Football Australia has officially named the eight foundation clubs to take part in the inaugural National Second Tier (NST) competition from March/April 2025.
The eight clubs match Football Australia’s criteria from a comprehensive process that determined if the clubs were ready to compete in the NST competition, with proposals from each team outlining the role they’ll play for this important step in Australian football.
The inaugural clubs are all based in eastern states, with New South Wales and Victoria boasting five and three teams respectively.
- APIA Leichhardt FC – Leichhardt, New South Wales
- Avondale FC – Parkville, Victoria
- Marconi Stallions FC – Bossley Park, New South Wales
- Preston Lions FC – Reservoir, Victoria
- South Melbourne FC – Albert Park, Victoria
- Sydney Olympic FC – Belmore, New South Wales
- Sydney United 58 FC – Edensor Park, New South Wales
- Wollongong Wolves FC – Wollongong, New South Wales
In a statement to media present in Sydney, Football Australia CEO James Johnson shared his delight for today’s confirmation.
“The establishment of the National Second Tier is a transformative step for Australian football, aligning perfectly with our 15-year strategic vision outlined in the XI Principles. It symbolises our commitment to reconnecting the football pyramid and enhancing the competitiveness of our national game,” he said.
“These clubs were chosen following a comprehensive and multi-phased NST Application Process that began in early 2023.
“Each club demonstrated not only their readiness in terms of operational and commercial elements but also their alignment with the strategic objectives of Australian football.
“This is more than just a competition; it’s a cornerstone in our mission to fortify the foundations of our sport. The National Second Tier will be instrumental in nurturing talent, engaging communities, and elevating the overall quality of football across the country.”
The inaugural season of NST will involve home and away matches culminating in a competitive Finals Series.
In early 2024, an additional 2-4 clubs will be considered through a refined application process, opening the floor to clubs outside of Victoria or New South Wales to make it truly national.
At this stage, two competition formats are being considered, but this is based on the successful selection of additional clubs next year:
- A 10-team competition with two rounds plus a Finals Series, totalling 18 regular season matches.
- A 12-team competition with two rounds plus a Finals Series, totalling 22 regular season matches.
The NST will be a key component of media rights from 2025 onwards, with a shifting focus to see how promotion and relegation will play a role as the competition evolves.
The upcoming 2024 season will see the eight foundation clubs and prospective new entrants continue to competing in their own Member Federation National Premier Leagues’ competitions, before moving towards a smooth transition to the NST.