A-League expansion club Auckland FC reveal six more signings

posted in: A-League (Men), News

Auckland FC have confirmed the addition of six more players to their men’s A-League squad for the club’s inaugural season.

Three of the signings are members of the recently-selected national team to compete at July’s OFC Men’s U-19 Championship.

READ MORE: New Zealand squad named for OFC Men’s U-19 Championship tournament >>>>

All six are joining on scholarship contracts and are from Northern League clubs. They are:

  • Luis Toomey (22), attacking midfielder, signed from Eastern Suburbs. Formerly with the Wellington Phoenix youth set-up, he spent six months with Finnish club Pallo-Iirot.
  • Liam Gillion (21), winger, signed from Auckland City. Gillion joined Auckland City after playing junior football for Manurewa and youth football for Wellington’s Western Suburbs.
  • Finn McKenlay (18), midfielder, signed from Eastern Suburbs. Previous clubs include Birkenhead United, East Coast Bays and Onehunga Sports. Selected for the national team for July’s OFC Men’s U-19 Championship.
  • Adama Coulibaly (19), midfielder/defender, signed from Western Springs. He’s been included in the New Zealand team for the OFC Men’s U-19 Championship in July.
  • Oliver Middleton (18), midfielder, signed from Auckland United, where he has come through the club’s academy. Another selected for the national team for the OFC Men’s U-19 Championship.
  • Jonty Bidois (19), forward, signed from Tauranga City. One of the leading goalscorers in this season’s Northern League, he played for Christchurch United in last year’s Men’s National League.

The latest signings bring the Auckland FC squad to 12.

Main photo: From left, Luis Toomey, Jonty Bidois, Finn McKenlay, Adama Coulibaly, Liam Gillion and Oliver Middleton.

Tauranga City’s Jonty Bidois … has landed a contract with Auckland FC. Photo: Jackie Tran Van / Phototek.

Announcing the signings, Auckland FC said they would be “the first of many up-and-coming talents who be a part of the Auckland FC scholarship pathway.”

Head coach Steve Corica said: “These new appointments just reinforce our commitment to Auckland and football in New Zealand.

“Developing local players is at the core of what we do, and these early announcements reflect that.

“What we’re building here is momentum and today is another significant milestone for the club.”

Previously-announced signings are:

  • Cam Howieson (29), midfielder, long-time captain of OFC Champions League winners Auckland City, and 17 caps for the All Whites.
  • Francis De Vries (29), left back, currently with Eastern Suburbs and six appearances for New Zealand.
  • Michael Woud (25), goalkeeper, most recently with Japanese club Kyoto Sanga, and six caps for the national team.
  • Jesse Randall (21), left wing, currently with national champions Wellington Olympic, and an U-23 New Zealand international.
  • Tommy Smith (34), defender, pro career with clubs in the UK and United States, and 52 caps for New Zealand.
  • Max Mata (23), striker, overseas experience in Switzerland, Estonia, Ireland and UK, with 10 appearances for the All Whites.

Who is still to come?

Auckland FC head coach Steve Corica says he and the club’s director of football, Terry McFlynn, have been targeting the signing of the best New Zealand players first.

He told NewstalkZB’s D’Arcy Waldegrave they needed to secure New Zealand players before their current clubs got them under contract, “so we can’t get them.”

“I think the foreigners for us would normally come a little bit later, probably in July/August sometime, so there’ll be players available, and good players available around that time,” Corica said.

LISTEN: Foreign signings likely to come later, says Auckland FC coach Corica >>>>

Auckland FC is majority owned by Texas billionaire Bill Foley, with former All Black Ali Williams and businesswoman Anna Mowbray as local co-owners.

Known as the Black Knights, Auckland FC will play their home games at Mt. Smart’s Go Media Stadium when the 2024-25 season starts in October 2024.

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