Defender Aaron Calver says a change in team culture, along with the impact of coach Graham Arnold and several new players, has helped fuel Sydney FC’s successful 2014-2015 season.
The Sky Blues are in second spot with one round left in the regular A-League season and face Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand on Sunday.
A win or a draw will be enough to confirm a home semi-final and a spot in next year’s Asian Champions League for the club.
It’s been an impressive first campaign for Arnold, who took over from sacked coach Frank Farina in May last year.
Sydney FC finished seventh in 2012-2013, Calver’s first season for the club, and then fifth last year when they were eliminated in the first match of the finals.
Calver praised the impact of Arnold and new arrivals such as Alex Brosque and Marc Janko.
“I think it’s been a bit of both, and I think the team culture,” he explained to FourFourTwo of the impressive turnaround.
“There’s a good team feel about the club this year. Everyone’s confident in each other and knows that we can definitely get the job done when we need to.”
Calver recently re-signed with the Sky Blues for another two years.
The 19-year old, who broke into the first-team at just 16 – Sydney FC’s youngest debutant after Terry Antonis – didn’t consider leaving the club.
“I’ve had a few years in the youth team, and now it’s good to make the step up and hopefully I can just progress from here on in,” Calver said.
“I’m happy to be at Sydney because I think it’s one of the best clubs in the league for promoting youth, especially with Arnie here now.”
A Wollongong Wolves and NSWIS product, Calver has made eight appearances at centre back and right back this season and said Arnold is pleased with his progression.
“It’s been really good,” he said. “I managed to have six or seven games in a row and I was able to prove that I can play different positions as well if he needs me.
“I don’t really mind (where I play) at the moment. I do prefer centre back, but there’s not much difference between the two.
“We worked a bit at the start just a bit on body shape and stuff like that. Apart from that Arnie’s been pretty happy I think.”
Sydney FC face the Phoenix with just one point separating them on the ladder. The last time the two clubs met at Wellington Stadium, the Sky Blues recorded an impressive 3-0 victory.
“It’ll definitely be hard over there, they’re at home and they’re in form as well,” Calver admitted.
“But if we stick to our normal game we shouldn’t have any troubles. If we can do that (3-0) again, that’d be nice. It’d be great experience to have a home major semi. We’d get a lot of members turn up at the game and I’ve got no doubt we could get to the grand final.”comments