Who is Adelaide United’s new Danish import?

Adelaide United secured the signing of well-travelled Danish attacker Ken Ilso on Friday ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season.

The 31-year-old joins the Reds after a short stint at Malaysian club Penang, where he scored three goals in just six appearances.

SIGNING NEWS: Reds secure Danish striker

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Here’s a little more about the Reds’ new foreigner.


Ilso is no stranger to Australian players in his career having played alongside a couple, including a current Caltex Socceroo.

He moved to Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2011, the same time the club signed current Caltex Socceroos winger Robbie Kruse.

The duo both spent two seasons with the club before they were relegated to the 2.Bundesliga.

More recently, Ilso was a teammate of former Mariners and Sydney FC defender Zac Anderson at Malaysian side Kedah FA.

The pair were part of a side that lifted the Malaysian FA Cup and Super Cup before they were both released at the same time at the end of 2017.


Born in Solrod Strand in Denmark, Ilso played for several youth teams in Copenhagen but got his big break as a teenager when he was signed by Dutch club Heerenveen.

In three seasons in the Netherlands, Ilso made just a handful of appearances at both Heerenveen and PEC Zwolle (where he went on loan) before opting to return to his homeland.

Ken Ilso


After six years playing both in Denmark and then Germany, Ilso wanted to see a new part of the world and signed in China with Guangshou R&F, who were coached by former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson.

But it proved an ill-fated stay for the Dan, falling out with club chairman Zhang Li.

He scored just two goals in 16 CSL appearances before departing the club after just three months and moving to Singapore.

“One man owns everything and hemakese the decisions. Sven really wanted to keep me and I kept talking to the owner a lot of times regarding that; he thought I was good for the team,” Ilso said at the time.

“But the owner [Li] wanted a big target man as an attacker instead. In the end, there was nothing he can do.

“There were a total of five foreigners at the club, including me. The rest had longer contracts, while only mine had a clause in the contract that can be bailed out, which was unfortunate.”


The most prolific time of Ilso’s career came in 2015 and ’16 when he played in Singapore with Home United.

He scored a goal just 23 minutes into his S-League debut and it began a superb period for the striker.

In 51 appearances for the club, Ilso scored an impressive 35 goals, also helping the team to reach the 2015 Singapore Cup final where they were beaten by Albirex Niigata Singapore FC.


As well as being a professional footballer, Ilso is also pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Law with the Southern Danish University.

During his time away from training, he logs on to his only student portal and starts watching his video lectures.

“One of the reasons I am doing law because it is so wide in a jobs perspective. It gives so much of opportunities inside the football world as well – like an agent or a middle man or whatever you want to call it.” Ilso said in an interview with FourFourTwo in 2017.

“I just don’t want the possibility of only staying in football after I retire because I want to be able to do something else as well."