Kicking goals: (L to R) Scott Barlow, Sydney FC Chairman; Tony Sukkar, Buildcorp Chairman; Professor Rorden Wilkinson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic); Steve Kamper, NSW Minister for Sport; Nicole Gower, U@MQ Director; Robin Payne, U@MQ Chair; and Pete Boyle, U@MQ Chief Executive Officer, at the launch of Sydney FC’s Centre of Excellence.
Macquarie University is the new home of Sydney FC following the unveiling of the football club’s new $30 million Centre of Excellence.
The world-class precinct, located within the Macquarie University Sports Fields, is now home to the Sky Blues’ professional football teams, its youth academy, and all coaching and administrative staff.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Rorden Wilkinson was among the University cohort to join NSW Minister for Sport Steve Kamper, Sydney FC Chairman Scott Barlow, as well as players and staff, for the opening ceremony this month.
“We are delighted to see this vision come to fruition for Sydney FC on our wonderful campus,” Professor Wilkinson said.
“The new facility is truly first class and the club’s commitment to improving career pathways for its men and women, as well as its youth academy members, is a good fit with the University ethos.
“We look forward to further strengthening our relationship with Sydney FC through new and existing collaborations.”
Macquarie University Sports Fields was the obvious choice for Sydney FC’s home base. The club has used Macquarie University as a training base for almost 20 years and has become a beloved part of the University community. The new facility, which includes high-tech training spaces, medical facilities, changerooms, recovery amenities and purpose-built office space, gives the club a much-needed centralised hub.
As well as bringing all departments together for the first time in the club’s history, the new facility, which the club has named Sky Park, will also allow Sydney FC to create an elite female development squad as a pathway to its A-League Women’s squad. It is a timely move on the back of the unprecedented success of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Mr Barlow said the precinct is a space of which the club and its supporters can be “very proud”.
“Sky Park will … provide our club with the opportunity to expand our many grassroots programs to have an even greater positive and lasting impact on the community,” he said.
“I’d like to thank the NSW Government and Macquarie University for their support over the course of this project and their recognition of the significant positive impact our club is having across Sydney’s football community.”
The Centre of Excellence was partially funded by the NSW Government.
Mr Kamper said: “The state-of-the-art [facility] will provide a world-class high-performance training and community facility that will improve male and female academy and pathway development and strengthen the club’s connection with its passionate fans.
“The NSW Government is committed to breaking down barriers in women’s sport, and Sky Park features dedicated female facilities that will produce more Matildas to do us proud on the world stage, just like the ones wearing the green and gold at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.”
Meanwhile, a synthetic field is under construction on the Macquarie University Sports Fields’ Northern Oval, replacing the natural grass field to provide an all-weather training and playing facility. Comprising two football fields and an AFL oval, the multi-purpose space will be available to existing users of the precinct as well as the wider public.
Construction is scheduled to be completed in November. Bookings can be made via firstname.lastname@example.org. The sports fields will continue to be owned and operated by Macquarie University.