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CEO Update – October 2022

Adelaide United’s Chief Executive Officer, Nathan Kosmina, gives an update ahead of the Club’s A-Leagues 2022/23 campaign.

Dear Adelaide United family,

Today our A-Leagues 2022/23 season campaign commences, some 141 days since our Men’s team came within a whisker of Grand Final qualification for the second year in a row.

With a new season comes new life, particularly as we all now enjoy football freedoms much more akin to the start of 2019/20 season when we were last free from COVID restrictions.

This off-season has been as busy as any that has come before it, but in a much more positive sense, we have been solving football problems rather than navigating lockdowns, travel restrictions, RATs, and isolation periods which have been the essence of our existence for these past two years.

The primary problem to be solved over the past 141 days is: how do we take our Men’s and Women’s teams from consistently strong performers to Championship winners?

A lot is discussed each off-season about the on-field aspirations of the Club, or lack thereof, and whilst our baseline expectation is finals qualification each season, claiming silverware is why we exist and in my biased opinion, we haven’t been better prepared to achieve that goal since 2015/16.

Men’s squad:
On the Men’s front, our unashamed focus this winter has been re-signings and contract extensions to maintain the integrity of a squad which was very good, but perhaps lacked the necessary depth at the business end of the season. Ensuring squad stability is something we are very proud of. You only have to look at the Championship winning teams over the past decade to see that success has most often been built on the back of consistency. Whilst player movement and new signings can foster romance and media headlines, the reality is that it is consistency which best drives performance as well as culture which we have been vocal about when it comes to our football priorities.

That said, to take that next step has meant refreshing elements of our squad and building depth across the park. Bringing in the likes of Harry Van der Saag and Ben Warland adds quality to our squad whilst the promotion of exciting attacking prospects in Luka Jovanović and Panashe Madanha to scholarship contracts will add depth in our front third.

The marquee signings in the offseason have been Craig Goodwin and Ben Halloran along with contract extensions for Ryan Kitto, Hiroshi Ibusuki, Zach Clough, Javi López, and Juande. Securing Craig on a permanent basis for three years is one of if not the most important signing in the Club’s history. Meanwhile, sealing Ben’s return after his move to South Korea in January creates a really good balance of youth and experience across the entire squad. I would argue this is the most balanced our squad has been since our double winning season of 2015/16 and strongly believe fans should be excited about the season ahead.

Women’s squad:
On the back of the most successful season in our history, our Women’s program is looking to build on their success with the core of last year’s squad being maintained ahead of pre-season training commencing next week. After a breakout season for many of our players, some have made the move overseas in the off-season including; Fiona Worts, Chelsie Dawber, and most recently, Matilda McNamara. This is fantastic recognition for their performances and whilst some return home for the season ahead, some will not which is the positive reality moving forward as European football becomes the ambition for our Women’s players, much like it is for the Men.

Also, similarly to the Men, securing the return of Fiona along with contacts extension for current and former captains Isabel Hodgson and Dylan Holmes ensures consistency, whilst the return of Jenna McCormack and Maruschka Waldus will see us strengthen what was already one of the best defences in the league.

The major change to our Women’s program this season will be the increase in rounds from 14 to 20 meaning we will enjoy nine home games in 2022/23, increased from seven last season. This is a fantastic step forward for the Liberty A-League competition and with the season to increase further to 22 games (and a 35-week contract window) in 2023/24, we are getting closer to a 12-month program which will only help the quality of the competition continue to improve.

Over the next few weeks, we will finalise negotiations with a number of players ahead of our first match of the season on Sunday, 20 November against Sydney FC at ServiceFM Stadium.

