From the start of next season, Adelaide United FC’s on field future will have a distinct local flavour with the club delighted to announce it has secured a quartet of young home grown talent to senior contracts.
Reds Youth Team goalkeeper John Hall and three South Australians based at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) – Mark Ochieng, Dylan Smith and Ben Warland, have all signed two year contracts with the club for the Hyundai A-League 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons.
Moving to acquire the four players over six months out from the start of their contracts commencing signals the club’s intent on having a strong contingent of South Australians representing the State’s team in the Hyundai A-League, something that Adelaide United General Manager – Football Operations, Michael Petrillo is thrilled to be able to boast.
Hall, who turns 19 next month, has been in United’s Youth squad for the past two years and has impressed with his rapid development during his time in the Reds environment and in his performances for his local club Cumberland United.
“John has improved remarkably since joining our program in 2011/12 under the guidance of the club’s goalkeeper coach Peter Blazincic and deserves his professional contract,” Petrillo said.
“We believe he will be a fantastic addition to our goalkeeping ranks for many years to come.”
All products of the AIS and NTC (SASI) programs, Ochieng (16), Smith (17) and Warland (17) spent their two week break from the AIS football program training with United’s squad under Reds Coach Josep Gombau, the trio seen as exciting players with huge potential. The three will play for the AIS in the upcoming Foxtel National Youth League season before they make the move to join Adelaide United at season’s end.
“All three lads did extremely well during the time they spent with us earlier in the season, and showed enough to the coaching staff to prove they have the potential to become Hyundai A-League players of the future,” Petrillo said.
“Ben is a tall left sided central defender with good technique and understanding of his role, Mark is a strong, quick and aggressive right sided player who can play as a right back or right winger, and Dylan is an intelligent attacking midfielder with an excellent work rate.”
On the announcement, Petrillo also paid credit to two South Australian football icons for their influence and impact on the progression of the three AIS youngsters.
“It would be remiss not to give a special mention to AIS Coach Tony Vidmar and also NTC Coach and former Adelaide United striker Carl Veart for the part they have both had in these players’ development,” Petrillo said.
“It’s great to see two great former players of their ilk within the coaching ranks and helping to produce talented players of the future.”
Ochieng, the youngest of the quartet, grew up in Adelaide after being born in Kenya, Smith scored a brace in one of the Reds’ pre season games against a local club, while Warland is a former Joeys (Australian U-17) captain and was recently named in the Young Socceroos squad for the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers in Malaysia early next month.
The addition of Hall, Ochieng, Smith and Warland is likely to give the club nine locals in its squad for next season, with these four set to join Jordan Elsey, Paul Izzo, Awer Mabil, Jacob Melling and Teeboy Kamara on the Reds’ playing roster.
Current Club Cumberland United and Adelaide United Youth Team
Current Club AIS
Current Club AIS
Representative Honours Joeys (U-17), currently part of the Young Socceroos (U-20) squad
Current Club AIS