FFA Centre of Excellence

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FFA Centre of Excellence
FFA Centre of Excellence.png
Full name FFA Centre of Excellence
Founded 1981
Ground Australian Institute of Sport
Technical Director Peter de Roo
Head Coach Tony Vidmar
League National Youth League
National Premier Leagues

The FFA Centre of Excellence (formerly the Australian Institute of Sport Football Program) is a football talent identification and player development program run by Football Federation Australia and is based at the Australian Institute of Sport, in Canberra. The Centre of Excellence runs this program for men: the program was one of the eight founding sports of the AIS in 1981.


The AIS soccer program is funded by the Australian Federal Government, through the Australian Sports Commission. In 2005–2006 this funding amounted to A$1,115,000.[1] Currently, 20 students per year are selected for an initial period of 12 months training and study, with the additional option of a second year. The men's program is residential, while the women's is training camp-based. Students are generally 15–17 years old when selected and the only compulsory requirement is that they have current, or pending, Australian citizenship.

The original stated aim of the men's program was

"To identify and develop players for the national under-20 youth team and to develop coaches through the Scholarship Coaching scheme".

National representation[edit]

Following the decision of several soccer graduates to represent other countries at a senior national level (e.g. Josip Simunic), the AIS implemented contracts whereby the cost of the scholarship will have to be repaid by any graduate that goes on to play soccer at a senior level representing a country other than Australia, in international competition.[2]

National Soccer League[edit]

The AIS fielded teams in the former National Soccer League's youth competition. Within that competition it was placed in the Northern Division. The AIS won three titles, in 1986, 1998 and 1999.

Victorian Premier League[edit]

The men's program had previously entered a team in the New South Wales Premier League competition in 2005. In 2007 the AIS entered a team into the Victorian Premier League. This would allow regular, weekly competitive matches that were lacking for previous scholarship holders.[3] As part of their inclusion as the only non-Victorian team in the VPL competition, all 'home' fixtures were played in Victoria for the 2007 season. The side struggled for consistency throughout the season, finishing 12th on the ladder, however great benefit was reportedly gained from the participation in a men's competition. In 2008 the men's program team continued to participate in the Victorian Premier League, improving from the previous year as the AIS finished 8th on the ladder. AIS home games were also played in Canberra, while some high-profile matches which includes the Round 21 match between the AIS and the Preston Lions FC was played in Country Victoria at Rumbalara Oval, Shepparton. This was designed to promote the competition and bring the top state league competition to new areas.

However the men's program team will cease to compete in the Victorian Premier League competition for 2009, as the AIS program will be designed to accommodate younger players, hence eliminating the need to compete in a senior men's competition.[4]

National Youth League[edit]

On 3 July 2009 it was announced the AIS would compete in the National Youth League.[5]

Current squad (2016)[edit]

The following 17 players from across Australia were selected for scholarships in 2016.[6]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Australia GK Matthew Sutton
2 Australia DF James Fletcher
3 Australia DF Patrick Scibilio
5 Australia DF Joel King
6 Australia MF Kai Trewin
7 Australia FW Jacob Italiano
8 Australia MF Eduardo Castaneda
9 Australia FW John Roberts
10 Australia MF Lachlan Brook
No. Position Player
11 Australia FW Mirza Muratovic
12 Australia GK Jordan Griffiths
15 Australia DF Luke Callen
17 Australia MF Louis D'Arrigo
19 Australia FW Mark Moric
20 Australia FW Bryce Bafford
21 Australia FW Melad Ahmad
22 Australia FW Jaidon Selden

Notable alumni[edit]

List of players with 10 caps or more for their country. Names in bold for players who represented their Country at a FIFA World Cup.

