Southern Expansion commit to free academy

Former Socceroos midfielder Craig Foster has claimed Southern Expansion will "expand" the vision of football in Australia, not just the number of teams in the A-League and W-League.

Speaking to more than 50 state MPs, local councillors and key stakeholders at NSW Parliament on Wednesday, Foster outlined how the expansion bid for the southern Sydney and the state's south coast would benefit the region through football.

Southern Expansion's vision enticed Foster

With the A-League into its second decade, Southern Expansion's Head of Football argued it was time for Australian football to dream big.

"It's not just about expanding the number of teams but expanding the vision of the game," he said.

Foster, who has become the public face of Southern Expansion alongside long-time colleague Les Murray, explained that their bid - which is funded by Chinese property mogul Shen Yuxing - is "committed… to the first free football academy for girls and boys in the country".

In a wide-ranging presentation, Foster insisted Southern Expansion's prospective A-League and W-League teams will only succeed if significant investment is made in its three member associations - St George Football Association, Sutherland Shire Football Association and Football South Coast.

Murray, Foster front southern Sydney A-League bid

"So many of the Matildas and the Socceroos, of course, now and historically come from this region," he said.

"This is one of the greatest talent bases in the country, as yet without their own professional club pathway.

"That's what we're here for. We want to take these kids to the top of the game."

Craig Foster 19082014

Craig Foster

Southern Expansion was officially unveiled as an expansion aspirant earlier this month, with Foster and Murray - who make up the bid's steering committee alongside former NSW PCYC CEO Chris Gardiner - insisting they want to be involved in the A-League and W-League.

Foster reiterated the bid's commitment to women's football, while also claiming that they would be Australia's "first professional football club to have the means and the ambition to have our own purpose-built football stadium".

Bids in Tasmania and Geelong are also planning new stadiums.

FFA target new A-League model ahead of expansion

The 47-year-old, who is a self-professed "zealot" of Australian football, explained Southern Expansion would benefit its member associations by helping improve football facilities for all levels of the game.

"We need them to be strong for us to be strong. So we're saying to our associations 'we'll support you at state government, local council and federal government level for your funding support. We want you to have major facilities'," Foster said.

"We want the best facilities across this region of any region in the country."

MORE: Victoria Patriots press on with Geelong stadium plans | 'We are ready' - South Melbourne hopeful FFA won't delay A-League expansion | Groundhog Day at FFA as Australian football stagnates

Football Federation Australia has declared A-League expansion won't happen until at least the 2018-19 season.


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