the best coaches in Australia. It will also create an unmatched pathway to high-performance football and a great opportunity to further educate our own coaches.”

The Mariners will place a strong emphasis on coach education in the program. Indeed, the mentors selected to oversee the North Shore Mariners Academy will be trained in the club’s coaching style and philosophy, based on Football Federation Australia’s national curriculum. 

“The announcement of the North Shore Mariners Academy is the first of three fresh youth development agreements we are likely to unveil in coming weeks, Mr Charlesworth added. “Our club has long held an association with Western NSW Football, and we believe we will be able to share news of a new youth development agreement with them shortly.” 

“We are also in discussions with Central Coast Football, and particular their Football Manager, Ken Schembri, regarding how we can best work together to influence their academy pathway for the benefit of all footballers on the Central Coast. As with Northbridge FC and Western NSW Football, we believe we will be able to detail positive news on that front soon. It is, of course, imperative that the Mariners continue to have a big and positive influence on junior development on the Central Coast,” he said. 

Central Coast Mariners have been widely lauded within the Hyundai A-League community as the club that shows a genuine commitment to developing Australia’s best young talent. Mr Charlesworth expects this reputation to be enhanced by these latest developments.

“Our record of transitioning talented youth from the Foxtel National Youth League level to the Hyundai A-League and beyond is second to none. We believe the youth developments we are announcing will keep us at the forefront of this field for many years to come,” Charlesworth concluded. 

On the North Shore Mariners Academy, Central Coast Mariners Head of Youth Football, Stu Jacobs, said: “We are delighted to have Northbridge FC as part of our youth and junior development structure. Our aim as an organisation is to produce the best young footballers in Australia. To now include Northbridge FC within our programs will enhance this. It will give our technical staff the opportunity to work with and develop some of the best young footballers within North Sydney which we believe will complement the quality we are producing on the Central Coast.” 

The Club’s collaboration with Northbridge FC, in addition to planned formal development agreements with Central Coast Football and Western NSW Football, would mean that the Mariners would be able to draw from approximately 75,000 registered male and female footballers in its catchment areas. 

As such, the prospects for the Club to not only recruit some of the state’s best talent for its high-level pathways, but also increase its fan base, membership levels and promote interest in the club and the Hyundai A-League is considerable.  

Northbridge FC is recognised as a model Football Federation Australia club, building the future through youth development and community connection. Their ultimate objective is to play a leading role in the youth development in Australian football through assisting its players to develop skills, technique and game awareness so they have the ability to achieve their full potential, and ultimately represent Australia’s senior national teams.