Long road pays off for Kostopoulos

Adelaide United FC has taken another step towards finalising its squad for next season after signing striker Evan Kostopoulos to a one year deal.

Adelaide United FC has taken another step towards finalising its squad for the Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Season after signing young local striker Evan Kostopoulos to a one year deal.

Adelaide born and bred, Kostopoulos becomes the seventh South Australian confirmed in the Reds- squad for next season. The 21 year old could not wipe the smile off his face after securing a Hyundai A-League contract with the club from his home State.

But what has made it even more special for Kostopoulos is that he has eventually reaped the rewards having been a member of United-s Youth squad for the past three seasons and also a regular train on player with the senior squad.

“I-ve been training with the seniors for two and half years and had a few injury setbacks along the way, so it has been a long road but has finally paid off,” Kostopoulos said.

“It means a lot. Being from this State and getting a senior contract with this club, a club that I saw play its first ever game in 2003 from up in the stands and dreamed about how amazing it would be to play here - it is a huge privilege.”

Kostopoulos- persistence and hard work certainly did not go unnoticed by the Reds- coaching staff, Head Coach John Kosmina believing the lively forward has shown that he definitely has something to offer.

“Evan is someone who has had to wait a long time for his opportunity but now he has got it and he deserves it,” Kosmina said.

“Now he-s got an opportunity to show what he-s made of and we-re confident he-s got what it takes to play at this level.”

Kostopoulos- lucky break came when he was playing in Adelaide-s local competition and was invited to trial for United-s Youth Team by inaugural Coach Joe Mullen prior to the second season of the National Youth League.

“Getting picked in the Youth Team came out of nowhere and from there everything turned around,” Kostopoulos said.

“In the trials for the Youth Team I was on the bench but then I scored a few goals and ended up getting selected. I-ve got to thank my Dad for pushing me and it has paid off in the end.”

But even once he was in United-s youth setup Kostopoulos still had to be patient. Not selected in United-s first four National Youth League games of that season, he gradually started to get more time on the pitch and with that his confidence also grew.

As he continued to be nurtured by current Youth Coach Michael Valkanis, Kostopoulos was named in the Reds- 2010 AFC Champions League squad and soon after was given his Hyundai A-League debut by Aurelio Vidmar on 30 January 2010 as he came off the bench against the Wellington Phoenix in front of 19,258 people in Christchurch.

Since that game, Kostopoulos has finished top of United Youth Team-s leading scorer twice and also gone on to make a further five appearances for the Reds- senior team.

His debut start came against Melbourne Heart in the final round of last season, while he also featured in the AFC Champions League Play-Off win over Persipura and has come off the bench in the Reds- last two ACL matches.

Kostopoulos- contract officially begins on July 1.

Evan KOSTOPOULOS DOB 7 May 1990 (Adelaide) Age 21 Position Striker Height 182cm Weight 74kg

Club History Adelaide United Youth Team Adelaide Comets Croydon Kings Adelaide Olympic West Adelaide

Additional Information Hyundai A-League Appearances - 3 Made his debut Hyundai A-League appearance off the bench against the Wellington Phoenix in Christchurch on 30 January 2010 Adelaide United Youth Team leading goal scorer 2010/11, 2011/12 (joint leading scorer)