Western United FC: Every signing from the Hyundai A-League's newest club
Western United FC are ready for their inaugural Hyundai A-League charge.
Head coach Mark Rudan has assembled an impressive roster of players in Melbourne's western suburbs.
Here we review all of the Victorians' recruits ahead of their first Hyundai A-League match, which is away to Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, October 13.
Who have Western United FC signed?
Could the Italian star be the final piece of the puzzle for coach Mark Rudan?
There's no doubting his quality, which has seen him play 17 times for Italy as well as long stints in the Serie A, as well as with West Ham in the Premier League.
SIGNING NEWS: Italian star links with Western United FC
The 36-year-old is sure to have United fans on the edge of their seats with his deadly left foot and his incredible ability from set-pieces and scoring from long range.
He is coming off an exceptional season with Livorno in Serie B, scoring 10 goals and providing seven assists to ensure the club avoided relegation.
One of the most dependable defenders in the history of the Hyundai A-League, Durante will link up once more with his former Wellington Phoenix boss Mark Rudan when he takes to the field in 2019/20 as a Western United FC player.
SIGNING NEWS: Durante joins the Western United adventure
The 37-year-old parted company with Phoenix in mid-June after 11 years in the Kiwi capital. During that time he became a New Zealand citizen and has gone on to represent the All Whites on 24 occasions.
A Championship-winner with Newcastle Jets in 2008 – picking up the Joe Marston Medal in the Grand Final – he has played 313 games in the Hyundai A-League, more than any other player.
"I’m looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and into a new environment where I believe I can add significant value," he said after signing up with the Victorian club on June 17.
The Hyundai A-League's newest club turned heads around the country when they announced the signature of Greek international and experienced Serie A veteran.
Kone, 31, pledged his allegiance on the 1st of February and will bring a host of experience to Australia when the 2019/2020 campaign gets underway.
SIGNING NEWS: Western Melbourne Group announce international marquee
The midfielder starred for Greece at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and has played 160 matches in the Italian top flight, where he captained Bologna.
He was also nominated for the 2013 FIFA Puskas award for an amazing bicycle kick he scored for Bologna against Napoli.
The Caltex Socceroo and experienced Hyundai A-League fullback became Western United FC's second signing 12 days after Kone put pen to paper.
Risdon, 26, has been one of the competition's most consistent fullbacks since his debut for Perth Glory in 2010.
SIGNING NEWS: Risdon becomes Western United's first Australian recruit
Since then, the Bunbury-born flyer has amassed 170 Hyundai A-League appearances and was one of Australia's most impressive performers at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Jertec - an eight time Croatian U-21 international - became Western United's fourth international signing on September 10.
He has spent the majority of his career in his native country, including for league giants Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split, and most recently for Varaždin - the town where he was born.
He has also played stints in Saudi Arabia, Slovenia and Kuwait.
The hugely experienced 31-year-old central defender brings international experience, as well as top-level European know-how with Turkish giants Besiktas, to Western United.
SIGNING NEWS: Western United snap up Turkey international
He is no stranger to the Hyundai A-League, having played 22 games with Adelaide United in 2017/18, and the club hope he will play a key role in developing the younger players as well as providing a calming presence at the back in their eagerly anticipated debut season.
The ex-Caltex Socceroos striker became United's 13th signing when he joined the club on May 8, the same day the club unveiled their new logo.
McDonald has scored 180 goals in over 500 first team games for clubs like Celtic, Motherwell, Middlesbrough and - most recenlty - Partick Thistle.
The 35-year-old also featured 26 times for the Caltex Socceroos.
A huge coup for United to lure the impressive Polish gloveman across the ditch after a superb season with Wellington Phoenix.
The 27-year-old enjoyed a superb first season in the competition under Mark Rudan at Phoenix, taking out the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Goalkeeper of the Year award.
SIGNING NEWS: Phoenix star Kurto swaps Wellington for Western United
He had joined Wellington in 2018 after moving from Eredivisie outfit Roda JC.
Bolstering Western United FC's defensive ranks is the former Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets defender, who inked his deal with Western United on the 7th of March.
Chapman, an Australia youth international, has spent the last couple of seasons in Korea, where he established himself as a K-League regular for Incheon United and Pohang Steelers.
