Sydney FC signs 17-year-old striker Chris Payne to complete U20 allocation


Payne has been playing in the TeleChoice Premier League with competition pace-setters Manly United and joins Nick Tsattalios and Adam Biddle as Sydney FC?s U20 players.
?This is a great opportunity for me,? Payne said. ?I have always wanted to play for Sydney FC and to sign for them is amazing. With the start of the Youth League I was hoping to get a contract for the youth team but to get this (a first team contract) is great.
?Sydney FC has put faith in me and given me the chance, now it?s up to me to take that opportunity. I can?t wait to start training with Sydney FC.?
In signing Payne to a two year contract, Sydney FC will allow the teenager to finish the current TeleChoice Premier League season with Manly United, while he finishes his Higher School Certificate.
The striker will train with Sydney FC on a part time basis until the start of August when he finishes his commitments with Manly United, where he has progressed through the youth team system since joining them from the Central Coast as a 14-year-old.
?Chris is an exciting talent who has been playing well in the TeleChoice Premier League in a team that is playing good football and getting results,? said Sydney FC coach John Kosmina. ?It is important at his age to continue to play games. It is also important that he finishes school and finishes the season for Manly so he will come to us full time in August.?
Payne?s development has also been helped by Socceroo Lucas Neill, who runs a scholarship program through Manly United. Last year Payne was the recipient of the Lucas Neill Scholarship and spent time at Blackburn and West Ham, at which time Neill took the teenage striker under his wing.
?That was a massive help for me,? Payne said. ?It gave me the chance to see what playing professionally was like and I learned so much during my time overseas.?
Payne?s arrival takes the Sydney FC squad to 20 players for the 2008/09 season.
The Sydney FC squad for 2008/09, as it stands, is: Clint Bolton, Iain Fyfe, Nik Tsattalios, Simon Colosimo, Mitchell Prentice, Tony Popovic, Robbie Middleby, Stuart Musialik, Steve Corica, Brendon Santalab, Alex Brosque, Terry McFlynn, Chris Payne, Jacob Timpano, Adam Casey, Mark Bridge, Ivan Necevski, Adam Biddle, Michael Enfield and John Aloisi.