Coopers Stadium redevelopment:
The Coopers Stadium redevelopment is now in its final weeks with the majority of stage two works to be completed in time for our first home game on Sunday, 30 October against Perth Glory. We have highlighted the benefits of the upgrades on numerous occasions, but the works completed include a roof for supporters in the East Stand, two new broadcast screens in the south-east and north-west corners, new FIFA Standard A LED lighting, a new audio system, new turnstiles and entry points – speeding up matchday access to the venue – along with numerous improvements to fan amenities, including better disability access. All is to be completed in the next fortnight, which will provide our members and fans with a much-improved matchday experience for seasons to come. We are also looking forward to our new event space in the Eastern Stand, the VALO Club which will bring together our business community in an elevated match day experience.

Fixtures:
The Isuzu UTE A-League 2022/23 Season officially kicked off Friday. Although, we will be required to play away for the next few weeks as the finishing touches are put in place at Coopers Stadium, the draw is the most favourable for members and fans in recent years. Some of the draw highlights include:

  • no mid-week matches (other than during the Christmas period);
  • A-Leagues breaks for the FIFA International Match Calendar;
  • Melbourne Victory at home twice, including a marquee Remembrance Day match under the new lights at Coopers Stadium;
  • Festive Football when we play matches on 27 December and 2 January;
  • the return of Good Friday football when we take on Sydney FC on 7 April; and
  • consistency in the home and away fixturing with a healthy mix of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday matches.

As noted, our A-League Women’s team kick off their Liberty A-League 2022/23 campaign on 20 November at home against Sydney FC. This season we will continue to play double headers at Coopers Stadium, however, as we endeavour to build an independent A-League Women match day experience for our fans, we will play seven standalone matches at ServiceFM Stadium.

With many family friendly afternoon kick-off times along with free entry for all registered players in South Australia 16 years and under, we will look to translate the on-field success of the past seasons into parochial support at one of the best A-League Women’s venues in the league.

Corporate partners:
From a sponsorship perspective, you would have seen that we have extended some of our most crucial partnerships, which is another significant achievement for the club this off-season. We have continued our relationship with City Discount Tyres for another year and have also welcomed financial services company, Doo Group.

Of greatest importance is the extension of our A-League Men’s Major and A-League Women’s Co-Major Partner, Flinders University, along with Kite Property as the new Co-Major Partner of our Women’s team. Both Flinders University and Kite Property are long-term partners of the Club and to extend these relationships is a tremendous advertisement for the commercial value we now offer across all elements of our business.

In addition to Major Partner renewals, Platinum Partners, McDonald’s, RAA, and Comwire IT, who all renewed their commitment to the Club on multi-year deals.

Much like on the field, continuity and long-term partnerships off the field helps to drive mutual value and we are proud that over 95% of our corporate partners renewed their contracts ahead of this season.

Our corporate partners have been strengthened over the past three seasons, thanks to the tireless work of our Commercial Department along with the integration and execution of our digital marketing and communication strategies.

Looking ahead:
It is a truly exciting time for Adelaide United and the A-Leagues. Our football programs have never been as settled and coupled with the Coopers Stadium redevelopment, along with ongoing investments and improvements at league level, there is much to be optimistic about as we are now only hours away from our 2022/23 campaign officially commencing.

I’d also like to thank our dedicated members who attended our Members’ Forum on Wednesday evening. The evening was very insightful and it was great to hear so much constructive feedback from those who were there. I left the Forum with even more optimism and excitement ahead of the new season and implore all Reds fans to join our family and become a member for this season.

And to get even more excited about the new Men’s campaign, be sure to visit the KEEPUP website and Adelaide United social media channels for our exclusive mini-documentary on last season’s finals run. Providing unprecedented access to the Men’s program, the All Access Adelaide two-part series will certainly create further excitement ahead of today’s clash against Wellington Phoenix.

On behalf of everyone at Adelaide United I’d to thank you for your unwavering support and we look forward to enjoying a successful and rewarding 2022/23 season both on and off the field.

We’ll see you all in three weeks at Coopers Stadium.

Yours sincerely,

Nathan Kosmina
Chief Executive Officer