SEAFORD United and Mount Eliza will play in State 5 South next season.
Both clubs were given the welcome news from Football Victoria last week after undergoing a rigorous application process.
South East United had withdrawn from State 5 South as FV screened the applicants thereby reducing the competition to 10 teams so the inclusion of the two local clubs restores the league’s 12-team format.
For Seaford it’s a return to State League after a one-year absence while Mount Eliza will compete in State League for the first time.
Seaford is yet to formally announce its senior coach for the upcoming campaign but has agreed terms with its preferred candidate.
He is well-known in local football circles and will be assisted by another well-known local in former Frankston Pines and Peninsula Strikers player Steve Keenan who was assistant coach of Mentone last season.
Keenan and the senior coach were due to meet as we went to press in order to discuss the players to target for their senior squad.
Mount Eliza has hit the ground running and last week announced that Bryce Ruthven was its new senior coach assisted by Stan Packer and Amir Osmancevic.
Ruthven, 33, has previously held the position of senior coach with Churchill in the Latrobe Valley Soccer League and was an assistant NPL coach in Queensland.
Packer is best known for his involvement with Rosebud Heart and Somerville Eagles while Osmancevic is a former Dandenong Thunder, Dandenong City and Mornington striker.
“Amir hasn’t played for a couple of years but we’re pretty excited about having him on board,” Ruthven said.
“Not just in terms of his football knowledge but also as a player in State 5.
“I would say he’d be one of the better players at that level.”
Ruthven is eyeing success from the outset and has arranged eight pre-season games so far.
“When I came on board Mount Eliza had that stigma of being a Bayside League club and I want to make a statement that we’re a State League club now and a competitive one.
“We’re not here to make up the numbers.
“We’re here to finish as high up the ladder as we can and if that leads to promotion then so be it.
“A lot of the boys we’ll have in the squad are boys we have at the club already and we’re looking at adding five or six quality boys like Amir.”
It’s understood that Packer initiated contact with Mount Eliza and put Ruthven’s name forward to president Justin Sheppard.
One of Mount Eliza’s State 5 rivals, Rosebud, recently announced that Paul Truman was its new senior coach.
Truman holds a UEFA A licence and has coached at South Dandenong (now Dandenong Thunder), Bentleigh Greens, Bulleen, Langwarrin, Mornington and Seaford United.
He has mainly worked in the NPL junior boys’ programs and takes over from Ryan Monk and Stef Papaluca.
“After speaking to me they said they wouldn’t interview anyone else and offered me the job,” Truman said.
“After the Seaford debacle last year my immediate task is to hopefully ensure that we have two teams (seniors and reserves) to put on the pitch.
“I’m having a meet and greet with the players on Tuesday this week.
“I’ve got a few players coming from my connections at Mornington and all the other players I’ve spoken to have said they are interested in coming down and having a look.”
In NPL2 news Langwarrin has quietly gone about the business of revamping its senior squad after the departures of Ryan Paczkowski, Fraser Maclaren, Marcus Holmes, Kieran Dover, Sammy Orritt and Ramazan Tavsancioglu.
Archie McPhee, James Burgess and Charlie Fry agreed terms a couple of months ago and have been joined recently by five other newcomers in Josh Varga, Nathan Cook, Thomas Podaridis, Luke Goulding and Brad Blumenthal.
Varga is an attacking midfielder from Nunawading City via Melbourne Victory, Cook is a central defender from Dandenong City, Podaridis is a central defender from Springvale White Eagles, Goulding has returned from Mornington and former Frankston Pines and Mornington left winger Blumenthal has been signed from Sydenham Park.
Don’t be surprised if they are joined by Mornington striker Josh Hine.
It’s understood that Hine was at Langy training last week and was talking to the club’s main sponsor, Greg Kilner of Premier Builders.
Hine is waiting for permanent residency and Langy already has locked in its three visa spots to be taken up by captain Rogan McGeorge, Tom Youngs and McPhee.
Langwarrin’s 2023 league season kicks off on Saturday 18 February with a home game at Lawton Park against Kingston City at 7pm.
Langy’s next five games are away from home due to planned roadworks on Barretts Road.
In State 4 news Somerville Eagles last week announced that it had signed forward Marcus Anastasiou from Skye United.
“Marcus is a fantastic addition,” Somerville senior coach Adam Steele said.
“He’s a winger but he’s really an all-round striker and we could even play him in midfield if we needed to.”
The other names linked to Somerville are those of Jake Meggs, Coby Vowels and Peter Photopoulos.
“Jake and Coby were with Pines ressies,” Steele added.
“Jake’s a left back and he plays way above his years.
“Coby’s a right winger but I haven’t had a good look at him yet and Pete’s a left winger who previously played with Box Hill.
“He hasn’t played for about five years but he’ll be another good signing – an older head in the group.”