Adelaide boss challenges teens to ‘fight it out’ for starting role & hints at three new signings

WATCH: Carl Veart explains what new signing Bart Vriends brings to Adelaide United.

On the first day of Adelaide United’s pre-season, head coach Carl Veart spoke about the club’s future transfer plans, an intriguing battle between two young talents for a starting role, and what to expect from prized recruit Bart Vriends.

Teenage strikers Archie Goodwin and Luka Jovanović are expected to duel for Adelaide United’s starting striker role in the 2024-25 Isuzu UTE A-League season, after the off-season departure of top scorer Hiroshi Ibusuki.

It’s the second year running in which the Reds head into a fresh campaign without their leading scorer from the season prior; Craig Goodwin’s departure in 2023 led Ibusuki to shoulder the scoring burden for Veart’s side last season but despite an impressive 15-goal campaign, the Japanese striker and the club mutually parted ways, which led to his move to A-Leagues rivals Western United.

In Ibusuki’s place, Adelaide recruited 19-year-old Archie Goodwin from Newcastle Jets and the highly-rated teenager, who scored seven goals in 44 league games in Newcastle, has been challenged by Veart to claim the Reds’ starting striker role – a position 19-year-old Luka Jovanović will also have his sights firmly set on after two seasons, 33 appearances (14 starts) and seven goals at the club.

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“We’ve brought in young Archie Goodwin, who we believe is a quality number nine,” Veart said, on day one of Adelaide pre-season.

“We’ve got young Luka here as well, who is a quality number nine as well.

“In that way, we’re quite happy to sort of let those two fight it out for the nine position.

“If we can bring in a little bit more experience around them to help, you know, we’ll just have to see which one is best available fit for us.”

Adelaide have also lost young star Nestory Irankunda to Bayern Munich this off-season, while Ben Halloran’s transfer to Brisbane Roar and Musa Toure’s departure to French club Clermont Foot 63 have further depleted Veart’s attacking stocks.

Winger Dylan Pierias has arrived from Western Sydney Wanderers along with Goodwin but Veart has assured more signings are to come.

“We’re still looking to bring in two-to-three players… hopefully we can get it all sorted by the end of July,” he said.

“It’s a long pre-season but the earlier we can get our players here and fit them into the team, and how we want to play, the better it is for us in the long-term.

“We’re still looking for another attacking player and maybe another one or two defenders as well. So we’ll keep looking.

“It’s important that we get the right players, there’s no point just rushing to sign players, it’s important we get the right players that are going to add quality to our playing squad.”

One player whose arrival has undoubtedly strengthened Veart’s squad is defender Bart Vriends, who has joined the Reds from Eredivisie club Sparta Rotterdam where he was captain of the Dutch top flight side last season.

Vriends, 33, has joined the club on a two-year deal and has instantly added immense experience to a squad which Veart admits was lacking in leadership last season.

The Reds coach said Vriends had been a target of his for three years thanks to club legend Craig Goodwin convincing the Dutchman of an eventual move to the club while they played together at Sparta Rotterdam.


“We spoke to Bart, I reckon maybe three years ago about bringing him to the club when Craig was here,” Veart said.

“But Bart wasn’t ready to make that transition yet. This time, when we (went) and knocked on his door, he was more open to it. Once we put (forward) what we were looking for, and what the club had to offer, Bart was really excited to come.

“Yes, I have spoke to Craig many times about that… it’s important that players that have played at the club, that (they) always speak highly and I’m sure players that come to the club will contact players, past players and it’s great that Craig has spoken really highly about the club.”

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“(Bart) is a high-quality, high standard player,” Veart added. “He played at a very high level for a very long time, he brings a lot of leadership – not just on the pitch, but off the pitch.

“He’s a very intelligent man. When you talk to him you can see he’s very educated, so it’s a great acquisition for the club.

“It’s no secret that we were sort of missing that little bit of leadership on and off the pitch last season, and you know, Bart will certainly address that.

“It’s a great signing for the club, the quality of player and level he’s played at for his whole career is going to be great for our younger players that are coming through.”

You can read more about Bart Vriends and what he’ll bring to Adelaide United here.