Macarthur sign former Glory youngster as Roar announce double homecoming

Macarthur FC have announced the signature of Australian youth international Kristian Popovic on a two-year deal.

Popovic, 21, returns to the Isuzu UTE A-League after three years abroad spent at Greek club Xanthi and NK Rudes, NK Kurilovec and NK Medimurje in Croatia.

Popovic made his A-League men breakthrough at Perth Glory as an 18-year-old, making 19 appearances across two seasons.

“I’m very excited to join the Bulls,” Popovic said. “I am looking forward to meeting the boys when I start the preseason and I want to help the club finish as high as we can this season.

“It’s been three years since I was last in the A-League. I was in Greece and Croatia and the experience was excellent, it was an eye-opener. The challenges on and off the field helped me grow. I think that’s improved me as a player and I’m going take that into this season with the Bulls.”

Brisbane Roar, meanwhile, have announced the signings of goalkeeper Matt Acton and young forward Alex Parsons for the upcoming Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Acton returns to the club he came through as a youngster, starting in their academy in 2007 before making his debut in the 2013-14 season. He returned for a second stint in 2014 after a short tenure in Mynamar at Yangon United.

The 31-year-old keeper has spent the last seven years at Melbourne Victory, playing primarily as a backup to the likes of Lawrence Thomas, Ivan Kelava and most recently, Paul Izzo – making over 40 appearances in all competitions.

“I’m really excited, obviously been a long time, excited to be home and I can’t wait to get started,” Acton said.  

“I’ve got a lot of good memories here in Brisbane, I’d love to create more memories like I have in the past.

“We’re looking for the ultimate prize which is the Championship and just go as far as we can, we’re going to try and build on the past of the club and try to add a bit more success to the club.

INS AND OUTS: Isuzu UTE A-League 2023-24 Transfer Centre

“I’ve experienced it all, so I’ll be able to pass some of those experiences down to the younger boys, hopefully they can lean on that, and hopefully we can build these young players because they’re the future of the football club.

“It wasn’t that hard of a decision to sign with the club, speaking with Ross about what his visions were and what he’s bringing back to the club, it was an easy decision and a really good time to be coming back to the club.” 

New Roar coach Ross Aloisi described him as a “quality goalkeeper” and believes he is set to provide good competition for the number one jersey alongside Macklin Freke.

“Matty was available and with his experience at Victory, I’ve watched him for a number of years, I think he’s a quality goalkeeper and is going to add a lot of value to this squad,” he said.

“It’s now for both him and Macklin to fight for that number one spot.”

Roar also announced the return of Parsons after recently being released by Sydney FC. Parsons played eight times for the Sky Blues in his one season at the club and scored a single goal against his former side.

The 23-year-old made 28 appearances in all competitions over two seasons at Brisbane, before leaving at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

“It’s exciting to be back home, it’s a new challenge and working under Ross and going into a new chapter at Brisbane Roar it’s exciting,” Parsons said.  

“Being back in Brisbane and being able to play in front of my friends and family it’s always exciting, hopefully I can kick on now and contribute more for the club.”

“I’m ready to get to work, ready to push myself this pre-season and really make an impact this season.

“I think I can cover anywhere in the front third, whether it’s wide or in the middle, I don’t have a preference, it’s just wherever Ross wants to put me.”

Aloisi said he’s looking forward to welcoming Parsons back to the club, a player he has worked with previously when he was an assistant.

“The club’s aim is to have as many Queenslanders in the A-League squad as possible, players that are at a very good A-League level,” Aloisi said.  

“It’s amazing to have Alex back. He’s a player that has come through the club’s Academy. He’s a very direct player and will bring a lot of pace into the squad and we look forward to working with him again.”