A-League: Jake Girdwood-Reich leaving Sydney for USA

Sydney FC have sold emerging star Jake Girdwood-Reich to US Major League Soccer side St Louis City for a record fee of $1.3 million.

Girdwood-Reich, 20, joined Sydney’s academy as a 12-year-old and made his senior debut for the club in an Australian Cup clash against Central Coast in July 2022.

The Australian Under-23 representative, who can play as either a defender or midfielder, has made 45 appearances in all competitions for the Sky Blues.

“I love this club,” Girdwood-Reich said.

“I started here when I was 12, so I’m sad and very excited to be leaving, but incredibly grateful for what Sydney FC has done for me over the last eight years.

“My dream has always been to go through the Sydney FC academy, play regularly in the A-League and then try my hand overseas.

“The education I have had here has prepared me for this and will help me tremendously in my football journey.”

Girdwood-Reich said he had “always wanted” to play in the United States and was excited by the prospect of pitting himself against the likes of Inter Miami star duo Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

“When this opportunity came up, it really caught my attention,” he said.

“St Louis is a new club, they have a clear and exciting philosophy that I can learn from and I hope to show what I can do.

“Just having the chance to play against football greats like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez excites me.”

Sky Blues coach Ufuk Talay said Girdwood-Reich deserved the chance to continue his career abroad.

“It’s proof that Australia’s best young talent will get an opportunity at Sydney FC and potentially pave the way to a career overseas, Talay said.

“His development from the age of 12 is a huge credit to the Sydney FC academy which has created the best elite pathways into professional sport.”

Girdwood-Reich will be available to play for his new club after the MLS secondary transfer window opens on July 18.

His departure comes hot on the heels of the Sky Blues’ announcement that captain Luke Brattan would be leaving the club after five years’ service.

The 34-year-old midfielder, who has made 119 appearances in all competitions for the Sydneysiders, will join Macarthur FC, with the Bulls making an announcement this week.

“All good things come to an end and I wish everyone here much success in the future,” Brattan said.

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