NSW champ immediately cancels trip to make ‘no-brainer’ A-Leagues move

Macarthur FC have announced the return of full-back Yianni Nicolaou for the upcoming Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Nicolaou returns to the club after helping APIA Leichhardt win the NPL New South Wales Championship this season. The 23-year-old was a member of Bulls FC Academy in the club’s inaugural season, before joining APIA, where he has spent the last two seasons.

The full-back was preparing for an off-season trip to Japan before he got the call from the Bulls.

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

“It was a no-brainer,” he said.

“I am really excited to have another crack in the A-League. My goal is to get more minutes and do everything I can to get on the field.

“I had a trip planned to Japan for a holiday when I had a call to come back here and there wasn’t a second thought.

“It was a no-brainer. I worked so hard all year. For an opportunity like this to come up, I had to take it.”

Macarthur coach Mile Sterjovski previously coached Nicolaou in the club’s academy set-up and said he was looking forward to welcoming him back ahead of the upcoming season.

“We are pleased to have Yianni back at the club. He’s worked hard and earned this opportunity,” Sterjovski said.

“We are really impressed with his development. Having coached Yianni in the Bulls FC Academy, we’ve kept a close eye on his progress and we believe he will add a lot of strength to our backline ahead of the AFC Cup and A-League.”

Nicolaou is the club’s seventh signing this off-season, joining Clayton Lewis (Wellington Phoenix), Matthew Jurman (Newcastle Jets), Raphael Borges Rodrigues (Melbourne City), Kristian Popovic (NK Međimurje)Valerie Germain (Montpellier) and Danijel Nizic (Sydney United 58) as the Bulls’ latest arrivals.

Macarthur return to action in their AFC Cup opener next Thursday night against Shan United in Myanmar.