Managing editor of www.a-league.com.au Aidan Ormond says the new Hyundai A-League season will take Australia’s elite domestic competition to higher levels of quality and excitement.
Season 2016/17 will confirm the A-League’s inexorable rise in Australia’s sporting landscape.
Why? Well, there are three reasons.
First, there's nothing like a charismatic superstar to get those turnstiles clicking and viewers excited.
And in Timothy Filiga Cahill, the Hyundai A-League has that man. Who doesn’t want to see Timmy play in their city this season?
If you were a City fan, you’d be on cloud nine right now. Fornaroli and Cahill may just drive them onto a first Championship.
But in the A-League – and this is the beauty of the competition – you never really know who’ll win silverware.
And when you look at club rosters and new additions across the league, with new stars from Europe, South America and returning Aussies keen to be part of the revolution, that theory is confirmed.
One other Australian player I think will also light up this season is Brett Holman.
The one-time Socceroo is a superb acquisition for Brisbane Roar.
The 32-year-old has scored goals at World Cups and has club experience in the Eredivisie and Middle East as well the EPL with Aston Villa.
Holman working those third man runs off Socceroo striker and goal machine Jamie Maclaren? That’s going to excite the fans.
What's more, Socceroos Adam Taggart and Rhys Williams (Perth), Bernie Ibini (Sydney FC), James Holland (Reds), Rob Cornthwaite (Wanderers), Neil Kilkenny (City) and James Troisi (Victory) and this season's returning Aussie contingent is a strong one.
Add our rising stars such as potential future Socceroo Liam Rose at Mariners, and it’s a powerful green and gold tinge to the new season.
Second, there’s the new Latin connection: Nicolas Martinez and Bruno Pinatares at Wanderers, Nicolas Colazo and Fernando Brandan at City are impressive. Then there's Marco Rojas at Victory, the flying Kiwi with Chilean blood coursing through him.
And what would a league be without Brazilians? Bobo at Sydney FC and Championship winner Henrique, back and now a Red after a brief spell in Malaysia, will light up the goal-scorers' charts.
Add a dash of European class in Spaniards Alan Baro (Victory), Sergi Guardiola (Reds), Aritz Borda (Wanderers), Manuel Arana (Roar) and Italian defender Marco Rossi (Phoenix) to that mix, while Jets’ Danish international striker Morten Nordstrand will be even better in this his first full season in Australia.
With former La Liga striker, Spanish superstar Diego Castro (Perth) back for a second season alongside Andy Keogh, it all makes for an eye-catching foreign roster across the league.
Thirdly, it is everything around the players.
Talk to the Hyundai A–League coaches and they all talk about “the process” – improving key components, getting them right in order to reach outcomes.
That’s the key to progressing the A-League across the board.
Better players, better coaches, better facilities, better sports science, better training methods, better analysis, better youth development, better everything.
Compare this season to the first in the A-League back in 2005/06 and you’ll realise an arc of development that has been extraordinary in just 11 seasons.
On every measurement on and off the pitch, the league is stronger, faster, tactically mature and technically better than ever before.
So, with the new players and the quality of preparation and processes at the clubs, it's a league going places. And this season will be the best yet.
And it all starts on Friday night October 7.