He was a major part of Adelaide United's breakthrough Hyundai A-League Championship triumph and now after a two-year spell abroad, Craig Goodwin is pumped to be back for the Reds ahead of the 2018/19 Season.
Goodwin has spent the last two seasons in the Netherlands, playing in the Eredivisie with Sparta Rotterdam.
But the 26-year-old signed a three-year deal to return to Adelaide last month and looms as a key addition for Marco Kurz's squad.
“Obviously really excited to get back into and be in the group with the boys and start the hard work for the coming season,” Goodwin said as he returned for pre-season training this week.
“I think the work I’ve done in the off-season has helped me prepare," the winger added.
“There’s a lot of running obviously involved with pre-season and the sessions are quite long too.
“We’ve been doing a lot of double sessions, so it’s all the ground work that we need for the coming season to be as fit as possible and put the foundations in for a good season.”
Goodwin's last season in the Hyundai A-League not only saw the Reds win the double, but he also claimed the Aurelio Vidmar Club Champion Award as Adelaide's player of the year.
During his time with Sparta - where Goodwin scored six goals and had six assists - he feels he developed his game an returns a more well-rounded player.
And he believes he'll need to improve with the standard of the Hyundai A-League getting better every year.
“Obviously I’ve learned a lot from my time overseas and you can see that the level here in Australia is getting better and better,” Goodwin explained.
“We’ve got a lot of young players here so there’s a job for me and the older players to do is to help them grow but it’s definitely a good level.”
Goodwin's first competitive match back in Adelaide colours is likely to come in the FFA Cup, with the Reds drawn to play fellow Hyundai A-League side Central Coast Mariners in the Round of 32.
The speedy winger/left-back was part of the Reds squad that won the inaugural FFA Cup back in 2014.
“Very excited, obviously the Cup competition really shortens the pre-season a bit because it’s very long,” he said.
“So it’s very exciting to get into the FFA Cup and hopefully have a good run there and try and win the competition.”
- Lead image by Chris Kelly Photographic