SIGNING NEWS: Chapman joins Western United
A central defender by trade, the 24-year-old has been sometimes been deployed as a defensive midfielder and at fullback during his stint overseas.
That experience will undoubtedly benefit the Sydney-born player, who is ready to show what he's learned while plying his trade in one of Asia's toughest competitions.
The ex-Wanderers skipper joins an impressive list of defenders at the club after agreeing to a one-year deal to return to the City where he started his Hyundai A-League career.
The Australian youth international, 26, has played over 130 times in the competition.
SIGNING NEWS: Hamill joins Hyundai A-League newcomers Western United
He started his career in the Hyundai A-League with Melbourne Heart, playing two seasons with the club before moving to Korea.
The 23-year-old joined the club on March 12 as Western United FC's second-youngest signing.
Calver has made 44 appearances in the Hyundai A-League with Sydney FC and moves south on a two-year contract.
SIGNING NEWS: Sydney FC defender the latest to join Western United
He'll view the move to Western United FC as a chance for a fresh start and an opportunity to try and establish himself as a starting player in the Hyundai A-League.
Considered one of the most talented young players in the country, Pasquali rose to prominence in the Hyundai A-League at Melbourne Victory.
He starred for the club during the International Champions Cup tournament up against Italian champions Juventus in 2016.
SIGNING NEWS: Pasquali one of three youngsters to join United
His performance caught the eye of European scouts, with Dutch powerhouse Ajax signing Pasquali soon after, with the 19-year-old now back looking for a chance to play senior football regularly in the Hyundai A-League.
A gifted goalscorer, Stamatelopoulos has been playing with Adelaide United since 2017 after signing a two-year scholarship deal with the Reds.
APO DEPARTS: Young striker departs Adelaide United
He has gone on to make 16 appearances in the Hyundai A-League, scoring two goals, including one this season against Central Coast Mariners.
Stamatelopoulos has also made four appearances for Australia's U-20 team.
Pierias became the first player born in the 21st century to play in the Hyundai A-League when he debuted for Melbourne City against Brisbane Roar in February 2017 at the age of 16.
He is a versatile defender with national experience at the U-20 level, and played his junior football in western Melbourne at Keilor Park Soccer Club.
NEW START FOR PIERIAS: Talented fullback leaves Melbourne City
Pierias played a key part in City's Foxtel National Youth League Championship in 2017, in a team that also included Caltex Socceroos and Celtic starlet Daniel Arzani.
Yuel signed for Western United on March 25 from NPL Victoria outfit Bentleigh Greens.
Formerly of Adelaide City, Yuel signed for the Greens in November 2018 and impressed under the tutelage of ex-Bentleigh boss John Anastasiadis.
The 24-year-old is an exciting winger with pace to burn and an excellent delivery into the box.
Former Melbourne Victory winger Connor Pain will return to Melbourne with Western United following confirmation of his signature on April 2015.
The Central Coast Mariners star has been a regular for the Gosford-based Mariners after moving from Victory in 2016, making 73 appearances in total.
Talented midfielder Josh Cavallo was announced as part of a double signing with Connor Pain on April 15.
The 19-year-old Young Socceroos midfielder Cavallo joins the club after excelling for Melbourne City in the Foxtel Y-League for the past two seasons.
Making it three new signings on April 15, United confirmed the addition of defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis from the Central Coast Mariners.
The 22-year-old has played 13 games for the Gosford club in 2018/19 after making a strong recovery from an ACL injury.
Aspropotamitis is the fourth defender signed by the club as they edge closer to their introduction into the Hyundai A-League.
The teenager became United's first goalkeeping acquisition after inking a two-year deal on Thursday, May 9.
Delianov made his Hyundai A-League debut during the 2018/19 Season and is the latest of a growing crop o youngsters to join the new club.
He was also between the sticks for the Young Socceroos during the recent AFC U/19 Championships, playing in every match.
Silky attacking midfielder Max Burgess became the second former Wellington Phoenix player to reunite with boss Rudan at Western United after inking a two-year deal on Monday, May 27.
Rudan plucked Burgess - a former youth product of Sydney FC - from Sydney Olympic last October, and after struggling to break into the team early in the season, the influential attacker enjoyed a strong finish to the campaign.
