A-League club Sydney FC has moved to shore up its link to the rich football production line that's seen South Coast players Corey Gameiro, Matt Jurman and Pedj Boijic don the sky blue in recent years.
Sydney brought an A-League friendly to WIN Stadium last month in an effort to win the hearts and minds of Wollongong fans without a club to cheer for.
Now they've entered into a formal agreement with Football South Coast that will deepen Sydney FC's ties to the region.
The South Coast Wolves and Illawarra Stingrays are also parties to the agreement that will see Sydney FC hold yearly open trials and community matches in Wollongong.
They will also conduct coaching seminars with Wolves and Stingrays coaches during the season.
FSC chief executive Ann-Marie Balliana said South Coast juniors would now have a clear pathway to the A-League and W-League in the absence of a local team.
"We have very good development programs for boys and girls. They progress to our skills acquisition then into the South Coast Wolves or the Illawarra Stingrays and that's our highest level of representation right now," Balliana said.
"Obviously, the key gap we have is [the lack of] an A-League or W-League team, so what we wanted to do was to have a complete pathway for our boys and girls.
"This formalises it [pathway] and hopefully young kids realise that, no, we don't have an A-League team, but there's still a very good opportunity to be seen by an A-League club like Sydney FC.
"Our kids deserve every opportunity to progress to the he highest level and this is going to nurture that."
Sydney FC community football officer Paul Reid - who played for the Wolves when they won back-to-back NSL titles in 2000-2001 - said the club had long regarded the region as a strong football nursery.
"We know that Football South Coast produced a lot of good quality players and a lot have actually played for Sydney FC. People probably don't realise but there's the likes of Sasho Petrovski and Alvin Ceccoli and now in the squad you've got guys like Corey Gameiro and Pedj Boijic," he said.