Melbourne City FC have signed promising teenager Steve Kuzmanovski ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season. The 18-year-old winger, who has been capped for his country at the U17 and U20 level for the Joeys and Young Socceroos, joins City on a professional deal. The club have pulled off an audacious raid on Western Sydney Wanderers signing attacking midfielder Kuzmanovski on a two-year deal.
A product of the Australian Institute of Sport, Kuzmanovski spent time with Melbourne City at the conclusion of his AIS scholarship before playing last season with the Western Sydney Wanderers NYL team.
Kuzmanovski, 18, started the past season in the National Youth League but as the Wanderers’ hectic playing schedule took a serious toll on the senior group, he and defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis were drafted in from the junior ranks by coach Tony Popoovic to become regulars in the second half of the season.
“We are excited about Steve joining the club for the 2015/16 season. He will bring added depth to our forward line,” coach John van’tSchip said. “And although he is still young, he has the ability to become an important player for us next season.”
Kuzmanovski debuted in the A-League on January 6 this year, playing eight matches during the 2014/15 season, including three starts. Following his call-up to the underage national team this year, Kuzmanovski scored on debut in a friendly match against Panama at Waikato Stadium.
The news will come as a major shock to Wanderers officials, who expected that Kuzmanovski would pen a professional deal with the club who gave him his start in the A-League. While the move will be seen as surprising by many, Kuzmanovski – who has already been capped for Australian at under-17 and under-20 levels – spent time with City at the conclusion of his AIS scholarship, training with the first team before agreeing to join the Wanderers’ youth team.
Speaking about his move, Kuzmanovski said: “It’s a new challenge for me coming from Sydney. It’s a privilege to be here and I can’t wait to get started. I came here to win and I know Melbourne City are hungry to achieve as well so I will do whatever it takes to win.”
The Wanderers will go into next season with a host of new faces after cutting ties with Iacopo La Rocca, Ante Covic, Jason Trifiro, TomiJuric, Antony Golec, Nikita Rukavytsya, KeremBulut, Nick Ward, Nick Kalmar and Adrian Madaschi last month.