Carly Neyland and her three daughters, Alex (U16), Macy (U14) and Quin (U12), have been involved with the QBE Sydney Swans Academy for four years.  

Hailing from the Hunter Valley, 120 kilometres north of Sydney, the family can spend up to five hours commuting to and from Moore Park where the girls train at the Sydney Swans state-of-the-art facility.  

There are 700 girls and boys who participate in the QBE Sydney Swans Academy across the state, providing a development program for athletes aged 11 to 19. There are currently 10 male Academy graduates on AFL lists and eight female Academy graduates on AFLW lists – which includes a total of 10 athletes across the men’s and women’s teams at the Sydney Swans.  

“I would describe the Academy as a family,” Carly said. “Everyone is here with the common goal to enjoy footy.” 

Outside of the pursuit for high performance, Carly says the impact of the Academy on her three daughters is far more profound. On the field the girls are supported to develop their football skills through a high calibre of coaching, while beyond the boundary they learn independence, confidence, and self-motivation.  

“It has never been about their future playing in the AFLW, it’s about the kids pushing themselves to be the best that they can be,” she said. 

It’s a common sentiment at the QBE Sydney Swans Academy and one that has driven enormous success. In 2023, six Academy athletes were selected to participate in the U18 Male Allies squad, which went on to win the Championship for the first time.  

Such progress for the sport in NSW would not have been possible without financial investment. In addition to the generous support of principal partner QBE, the Sydney Swans Foundation plays a vital role in investing in the Academy’s growth and development.  

It’s through the generous support of donations and bequests that the Sydney Swans Foundation is able to support the Academy and the development of young athletes in New South Wales. 

“The children are really lucky to be part of the Academy, and anyone would be,” Carly said.  

Should you like to show your support for the Academy via the Sydney Swans Foundation, we encourage you to donate today.

We are building futures one goal at a time