Future bright for Reds


Adelaide United FC has received an injection of youth and an additional two squad members to kick-off the New Year.

Adelaide United FC has received an injection of youth and an additional two squad members to kick-off the New Year, with the contracts of goalkeeper Paul Izzo and midfielder Jacob Melling having officially commenced yesterday.

Early in 2011, the Reds swooped to secure Izzo and Melling to the club-s senior playing roster on three year deals, however their contracts only technically started on January 1, 2012.

Both local South Australian products, the 16 year old duo are seen as long term acquisitions for the club in what is a significant step towards bringing up the next crop of Adelaide United stars.

Izzo and Melling spent the majority of 2011 at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra, a time in which they represented Australia at Under 17 level and most notably saw them play at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.

Set to turn 17 on Friday, Izzo was a standout between the posts for the Qantas Joeys in Mexico and is widely regarded as one of the best up and coming goalkeepers in Australia. Former Qantas Socceroos goalkeeper Ron Corry, who worked with Izzo at the AIS, went as far to say he is the best talent and most natural mover he has coached since Mark Bosnich.

It would be easy to get carried away with such compliments, but Izzo is definitely not getting ahead of himself and is determined to just keep improving.

“I appreciate the comments but I try to keep a level head when I hear them, I don-t want to let them get to my head and affect my game,” Izzo said.

“My short term goals are to get as much experience as I can, obviously it would be unrealistic to say I want to start playing straight away. I know the harder I work the better I-ll get, so I just have to keep chasing it and working hard.”

For Melling, being signed by the Reds is a dream come true. The midfielder, who was named the player of the tournament at the 2010 FFA State Institute Challenge, was in the stands at Hindmarsh Stadium as an eight year old for Adelaide United-s first ever game back in 2003, and admits he still has to pinch himself that he is now rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bruce Djite and Sergio van Dijk.

“It-s unbelievable really, I don-t know how to describe it. You want to be a professional player since you-re young and then actually getting to do it, you can-t really believe it,” Melling said.

“I-ve always wanted to play for Adelaide United, I-ve been to nearly every home game since the club was founded. Just to be at this level and to do what you love, it-s everything you could ask for.”

Prior to Christmas, Izzo and Melling were both playing for the AIS in the National Youth League, however once the competition resumes from its break, they will kit up for the Reds.

With home grown talent like Melling and Izzo, as well as young excitement machine Teeboy Kamara, committing to the club, Adelaide United-s future looks bright.

Paul Izzo
6 January 1995 (Adelaide)
Position Goalkeeper
Number 30
Height 183cm
Weight 78kg

Club History
2010-11 AIS (National Youth League)
2009-10 SASI (SA)
2006-10 Campbelltown (SA)
Junior Club – N.A.B. (SA)

Representative Honours
Qantas Joeys (U-17)

Jacob Melling
4 April 1995 (Adelaide)
Position Midfielder
Number 15
Height 173cm
Weight 70kg

Club History
2011 AIS (National Youth League)
2009-10 SASI (SA)
2005-08 Modbury Jets (SA)
Junior Club – Para Hills Knights (SA)

Representative Honours
Qantas Joeys (U-17)