Central Coast Mariners have snapped up free agent goalkeeper Mark Birighitti after he was released by Melbourne City earlier this week.
Birighitti as signed a one year deal with the Mariners with experience in the Eredivisie with NAC Breda and in the UK with Swansea City.
The 28-year-old is an A-League veteran with 85 appearances in Australia’s top flight with Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets before his ill-fated move to City last season.
Birighitti returned to the A-League on a three year deal with City, expecting to be the first choice number one – but didn't play a single game all season under former coach Warren Joyce.\
Despite the arrival of new City coach Erick Mombaerts, Birighitti negotiated a contract release and quietly left the club earlier this week.
Reuniting with Central Coast Mariners keeper coach Jess Vanstrattan, Birighitti says that he can’t wait to arrive and get started in Gosford.
“This is a fantastic opportunity, I’m buzzing and I can’t wait to join the Mariners,” Birighitti said.
“I’ve spoken with the coaching staff and it seems like a perfect fit – their plan enticed me, it’s a historical club an ambitious club and getting the Mariners back to where they should be, is something I want to be a part of.
“I’ve worked with Jess before and he’s one of the best goalkeeping coaches I’ve ever worked with. Knowing that he’s at the club played a big part in my decision.
“The Mariners are a family club, I’ve heard that it’s a great playing group they’ve got there, a really tight group. We want to be successful and that’s why I am here.
“My main objective now is to work hard during the pre-season, have a great season and help the Mariners get back on that pedestal."
Head Coach Alen Stajcic welcomed Birighitti and touched on the importance of competition for places.
“We’re really excited to bring Mark to the club,” Stajcic said. “Successful teams have competition for places across the board and that’s no different in the goalkeeping ranks.
"We want the keepers to be pushing each other day in, day out. Mark’s CV speaks for itself.
"He has national team experience, played overseas in Holland, England and Italy, so we know what he’s capable of."
Birighitti will start training at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence next week.