Victory recruit Aussie young gun from Eredivisie club: ‘Incredibly bright future’

Melbourne Victory have completed their first signing of the off-season, luring Australia youth international Josh Rawlins from Dutch Eredivisie club FC Utrecht to AAMI Park.

Rawlins joins the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Finalists on a two-year deal until the end of 2025-26 after leaving Utrecht in the Netherlands.

The 20-year-old full-back spent last season on loan at Perth Glory, where he made his A-Leagues debut as a 16-year-old – amassing 34 league appearances over his first two seasons in Western Australia before moving to Utrecht in 2022.

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“We’re thrilled to be able to add Josh to the squad for the upcoming season,” said new head coach Patrick Kisnorbo, who has replaced Tony Popovic.

“At 20 years old, Josh has almost 50 games of A-League Men’s experience under his belt and will come into our squad looking to compete for first-team football.

“He’s a full-back who has strong defensive and attacking qualities but more importantly, he is a great character fit for our team and we believe he has an incredibly bright future at Melbourne Victory.”

Rawlins featured for Utrecht’s Under-21 side in 2022-23 before returning to Perth to play for the Glory last season, making 12 appearances for Alen Stajcic’s outfit.

He was also part of the Olyroos squad that competed at the 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup in Qatar, while the defender also featured in the side that finished third in the 2022 edition of the Asian competition.

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“I’m excited to be able to sign for Melbourne Victory and represent such an iconic club in Australian football,” Rawlins said.

“Victory has created an environment where I believe I can get the best out of myself and help the team achieve the ultimate success.

“The club went so close to the Championship last season and I’m looking to help the side go one step further next season.”