Western United has swooped on three talented under-25 players for its inaugural season in the A-League, starting later this year.
United has added speedy winger Connor Pain, central midfielder Josh Cavallo and central defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis for its first foray into the A-League.
Pain is a familiar figure to Victorian soccer followers.
The 25-year-old got his start in the Football Federation Victoria ranks with Malvern City and Bentleigh Greens.
After impressing in his time with the Greens, Pain was called up for Melbourne Victory, where he played 53 games and scored three goals.
Since departing the Victory in 2016 in a swap deal with Mitch Austin, Pain has played 70 games in a struggling Central Coast Mariners side, scoring 10 goals.
Despite being born in Hong Kong, Pain played for Australia’s under-20 and under-23 teams and one game for the Socceroos in 2013.
Western United assistant coach John Hutchinson said Pain’s A-League experience would be invaluable.
“We are very happy to secure Connor Pain,” he said. “Here is a young player that already has accumulated over 120 first team appearances and we believe he offers our new team a lot of options with his pace and ability out wide.”
Aspropotamitis has also been brought into Western United from the Central Coast Mariners.
He has shown promising signs at the Mariners in defence this season and has not yet reached his ceiling.
The 22-year-old’s first stint in the A-League was with Western Sydney Wanderers, where he played 43 games.
“We have a young central defender that has played over 50 first team games at two A-League clubs,” Hutchinson said.
“We can really see him developing into one of the key defensive positions in our team for many seasons to come.”
The youngest of the incoming trio is Cavallo.
The 19-year-old was a key playmaker for Melbourne City in the youth league last year, leading to selection for the Young Socceroos squad at the Asian Football Confederation under-19 championship qualifiers.
“He is another bright star on the Australian football scene and this is a great signing for us,” Hutchinson said. “Those who follow Josh will know he is an industrious midfielder that has a great eye for scoring spectacular goals.
“Our fans are going to love him.”