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Sydney FC youth flourishing under Stanton

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There's something in the water at Sydney FC's academy - or it could be the nous of youth coach Rob Stanton.

Since its launch in February, the academy has returned impressive results on the club's steep investment to feed the A-League squad with home-grown talent.

Key in its recruitment and execution has been Stanton, the man who's already taken his youth teams to a startling seven trophies and been named NPL 2 coach of the year for his efforts.

The Sky Blues completed the remarkable feat last weekend when their first-grade and under-20s NSW NPL 2 sides won their grand finals.

It's a sparkling CV for the former Marconi Stallions and Wollongong Wolves defender, headhunted from his coaching post at Sutherland Sharks.

But the goal hasn't been to win everything - that's been a welcome bonus.

The real end game is unearthing new stars to help lift coach Graham Arnold's side to A-League glory.

"At the end of the day, I get measured by how many players I get Graham to take," Stanton told AAP.

"We're on track to develop some really good players for Graham and the first team.

"We've created smart, intelligent players who have shown a winning mentality, which Graham has pointed out he's keen to have.

"Down the track, hopefully, we're going to find that special one.

"And the day a player who came in at under-13s level makes his A-League debut will be a very successful day for the academy."

Most of the young talent has been cherry-picked from Sydney, with the Manly and Sutherland areas proving most fertile.

A handful has come from interstate, like Canberra-born Young Socceroos defender and recent A-League signing George Timotheou and standout Queenslander Matthew Green.

Geography aside, Stanton picks the players he believes will best suit Sydney's A-League philosophy, which is modelled on Arnold's coaching style.

The 44-year-old has attended almost every one of Arnold's training sessions for the past year to study his methods and align his own approach.

Every under-20s and first-teams charge has trained with the A-League squad at least once.

Promising frontmen Charles Lokolingoy and Bai Antoniou are set to spend much of this season doing so.

The aim, eventually, is a seamless transition to Australia's top tier.

"They get to see where they want to be and they go back and work on it," Stanton said.

"They can see it and keep striving to reach it."


* National Youth League Conference B title

* National Youth League grand final - defeated Adelaide United 5-2

* NPL 2 league title

* NPL 2 grand final - defeated Western Sydney 4-1

* NPL 2 under-20 league title

* NPL 2 under-20 grand final - defeated Western Sydney 2-1

* NPL 2 club championship and promotion to NPL 1

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