A-League All Stars in Wollongong camp


Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero.

Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero.

The A-League All Stars, featuring Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero, will set up camp in Wollongong before their blockbuster clash with European giants Juventus next month, in a massive coup for the region.

The Mercury can reveal WIN Stadium will be unveiled on Thursday as the host venue for a six-day camp ahead of the All Stars' one-off match at ANZ Stadium on August 10.

Del Piero will be part of a yet to be finalised 20-man squad which will arrive on August 1 and play a friendly against the Young Socceroos on Tuesday, August 5.

The visit will also include a free fan day before the South Coast Wolves NSW National Premier League fixture against St George on August 3.

As Football South Coast continue a bold push to be part of any expansion of the A-League, Wollongong received a further boost, Sydney FC to take on the Newcastle Jets at WIN Stadium on January 3.

The news comes less than a week after the Wolves landed a home tie against A-League powerhouse Central Coast Mariners in the inaugural FFA Cup Round of 32, to be played on August 20.

Football South Coast CEO Ann-Marie Balliana declared it was another massive endorsement of the region's future A-League prospects.

"This is huge for football here given that we are talking about a training camp before a historic match against Juventus. It is a huge honour for football here to be having the best in the A-League on our doorstep," Balliana said.

"A big part of this training camp will be engaging with the football family. We will look at engaging every single member of our football family, whether it be players, volunteers or our clubs that make it possible week in, week out.

"We want to use this as a celebration for football in the region, especially the rich history we do have with football here."

WIN Stadium has previously hosted A-League preseason, W-League, Matildas and Young Socceroos fixtures and Football South Coast has been locked in negotiations for the All Stars camp and Sydney FC game for the past two months.

"We know the South Coast has always been on the radar of the FFA for either W-League or A-League," Balliana said.

"I think the FFA has learnt some pretty good lessons from A-League teams that haven't quite worked out as planned.

"There is no doubt in my mind that they have a plan.

"They know how they want to approach an A-League expansion and obviously we hope the South Coast will be part of that in some way, shape or form."

The All-Stars - who will be coached by Adelaide United boss Josep Gombau - have a healthy 32-player preliminary squad which will be whittled down to a final 16 through fan voting before Gombau adds another four 'wildcard' selections.

The squad features a list of high-profile players including several Socceroos from the 2014 World Cup campaign.

"It is a huge opportunity for us to celebrate the success the Socceroos did have at the World Cup in the way that they performed," Balliana said.

"It is going to be a great thing for the kids in particular to have access to our Socceroos' heroes."


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