Vanstrattan signs for Gold Coast

New Hyundai A-League club Gold Coast United has signed its first player - former Juventus goalkeeper Jess Vanstrattan.

New Hyundai A-League club Gold Coast United has signed its first player - former Juventus goalkeeper Jess Vanstrattan.

Vanstrattan, an outstanding junior in Australia, back-up 'keeper Scott Higgins and goalkeeping coach Graham Ross were unveiled as the club's first big signings on Tuesday.

Vanstrattan, an international representative at Under-17 and Under-20 level, returns to Australia after a seven-year stint in Italy with Verona FC and Juventus.

A desire to be part of the Socceroos set-up was a major reason behind the move, the 26-year-old said.

Coach Miron Bleiberg said Vanstrattan had been the club's No.1 target ahead of its debut season in the Hyundai A-League in 2009-10.

"At Juventus he has been the understudy to arguably the top goalkeeper in the world (Gianluigi Buffon) so he has learned his trade from a master," he said.

"We had the opportunity to sign other established goalkeepers, but Jess has a very good pedigree and he is an ideal fit for our club."

Higgins has played with clubs such as Queensland, Scottish Premier League side Falkirk and Israeli Maccabi Herzliya.

Ross was a goalkeeper in the Brisbane Strikers' premiership team in 1997.

Meanwhile, United also announced a memorandum of understanding with leading Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan FC.

Under the agreement, United will play its first competitive match against the Chinese side next June in the Bird's Nest and be involved in an 'exchange system that will include players, coaching methods and ideas, technologies and marketing'.