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An update from the Chair

Hi Reds fans,

I hope everyone enjoyed a break over the festive period and is excited, and optimistic about 2024.

After a manic start to the new year with five games for both our sides in just nine days, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and provide an update on where our Club stands at this mid-point of the season.

From a football perspective, since my last note, our A-League Women’s side, under coach Adrian Stenta, have had mixed results as some important players return to full fitness. Consecutive wins over Wellington and Western Sydney just before Christmas finally saw the girls get the reward they deserved for their hard work, but unfortunately since the results haven’t gone our way and some lapses in key moments, have cost us. The great news is that this is the longest A-League Women’s season ever – we’ve only just ticked over the half way mark – and we have every faith that Stents, his staff and the playing group will stick together and give themselves every chance to get into finals contention.

Since the turn of the new year, our A-League Men’s team has put in some entertaining performances against some very good sides. After back-to-back draws against the ladder leaders Wellington and a dangerous Macarthur outfit, the come-from-behind win over Sydney FC during the Unite Round in the harbour city showed Carl Veart and his team can match it with anyone. Unbeaten this calendar year, creating plenty of opportunities, and with our experienced players like Isaías, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Ben Halloran, Zach Clough and Hiroshi Ibusuki hitting some impressive form, we have every reason to be excited about what our side could be capable of this season when considered alongside the outstanding performances of our younger talent.

Our men will take a break this weekend after Saturday’s game against Western United was postponed. It is a little frustrating to have a break when the boys were just building some momentum, but after so much football in such a short period, the pause may also be a blessing and I know the players are looking forward to a well-earned rest. I might also add that it has been brilliant to see Josh Cavallo back after nearly a year on the sidelines with injury and James Delianov getting some well-earned minutes are two years waiting for another opportunity. It is also great to see Harry Van der Saag nearing a return after his own long-term injury. It is like having new recruits when you get players of their quality back into the line-up after extended layoffs — it really lifts the side.

On the topic of new recruits, the January Transfer Window is open and our club will continue to make enquiries about players we think will make us better. As Carl has identified, we would love another attacking option but we will not sign players who we think will not fit our system or be the right fit culturally. As we have announced, the Club has parted ways with Bernardo after a mutual agreement to terminate his contract. He had asked to leave to pursue another opportunity and while we are disappointed to see him go, we thank him for all he has done for our club.

Some congratulations

Before I move away from the  on-field action, I must congratulate Isaías on playing his 250th game in all competitions for our Club. I am not sure whether you saw the video of Isaías watching the video messages from some of his former teammates and coaches, but our content team could have found countless more people who would say the same thing – that our Spanish midfield maestro is an outstanding professional and an even better person. We are extremely lucky to have had him at our Club for so long, and he will no doubt go down as one of our best ever.

I also offer my congratulations to our goalkeeper Joe Gauci who is doing us proud representing our nation at the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar. He has been nothing short of brilliant this season, and while we will have to make do without him in our A-League Men’s side for a few weeks, it fills me with great pride to see him getting an opportunity he so richly deserves. And to make it even better, he has a host of former Reds including Craig Goodwin, Riley McGree and Kusini Yengi over there with him – a real testament to the environment within our football program that has helped these players be prepared for international football.

Junior Development Program and the new High Performance Program

On the topic of developing players, our Junior Development Program is entering its second year and going from strength to strength under the guidance of the incredible Marcelo Carrusca. When the program kicks off at the start of the school year, there will be more than 350 children of all abilities improving their skills and knowledge of football under a talented and experienced coaching team led by Marcelo. This year the program has also enhanced its footprint to include a new southern location at the Southern Soccer Facility at Trott Park, in addition to its existing central and northern locations at St Clair and Playford. We have also introduced a new High Performance Program to help the more advanced participants take their game to another level. It is a very exciting addition to our youth programs and another sign of our Club’s commitment to developing South Australian talent.

20th Anniversary Dinner

I am also really excited for next Tuesday, 23 January 2024, when we celebrate our Club’s 20th Anniversary with a special dinner at Adelaide Oval. It is fitting that we will be able to reminisce about our great achievements as a Club at the scene of perhaps our greatest moment – the 2016 A-League Men’s Grand Final. The night – proudly supported by major partner KOAN Solutions – will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to those who laid the foundations for those achievements and to share some tales of times gone by, all while looking ahead to the future of the Club. There will also be some fundraising initiatives on the night for the Adelaide United Foundation to support our Club’s youth development, education and community initiatives. I hope to see as many of our members and supporters there on the night. We have an exciting guest list, ranging from former club greats through to current day idols. Tickets are still available here to be part of this memorable night.  

I wish you and your loved ones a safe, happy and prosperous new year with plenty of success at the football.

Go Reds!