Auckland sign six ‘rising stars’ as A-Leagues’ newest club puts faith in homegrown talent

Auckland FC have signed six of the local region’s brightest up-and-coming talents, in what head coach Steve Corica describes as “another significant milestone” ahead of the club’s first Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Luis Toomey, Liam Gillion, Finn Mckenlay, Adama Coulibaly, Oliver Middleton and Jonty Bidois have all put pen to paper on scholarship contracts at the club.

Corica has now confirmed 12 of the club’s inaugural squad members ahead of the 2024-25 campaign, with Thursday’s announcement of six scholarship arrivals significantly bolstering the club’s cohort of local, young talent.

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Five of the six scholarship recruits are from Auckland, while 19-year-old Jonty Bidois hails from Tauranga, a three-hour drive from the city on New Zealand’s north island.

“These new appointments just reinforce our commitment to Auckland and football in New Zealand,” Corica said.

“Developing local players is at the core of what we do, and these early announcements reflect that”

“What we’re building here is momentum and today is another significant milestone for the club.”

Luis Toomey, 22, is an attacking midfielder who last played for Eastern Suburbs AFC in New Zealand’s Northern League, along with fellow scholarship recruit Finn Mckenlay, an 18-year-old midfielder.

Upon confirming his contract with Auckland FC, Toomey said: “Playing for Auckland FC will mean the world to me, being able to play professional football after pursuing that dream for so long. It will provide an opportunity for me to grow as a player.”

For all the latest transfer news involving your Isuzu UTE A-League club, make sure to stay across our dedicated Transfer Centre

Luis Toomey.

Mckenlay added: “Playing for Auckland FC is a huge honour and privilege for me. It gives me the opportunity to represent the city I have grown up in and where I learnt to play football. Being involved at the start of the club’s journey is a proud moment for me and an opportunity I am excited for.”

21-year-old winger Liam Gillion joins the club from Auckland City FC to reunite with Cameron Howieson who was captain of the club before being announced as one of Auckland FC’s first signings.

“It is a privilege to play for the city I have grown up in and to compete at a professional level,” Gillion said.

“I am excited to learn and grow from the experienced players around me.”

Liam Gillion.

Adama Coulibaly, 19, is a versatile midfielder/defender who joins Auckland FC from Northern League club Western Springs AFC. The teenager describes his move to the Isuzu UTE A-League as a “game changer.”

“Getting my first professional football contract has aligned to bringing my dream to reality,” Coulibaly said.

“This is a big opportunity in my football journey. I am privileged to be a member of the team and represent my hometown Auckland.”

Tauranga teenager Jonty Bidois, meanwhile, joins the club after a sting at Tauranga City AFC. The forward says signing for Corica’s side is a huge privilege.

“Joining Auckland FC is a huge privilege and it’s super exciting to be a part of a new team. It means I get to develop professionally and learn from the coaching staff and the more experienced players in the squad.”