A-Leagues Life: Mariners’ incredible $584k World Cup gift; Socceroos great lands Wanderers gig

Welcome to A-Leagues Life, where KEEPUP brings you all the latest news and goings on at your club. This is how the week is shaping up across the A-Leagues and beyond.

Monty reveals Lionesses’ incredible gift for the Mariners

England are leaving their mark on the Central Coast and the Lionesses will continue to do so long after the FIFA Women’s World Cup has ended having left £300,000 ($584,000 AUD) worth of gym equipment to the Mariners.

Nick Montgomery – head coach of the Isuzu UTE A-League champions – revealed the European champions, based in Gosford, have given the Australian club a helping hand as they prepare for the World Cup quarter-finals.

CALLING YOUNG FANS: Liberty A-League Pass is back for 2023-24

It is a boost for the Mariners, with their women’s side also set to enter the Liberty A-League this upcoming season.

“It is important we continue to build resources,” Montgomery told talkSPORT.

“FIFA invest a lot of money, and for us to get some gym equipment, the stuff they are leaving behind to the only club on the central coast, it is a great gesture from them.

“Not only will it help us develop the young kids, but also the first-team and W League team as well.”

England will meet Colombia in the quarter-finals in Sydney on Saturday night.

The Mariners are returning to the Liberty A-League for 2023-24 and they have English coach Emily Husband in charge.

So far, Central Coast have signed Rola Badawiya, Annalise Rasmussen, Bianca Galic, Isabel Gomez, Sarah Langman, Maya Lobo, Annabel Martin, Tess Quilligan and Peta Trimis.

As for Montgomery and his men’s team, they have brought in Alou Kuol (Stuttgart)Jing Reec (Arhaus – on loan), Jack Warshawsky (Western Sydney Wanderers), Nathan Paull (scholarship contract – Sydney FC) and Trent Millard (scholarship contract – Brisbane Roar).

But they have lost key defender Nectar Triantis (Sunderland AFC)Anthony Pavlesic (Bayern Munich)Patrick Beach (Melbourne City), star striker Jason Cummings (Mohun Bagan), Lachlan Bayliss (Newcastle Jets), Yaren Sozer (St George), attacking sensation Sam Silvera (Middlesbrough)Beni Nkololo (Al-Orobah) and Moresche.

The Wanderers land a Socceroos legend

Western Sydney Wanderers head coach Marko Rudan is surrounding himself with Australian royalty following the arrival of former Socceroo Jason Culina.

A 58-time Socceroo, who played for Dutch powerhouses Ajax and PSV – winning three four Eredivisie crowns – Culina joins the Isuzu UTE A-League outfit as their Head of Academy Coaches.

The 43-year-old – part of Australia’s ‘Golden Generation’ – previously played for Gold Coast United, Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC in the A-League Men.

He will be supporting ex-Olyroo Corey Gameiro, who has been appointed Head of Youth Development.

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On the books of Fulham previously, the 30-year-old played for Sydney, Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar in the Isuzu UTE A-League but this career was plagued by serious knee injuries.

Gameiro and Culina “will be working closely with the first team and head coach Marko Rudan to help continue to identify and transition Academy players and coaches into the A-Leagues set-up.”

The Wanderers returned to the A-League Men finals for the first time since 2016-17 last season but fell to the Sky Blues in the Elimination Final.

Western Sydney, who crushed Floreat Athena 6-1 in the Australia Cup Round of 32 on Wednesday night, have been busy signing Lachlan Brook (Brentford)Dylan Pierias (Western United)Jack Clisby (Perth Glory)Marcus Antonsson (Al-Adalah)Josh Brillante (Melbourne Victory), George Antonis (scholarship), Anthony Pantazopoulos (scholarship – Oakleigh Cannons), Marcus Younis (scholarship contract), Oscar Priestman (scholarship contract) and Doni Grdić (HNK Šibenik).

It comes on the back of the departures of Morgan Schneiderlin (end of loan)Romain AmalfitanoYeni NgbakotoJack Warshawsky (Central Coast Mariners)Amor Layouni (end of loan), Adama Traore (Melbourne Victory), Alessandro Lopane (Melbourne City)Daniel Wilmering (Newcastle Jets)Rhys Williams (retirement)Kusini Yengi (Portsmouth), Terry Antonis (Melbourne City)Calem Nieuwenhof (Hearts), and Tomislav Mrcela (Neftchi).

Canberra retain a star as icon eyes century

Liberty A-League legend Michelle Heyman has set her sights on reaching a landmark goal tally in the competition, while Serbia international playmaker Vesna Milivojevic has-signed for Canberra United.

Heyman is four goals shy of a century of A-League Women goals as the Australia international forward enters the second year of her two-year deal with Canberra.

The 35-year-old scored 12 goals last season and broke the league’s all-time appearance record as the club agonisingly missed out on the top four on goal difference.

“I am excited by the prospect of the new season and playing once more for this amazing football club,” Heyman man.
“We were so close to making the top four last season, which was our aim at the beginning of the campaign, so in a way we are disappointed that we were unable to achieve that. We certainly ended the year strongly though and will use that to build on for a successful 2023-24.”

Two-time champions, Canberra have not made the finals since 2020-21.

“I have enjoyed many wonderful seasons at Canberra United and the positive vibes we are feeling under Njegosh Popovich is certain to make sure we hit the ground running in the forthcoming season,” Heyman said.
“As a club, we know all about winning, about claiming silverware and the memories that Grand Finals bring to us as players, and to our amazing fanbase. We are fully committed to bringing those feelings back to the club in the 2023-24 season and I am looking forward to taking to the field in front of the wall of green once more.”

Meanwhile, Milivojevic has extended her contract after a stellar debut campaign for Canberra.

The 21-year-old scored eight goals and supplied three assists.

“I really enjoyed my first season playing for Canberra United,” Milivojevic said.
“I obviously knew about the club, and its incredible fan base and support staff, but until you come into the inner sanctum and experience it for yourself you don’t realise how amazing it actually is.
“The focus here is very much on the team. The environment is first-class, we have tremendous coaches and management, and the support really is second to none. Last season was a pleasure to be a part of even though we fell just short.

“There is a determination to make sure that does not happen again, and I am thrilled to re-sign for the club and to play my part in making sure of that.”

Another title-winning star from Europe visits Sydney

First there was FIFA Men’s World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner Sami Khedira, who visited Sydney FC. Now you can add Kevin Prince-Boateng to that list.

The Ghana international was a special guest at Sky Blues training, reuniting with ex-teammate Alex Baumjohann.

A Serie A winner with AC Milan, LaLiga champion at Barcelona and DFB-Pokal winner for Eintracht Frankfurt, Boateng last played for German giants Hertha Berlin last season.

This week, the 36-year-old – who also played for Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and Fiorentina – was pictured with Baumjohann, who is the A-League Men club’s head of player management.

Baumjohann is a former midfielder for Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC having previously played for the likes of Schalke, Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

Sydney, meanwhile, announced Luke Brattan as their new Isuzu UTE A-League captain following Alex Wilkinson’s retirement.