Kyle Shaw returns home as part of NWSF’s pathway

NWS Spirit FC NSWNPL Men’s Photoshoot (Photo by Damian Briggs/Speed Media)

The developmental pathway for young football players in Australia has been a topic that has gained a significant amount of attention in the last couple of years. With the recent success of the Socceroos at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the unique pathway that each individual player has taken in their young footballing journey has been brought to light. The highs, the lows, the injuries, the rejections, the personal setbacks; these players had been through the whole 9-yards, all of which led them to wearing the green and gold in the most prestigious sporting tournament of them all. Developmental pathways such as the NWSF pathway help players reach their full potential, while also allowing them to learn and grow, enabling them to be good footballers on the pitch, and good people off it.

Since its formation in 1952, NWSF and Spirit FC have paved the way for young footballers of all ages to develop their footballing skills, with many players going on to become successful, both in and out of Australia. The ‘NWSF Pathway’ has allowed for talented young footballers in the North-West Sydney area to rise through the ranks in their respective footballing journey’s, starting from SAP in under 9’s, all the way till the Spirit First Grade NPL team. The NWSF pathway also aims to develop players for professional A-Leagues and national team events. This is enhanced by partnerships with Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers, with players progressing from Spirit FC to these programs year in year out.

Spirit first grade defender, Kyle Shaw, is an example of a player who has progressed through the NWSF pathway. Similar to many players in the Australian system, Kyle’s football journey started at a young age playing for local clubs Holy Cross and North Ryde at a grass-roots level. Inspired by the gritty and tenacious playing style of Sergio Ramos, Kyle’s talent and flair was picked up by a scout, earning him a place at NWSF’s SAP scheme, a program which runs from under 9’s to under 12’s that provides the first step in the NWSF pathway. Offered for both boys and girls, the SAP program focuses on the development of game-related functional skills, while also engaging players to develop their technical skills in a fun, friendly and educational learning environment.

This exposure enabled Kyle to take the next step in his footballing journey, after being scouted by one of Australia’s biggest clubs, Sydney FC. A great environment that enabled Kyle to “experience the highs and lows of football,” his time at Sydney FC was one that assisted in his growth both as a football player, and as a person, with the club’s promotion of morals such as “the only way is forward,” helping Kyle to be his best self both on and off the pitch. Now older, more mature, and carrying an abundance of experience thanks to his time at Sydney FC, Kyle now finds himself back as part of Spirit’s first grade squad.

At only 18, Kyle remains ambitious about his future, with the young defender looking to make his name in Spirit’s first grade team this year, something that he has dreamed of ever since he joined the club as a young boy. To Kyle, and to most other players within the NSFW system, Spirit is not just a football club, but a family. From his early days at SAP, to his current time in the reserve grade squad, NSFW’s sense of community has been a feeling that has never withered, with it being a key factor in contributing to his return to Spirit.

While the possibilities are limitless for young players like Kyle, there is still a lot more work to be done to achieve greatness, and with Spirit’s recent promotion into NP1, these players present a bright and optimistic future for both Spirit, and Australian football as a whole.

By Renesh Krishnan
Renesh Krishnan is an aspiring football journalist at NWSF who currently studies a Bachelor of Media and Communications at Macquarie University. Playing for NWSF club, West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook Lions FC, since under 5’s, Renesh and his family have been a part of the NWSF community since 2009. With a passion for creative writing, public speaking, and all things football, Renesh looks to tell the unique stories and journeys of everyone at NWSF, helping bring the community closer together.

Connect with Renesh on Instagram / Twitter / email


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