Alagich legacy extends in midfield live-wire, Ethan

Ethan Alagich comes from a long line of Alagich footballers – including father, Richie, and aunty, Dianne, both of whom played for the Reds.
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The moment an Alagich learns to walk you can expect Adelaide United greats Richie, Dianne, or any one of the Alagich clan, to pass the youngling a ball.

It is not a real surprise then, that United legend Richie Alagich’s son, Ethan, is breaking into Carl Veart’s first team, after becoming one of just three father-son combinations in the Club’s history.

With a rich family history in the game, Ethan is well on his way to extending the family dynasty.

The 18-year-old has made two appearances off the bench in the first two matches already this season, after making his debut in last year’s Australia Cup against Floreat Athena at just 17.

Ethan Alagich making his debut for Adelaide United in he Australia Cup against Floreat Athena.

When asked how Ethan started out in football, Richie quickly corrects: “Forced… Ethan was forced into football.

“But honestly, my parents both played and obviously my sister (Dianne) played so he and my other two children are always surrounded by football.

“Still, nothing has been given to Ethan.

“He has worked very, very hard to get where he is, so the main thing he has learned from me is how tough and hard it is to succeed as a professional.”

You will find the Alagich name deeply etched into the history books, in addition to Richie’s 89 consistent performances on the right side of Adelaide’s defence as a foundation player.

Ethan’s great, great uncle Marin migrated to Australia from Former Yugoslavia in 1932 and used the power of football to unite fractioned communities in New South Wales.

His grandfather, Colin Alagich Snr ¬– Richie’s father – also made a grand mark on South Australian football and with the Port Adelaide Pirates Soccer Club, playing and officiating over 300 games across decades.

This is all prior to mentioning Ethan’s aunty, Dianne, who was capped 86 times for the Australian national team before a season with United towards the end of her career.

Football is well in their blood and fittingly their Croatian heritage intertwined perfectly with United’s mantle to be the ‘People’s Team’. The Alagiches embody this well and Ethan only continues this proud line of footballers and people.

On the field, the biggest adjustment for dynamic midfielder, Ethan, has been the intensity of training at the highest level, but at the same time he is relishing the opportunity to learn from his team-mates and coaches.

“I’ve been loving it every single day because I’m lucky to have a great coaching staff at the Club who help you each and every day and the culture they create, along with my teammates, makes for a great environment for a young player like me,” Ethan said.

“I just see my role as whatever the team needs me to do and if that’s filling up water bottles or setting up all the gear as younger players do then that’s what I’ll do.”

Ethan Alagich putting in the work at the VALO Training Centre.

The humble Alagich did not expect to catapult into the first team when he was initially called into the squad to take on Athena, who play in Western Australia’s National Premier League.

“I wasn’t really expecting to be anywhere near the squad at that point, but I think I got very fortunate, well not fortunate for the other players who went down with illness, but to get the call was a great feeling,” he admitted.

“I’d been waiting a long time for that moment.”

Of course, like any player, Ethan’s goal is to play as many minutes as possible and earn his first start for the club this season, after earning another place in his team’s match day squad to face Sydney FC.

Ethan did train with Richie, who is still involved in youth development for Football South Australia, before quickly rising through the State ranks of the National Training Centre Programs and into United’s Youth Team.

But nowadays his dad is quite reserved when it comes to watching from the sidelines and will only give advice if Ethan asks as, first and foremost, he is there as a parent.

Richie reasons that matters are out of his control when his son takes to the field, and so dinner time chats are often amicable.

Richie and Ethan Alagich playing ‘one touch’ at Coopers Stadium.

“Emotionally I’m very calm when I watch Ethan play because I’ve got no control over what happens or anything like that,” he admits.

“I do see some similarities in our game particularly his work ethic and reading of the game, and he’s also very level-headed for his age.”

A healthy environment for a name deeply entrenched not just at United, but Australian football folklore.

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