Reds Sign Dutch Centreback And Eredivisie Talisman, Vriends, On A Two-Year Deal

Adelaide United is thrilled to announce the signing of Dutch defender, Bart Vriends, on a two-year deal, where he will be a Red until the end of the Isuzu UTE A-League 2025/26 season.

The 33-year-old joins the Reds on a free transfer from his Eredivisie club of eight years, Sparta Rotterdam after amassing 192 appearances, 11 goals, and the club captaincy. 

An additional 113 appearances for Go Ahead Eagles, including playing and scoring in the Europa League, caps off a decade long stint playing across Netherlands’ highest level of professional football.

Vriends, who will now make his first move abroad, is eager to begin his new footballing journey. 

“I’ve always desired to play abroad during my career — new league, new playing style, culture, something completely different.” said Vriends,

“After eight wonderful years at Sparta Rotterdam, it was the perfect time to make that dream come true, but I was looking for something special, and I found that on the other side of the world.”

Vriends’ time with Sparta Rotterdam also coincided with that of Club legend, Craig Goodwin’s two seasons with De Kasteelheren, and provided that valuable link to introducing Vriends to Adelaide United.

“I used to play with Adelaide-kid, Craig Goodwin, at Sparta Rotterdam,” Vriends told AUFC Media.

“We spent a lot of time together on and off the pitch, and back then he already convinced me to play in the A-League one day, because it would fit me as a player and a person — well, I took that advice seriously!”

“Since the moment Marius (Zanin) and Ernest (Faber) approached me about a possible move to Adelaide, it felt like a perfect fit. 

“I had an interesting meeting with Ernest and Cor (Adriaanse) in Eindhoven, who told me about the club, the ambitions, and the sports culture in Australia. 

“After that, I watched some videos of the Club’s achievements, including the Championship in 2016, and I was convinced right away that Adelaide United should be my next career move.

“It feels like an exciting new challenge to be part of the Club, and I’m looking forward to meeting the people in Adelaide, and I can’t wait to play, in what I’ve repeatedly been told, is the best football stadium in the A-League.”

Head Coach, Carl Veart, has praised Bart’s qualities both on and off the pitch.

“Bart is someone we’ve been looking at for a couple of seasons,” said Veart. 

“He has now flagged with us that he is ready to make that change in his life to move to Australia, and he’s excited about what we’re formulating here in Adelaide.

“I’m very happy with his quality — he’s of a good pedigree; an excellent person both on and off the pitch. 

“After playing at such a high level in the Netherlands, we know he’ll bring invaluable leadership and guidance to the younger players within the group.”

Marius Zanin, Head of Football, has signalled the signing as a huge coup for the Club.

“Bart’s strength on the ball and physicality in the defensive third provides a huge boost for the team’s backline,” said Zanin.

“There was no secret into us needing an experienced centre back, and with the help of Ernest (Faber), we were able to secure Bart.

“We see Bart as the perfect fit, and we know his presence and maturity will also carry off the field, providing that inspirational pillar and grounding for the rest of the squad.

“I am sure the fans will be excited to see Bart in Red and I know they will welcome him into the Adelaide United family with open arms.”

Bart Vriends will arrive in Adelaide early next month, joining the squad in mid-July to prepare for the upcoming 24/25 season.