SIGNING NEWS: Burgess joins Rudan at Western United
Former Newcastle Jets fullback Ivan Vujica became an important left-sided signing for Western United when he penned his signature on June 24.
Vujica - a youth international for both Australia and Croatia - played 48 times for the Jets but left the club in search of more game time.
Mark Rudan heaped praise on the 22-year-old after capturing the talented left-back, indicating he could be a crucial part of Western United's inaugural campaign.
Western United fans learned on September 2 that Thierry would be playing in the Hyundai A-League for them next season – but not that one.
Local lad Thierry Iradukunda - not the Arsenal and France legend Henry – signed for the competition newcomers on a scholarship deal.
The 20-year-old Burundi-born midfielder previously spent time in the youth team of Melbourne Victory, where he won player of the year honours in 2017/18.
Another promising young Australian player joined Western United's squad with teenage midfielder Luke Duzel coming on board on a scholarship deal.
The 17-year-old, who hails from Melbourne’s west, joins the club from Melbourne City.
Duzel, whose father Ivan played in the NSL, is an attacking midfielder who has been part of the Joeys set-up under Trevor Morgan.
“It’s amazing - before I was traveling a long way to get to training [at Melbourne City] now when I train, it's literally down the road,” he told the club’s official website.
“I’m stoked, having a team out here and playing for them. The training centre is incredible and what the club is doing in the West is really going to catch people’s attention.”
The Hyundai A-League's all-time top goalscorer, Besart Berisha joined Western United on Saturday, 28 September.
It was revealed on the club's official social media channels that the 34-year-old had signed for Rudan's side, returning to Australia after a 13-month tenure in Japan.
The forward joined up with J-League outfit Sanfrecce Hiroshima in July 2018, a month after winning the 2018 Grand Final with Melbourne Victory, his fourth Hyundai A-League Championship.
But after struggling for match minutes in Hiroshima, Berisha is back in Australia, where he dons the colours of Victory's new cross-town rivals in their inaugural season.
Who is on the Western United coaching staff?
A huge success with Wellington Phoenix in 2018/19, his first season as a Hyundai A-League head coach, former Sydney FC and Adelaide United player Rudan led the club to a sixth-place finish on the ladder and their first Finals Series appearance in four years.
He was confirmed as Western United's first head coach on May 22, 2019, a few weeks after announcing his decision to return to Australia for family reasons.
Former Central Coast Mariner and Hyundai A-League legend John Hutchinson was confirmed as the club's assistant coach in January, joining Western United after two years coaching in the USA with the Seattle Sounders' USL side.
Hutchinson made more than 200 appearances in the Hyundai A-League, and led the Mariners to their maiden Championship in 2013.
The highly-rated Bentleigh Greens coach was made the new club's first signing back in January.
Anastasiadis will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table, having guided Bentleigh to a premiership (2016) and two championships (2015 and 2017) during his tenure.
An expert on all things Victorian football, Anastasiadis began his career in the National Soccer League with Heidelberg United before heading to Greek powerhouse PAOK, where he would rack up more than 200 games over a nine-year stint.
Experienced ex-Australia international goalkeeping coach Frank Juric joined Western United on Thursday, 23 May just hours after they unveiled Rudan as head coach.
He joined from Adelaide United, where he spent the past two seasons mentoring Reds 'keepers Paul Izzo and Daniel Margush.
The two-time Caltex Socceroo previously worked at Perth Glory and Melbourne Knights after hanging up the boots in 2009.
His playing career, more than a decade of which was spent in Germany, also included stints with Fortuna Dusseldorf and Hannover.
The club was officially named Western United Football Club back on February 14 after community consultation and an online poll on the club’s website and also conducted by News Limited.
Western United FC won out over other options including Western Melbourne Athletic, Westside Pride and Western Melbourne Warriors.
United also revealed their club colours on February 14, which will be a green and black playing strip.
While the club’s jersey design has yet to be determined, it’s understood the club will wear green and black stripes, while the away kit will be white.
In late May, WUFC announced a partnership with global brand Kappa for the supply of official training and playing apparel.
After month's of consultation with their fan base, the club unveiled their logo on Wednesday, May 8, opting to go with a design that focuses on the ‘W’ as the main design element.
But unlike many club logos, United’s breaks from convention of not being encased in a crest, which the club believes brings an “air of confidence”.