Name Club Position Years Current status Country International caps
Farina, FrankFrank Farina Fiji Fiji FW 1982–83 Coaching Australia 67
Spink, WarrenWarren Spink Australia Cooks Hill United FW 1983–84 Coaching Australia 38
Hooker, RobbieRobbie Hooker DF 1984–85 Retired Australia 22
Polak, JasonJason Polak MF 1985–87 Retired Australia 32
Trimboli, PaulPaul Trimboli Australia Melbourne Victory FW 1986 Manager Australia 46
van Blerk, JasonJason van Blerk Australia Central Coast Mariners Academy MF 1986 Coaching Australia 33
Foster, CraigCraig Foster MF 1986–87 Media Australia 29
Horvat, SteveSteve Horvat DF 1987–88 Retired Australia 32
Murphy, ShaunShaun Murphy DF 1988 Retired Australia 18
Zelić, NedNed Zelić DF 1988 Media Australia 34
Sorras, GeorgeGeorge Sorras FW 1989–90 Retired Australia 27
Edwards, AlistairAlistair Edwards Malaysia Real Mulia FW 1988 Coaching Australia 19
Corica, SteveSteve Corica Australia Sydney FC MF 1989–90 Coaching Australia 32
Muscat, KevinKevin Muscat Australia Melbourne Victory DF 1990–91 Coaching Australia 46
Moore, CraigCraig Moore Australia Coomera Colts DF 1992–93 Coaching Australia 52
Foxe, HaydenHayden Foxe Australia Western Sydney Wanderers DF 1993–94 Coaching Australia 11
Skoko, JosipJosip Skoko MF 1992–93 Retired Australia 51
Aloisi, JohnJohn Aloisi Australia Brisbane Roar FW 1992–93 Coaching Australia 55
Viduka, MarkMark Viduka FW 1992–93 Retired Australia 43
Neill, LucasLucas Neill DF 1994–95 Retired Australia 96
Šimunić, JosipJosip Šimunić DF 1995–96 Retired Croatia 105
Emerton, BrettBrett Emerton MF 1996 Retired Australia 95
Grella, VinceVince Grella MF 1996 Retired Australia 46
Colosimo, SimonSimon Colosimo DF 1996–97 Retired Australia 26
Šerić, AnthonyAnthony Šerić MF 1996–97 Retired Croatia 16
Sterjovski, MileMile Sterjovski MF 1996–98 Retired Australia 43
Bresciano, MarkMark Bresciano Unattached MF 1997 Playing Australia 84
Ergić, IvanIvan Ergić MF 1997–98 Retired Serbia 11
Wilkshire, LukeLuke Wilkshire Russia Dynamo Moscow MF 1997–98 Playing Australia 80
Kennedy, JoshuaJoshua Kennedy FW 1998–99 Retired Australia 36
North, JadeJade North Australia Brisbane Roar DF 1999 Playing Australia 41
Brosque, AlexAlex Brosque Australia Sydney FC FW 2001 Playing Australia 21
McKay, MattMatt McKay Australia Brisbane Roar MF 2001 Playing Australia 58
Valeri, CarlCarl Valeri Australia Melbourne Victory MF 2001–02 Playing Australia 52
Milligan, MarkMark Milligan United Arab Emirates Baniyas MF 2002 Playing Australia 46
Kruse, RobbieRobbie Kruse Germany Bayer Leverkusen FW 2005–06 Playing Australia 40
Rukavytsya, NikitaNikita Rukavytsya Israel Maccabi Haifa FW 2005–06 Playing Australia 13
Vidošić, DarioDario Vidošić China Liaoning Whowin MF 2006 Playing Australia 23
Spiranovic, MatthewMatthew Spiranovic China Hangzhou Greentown DF 2006 Playing Australia 30
Holland, JamesJames Holland Germany MSV Duisburg MF 2006–07 Playing Australia 15
Burns, NathanNathan Burns Japan F.C. Tokyo FW 2006 Playing Australia 20
Sainsbury, TrentTrent Sainsbury China Jiangsu Suning DF 2009–10 Playing Australia 14


  1. ^ Net loss: let games begin, SMH, 1 July 2006
  2. ^ Croatia warned away from 'kindie', Daily Telegraph, 13 January 2006
  3. ^ AIS get VPL spot, The World Game, 21 November 2006
  4. ^ "Withdrawal of the AIS" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  5. ^ AIS Join The National Youth League
  6. ^ "Talented youngsters chosen for FFA's Centre of Excellence". Football Federation Australia. 9 February 2016. 

External links[edit]