BRISBANE Roar have been dealt a huge blow after talented youngsters Tommy Oar, Michael Zullo and Adam Sarota all signed multi-year contracts with Dutch team FC Utrecht on Friday.
Oar, 18, and Zullo, 21, have both represented the Socceroos in the last 12 months while 21-year-old Sarota was named the 2008/09 National Youth League Player of the Year.
Oar agreed to a five-year deal with the Eredivisie club while Zullo and Sarota have signed on for three years each.
Brisbane Roar chief executive Peter McLennan expressed mixed emotions at losing the trio.
"You can't help but be disappointed to lose three young players who have the undoubted potential of Tommy, Michael and Adam," McLennan said.
"However, for the Brisbane Roar this is tempered by the knowledge we have provided each of them with the platform to potentially become the next generation of Socceroos.
"Our aim as a club has always been to identify exciting young talent, provide them with an environment to develop and the opportunity to prove themselves in the Hyundai A-League.
"The unfortunate downside of this is when these players display the talent we've identified it becomes very difficult to hold onto them.
"Football is a global game and as a club we would never stand in the way of a player who expresses a desire to test himself at the very highest level.
"With that in mind, we wish the three boys the very best of luck with FC Utrecht where we will watch their respective careers with a great deal of pride and interest."
Oar played 26 matches with the Roar, mainly on the wing, since debuting in 2008/09 for a return of two goals.
The versatile Zullo registered 53 appearances and two goals in three seasons for Brisbane while midfielder Sarota played 15 matches for the club since making his A-League debut in November 2008.