By John Kyrou
Click here to view the full squad
The 2014 pre-season has certainly been a busy one for South Melbourne FC. With National Premier League rules requiring each squad to have a mandatory 20 players on its roster, Coach Chris Taylor has spent the summer re-signing key players and welcoming former familiar faces to the Club, whilst also overseeing a number of departures as well.
Key losses have been Bryan Bran, Luke Hopper and Nick Soolsma (all gone overseas) whilst Alan Kearney, Carl Recchia and Trent Rixon decided to join other NPL clubs. Rhys Meredith returned home to Queensland and goalkeeper Peter Gavalas retired, as did Club champion Fernando De Moraes.
Centre-half Shaun Kelly suffered a lengthy leg injury over the summer and will miss most – if not all – of 2014. He is not included in the 20 man roster; however the Club wishes to confirm that Shaun remains with the Club and is in Chris Taylor’s plans for the future. Kelly’s absence at centre-half has been filled with the arrivals of Andrew Mullett and James Musa, with both players able to switch between playing centre-half and left-back. Former SMFC players returning to Lakeside Stadium include Jason Saldaris, Leigh Minopoulos, Andy Kecojevic (juniors) and Slaven Vranesevic (juniors). The two visa players (the maximum number allowed in each NPL squad) for South in 2014 are Musa and Englishman Jamie Reed, who joins the Club from Chester but formerly played at Dandenong Thunder on loan in 2010 and scored seven goals in five matches. Musa will join the club after his commitments with Team Wellington finish.
Taylor has managed to put together a playing squad that is a good mixture of youth and experience, with the youngest player being Andy Kecojevic (15) and the oldest being Dimi Tsiaras (29). Only three players – Tsiaras (29), Holmes (26) and Reed (26) – are 25 years of age or older. Despite the uncertainty throughout the summer regarding the introduction of the NPL in 2014, South has managed to get on the front foot and put together a playing squad that will hopefully be a contender in all competitions in 2014. With four trophies on offer (NPL Victoria Championship, National Premier League Championship, Dockerty Cup and FFA Cup), there is plenty to look forward to this upcoming season.
Captaining the squad this season will be Michael Eagar, while his deputies will be Tyson Holmes and Brad Norton who have both been named Vice Captain.
Speaking to smfc.com.au, SMFC Football Director Nicholas Maikousis said “Chris Taylor has put together a formidable squad that is a blend of youth and experience. With the introduction of the National Premier League and FFA Cup, there is much excitement at Lakeside as we have much to play for this season.”
Alan Kearney (Dandenong Thunder), Bryan Bran (Netherlands), Carl Recchia (Pascoe Vale), Fernando De Moraes (retired), Luke Hopper (UK), Rhys Meredith (Queensland), Nick Soolsma (Canada), Peter Gavalas (retired), Trent Rixon (Northcote City)
Andrew Mullett (Oakleigh Cannons), Andy Kecojevic (Springvale White Eagles), James Musa (Team Wellington, NZ), Jamie Reed (Chester, UK), Jason Saldaris (Perth SC), Kobbie Boahene (AIS), Leigh Minopoulos (Werribee City), Michael Eagar (Northcote City, Milos Lujic (Northcote City), Slaven Vranesevic (Springvale White Eagles), Graham Hockless (Port Melbourne Sharks), Joshua Meaker (SMFC Youth).