Reds lock-in local quintet

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Adelaide United young guns, Zoe Tolland (scholarship), Chrissy Panagaris (scholarship), Erin Kontoutsikos (scholarship), Claudia Jenkins (scholarship) and Grace Wilson (Youth Development Player) have been awarded contracts for the 2023/24 Liberty A-League season.

Tolland, 21, made her debut in United’s 0-1 win against Wellington Phoenix last December, playing seven games in her first season.

The versatile fullback was originally scouted from Adelaide City in 2022, in a season that brought her 14 appearances and two goals.

Panagaris signs as the 2023 Go Sunny Solar Women’s National Premier League’s golden boot winner, with 14 goals for Adelaide Comets.

The forward debuted off the bench for the Reds in their 2-1 win against Perth Glory at ServiceFM Stadium in March, after she was signed mid-season as an injury replacement.

Kontoutsikos made her first A-League appearance in the same game also after being a late-season addition to the Reds’ squad, and further bolsters the side’s defensive stocks.

The teenager scored a stunning goal from range for Football SA NTC in their narrow WNPL SA Grand Final loss to Salisbury Inter on penalties in September.

Jenkins returns to the Reds on a scholarship contract after she first signed with the Club back in the 2015/16 season and is Adelaide City’s established Number One.

She has experience in the US College system with La Salle University in Philadelphia, and learned her craft from Matildas legend, Melissa Barbieri after switching to goalkeeper from her beginnings predominantly at left-back.

Meanwhile, Wilson, 18, re-signs as a Youth Development Player after joining the Reds in December 2021.

The goalkeeper was named in the Young Matildas’ 2024 AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup qualifying campaign in Vietnam in May, proof of their abilities as a dependable custodian.

Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “Zoe, Chrissy, Erin, Claudia and Grace are real talents and exceptional examples of our grassroots system here in South Australia.

“They are learning on and off the pitch every day and have already adapted to the professional environment, with great futures in the game.

“We (officially) welcome Chrissy and Erin to the squad – and welcome back Claudia – and we are delighted to have them on board from the start of the season after outstanding performances in the WNPL.

“While Grace is yet to debut, they add quality to our goalkeeping stocks and overall depth, and we have full confidence they can be called upon at any moment.

“We feel the four can have long and established careers at Adelaide United and look forward to their continued development in the upcoming A-League season.”