New Western United signing James Delianov grew up in Melbourne inspired by a Socceroo keeper who made his name at Victory.
Delianov, whose name derives from a Macedonian background (“though there also may be some Russian in there somewhere!”), grew up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, turning out for Bundoora United, a club where his brother and sister also played.
He became one to watch – making the state team, playing in the nationals and graduating to the FFA Centre of Excellence.
The tall keeper is rated on the national scene, having been selected for the Joeys at the 2015 U17 World Cup in Chile (alongside future City teammate Daniel Arzani).
Delianov was also between the posts for the Young Socceroos during the recent AFC U19 Championships, playing every match.
United, who unveiled inaugural head coach Mark Rudan this morning, have recruited a mix of youthful Aussie future stars and established names.
It’s an impressive squad on paper as they prepare for day one of pre-season in July.
Marquee attacking midfielder and Greek World Cup player Panagiotis Kone, brought in from Serie A, is the big name.
Former Socceroo and SPL favourite Scott McDonald, Ersan Gulum, the Turkish international, as well as current Socceroo Josh Risdon round out an impressive raft of early business.
Now the talented 19-year-old, 190cm keeper with the reputation as a future Socceroo is ready to push Polish star Filip Kurto for a starting spot at Victoria’s newest A-League outfit.
It couldn’t be tougher. But that’s all part of the appeal of United for Delianov. Quality players, quality coach, and a quality environment.
“I’m excited to be working with Filip," he said. "He’s had an exceptional season with the goalkeeper of the year award.
“I can’t wait to learn off him but I want to nibble at his feet and push for that number one spot. Ever since I was young I always enjoyed making the big saves, especially penalties.
Delianov added: “It’ll be challenging but I look forward to it.
“Moving to United was a no-brainer."