Central Coast Mariners Gain Antony Golec

CCM Media Release: Central Coast Mariners Gain Antony Golec

The Central Coast Mariners are excited to announce the signing of Australian defender, Antony Golec ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season.

The 27-year-old defender returns to Australia after plying his trade abroad with FC Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldovan National Division), Persepolis FC (Persian Gulf Pro League) & most recently Bucheon FC 1995 (K League Challenge).

The Australian Youth International has signed a one-year-deal and will be known to Australian football fans for his 59 combined appearances in the Hyundai A-League with Sydney FC, Adelaide United, Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory.

Golec made his Hyundai A-League debut with Sydney FC against Melbourne Victory in 2008 and was part of the Western Sydney Wanderers’ 2014 AFC Champions League title and the club’s fifth placed finish in the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup campaign.

During the 2016 January transfer window, Golec’s European adventure began where he signed with Sheriff Tiraspol in the Moldovan National Division. Golec went on to play a crucial role in the club’s Championship winning season and qualification to the UEFA Champions League playoffs.

Paul Okon worked with Golec as Assistant Coach of the Olyroos in 2012 and says that he has what it takes to lead the younger defenders. Okon welcomed Golec’s defensive attributes and assessed him first hand after bringing Golec into the squad for training during May.

“Antony is a left-sided stopper which I’ve always had in my teams,” Okon said. “Having a left sided defender when you’re in possession gives you the advantage of being able to reverse pass which is sometimes difficult for a right-sided stopper playing on the left. “He gives us a lot more height at the back, he’s a big, strong defender who is quite aggressive and we’re hopeful that within our playing style and the way we train that Antony will improve as a footballer. He’s at a good age where he’s accumulated a bit of experience in his travels, he’s won an ACL with the Wanderers but he’s still at an age where we think he will be able to learn.

“Golec surprised us actually, physically he really stood up when we trained quite hard. He hadn’t played for quite some time and we wanted to see how he would fit into our environment, into our training methods and we felt that he excelled. He was good in the group, he has a great attitude so from that perspective it was an easy decision once we had seen him here,” Okon said.

Golec is looking forward to doing battle in the Hyundai A-League after plying his trade in Europe and Asia.


“The last year and a half overseas has had its ups and downs,” Golec said. “I was in Europe and won the league in Moldova then the last eight months has been a nightmare to be honest so it is good to be back in the A-League. There’s no room for passengers in the A-League so you need to make sure you’re up to it, working hard and playing good football so I am looking forward to the challenge.

“I worked with Paul Okon during the London Olympic qualifiers with the Olyroos. I’ve enjoyed training here over the last few weeks, you can see he really has passion for the club and he really wants the club to achieve something next year. I think he did a very good job last season to get where they did.

“We want to finish in the top six next season – all the players and staff would agree that a top six finish is what we’re aiming for. Personally, I want to get games under my belt and get the enjoyment back into football.“I just want to get back in, enjoy my football, see where it takes me and hopefully experience a great season in the A-League. I will work hard and I know persistence pays off,” Golec said.

CCMariners - Kwabena Appiah Inks Contract Extension

CCM Media Release: Kwabena Appiah Inks Contract Extension

The Central Coast Mariners are excited to announce the contract extension of Kwabena Appiah who has put pen-to-paper on a new one year deal.

The lightning fast attacker will remain in Yellow & Navy until at least the end of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season thanks to his impressive campaign with the Mariners.

Starting the season as an impact substitute, Appiah worked hard to earn a regular place in Okon’s first 11 during the second half of the season and became fondly known by Mariners supporters for his marauding runs down the right-flank and never-say-die attitude in attack.

Appiah signed with the Mariners in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 pre-season which was a return of some-sorts after winning the 2011/12 Foxtel National Youth League title alongside the likes of Mitch Duke, Bernie Ibini and Tom Rogic to name a few.

The right-winger then attracted the attention of the newly formed Western Sydney Wanderers where he made his Hyundai A-League debut against the Mariners in their first ever-competitive match. Appiah also featured for Western Sydney in the 2013 Hyundai A-League Grand Final when the Mariners were crowned Champions.

Last season Appiah’s performances were rewarded with his first two goals in the Hyundai A-League, both against Adelaide United.

Appiah thanked the Mariners’ Coaching Staff and fans for their ongoing support who he believes, have helped him deliver the best season of his career.

“I'm extremely excited to finally confirm that I'll be staying with this great club next season, there was a reason I came back last season and it's great to extend my stay,” Appiah said.

“This season was obviously my best season of football playing under Paolo [Paul Okon] – I started off really slow but then grew into it,” Appiah said. “Over the last few years I struggled to find confidence within myself and never showed what I could do, but under Paolo, Ivan Jolic [Assistant Coach] and the Mariners fans this season, they all gave me the confidence I needed to play at levels that I never thought were possible. For that, I’m forever grateful, which is why it was a no brainer to stay and play under the duo again and continue to improve my game each day.

Appiah is enjoying life on the Central Coast and wants to see finals football back at Central Coast Stadium for the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season.

“My personal goals for next season are to obviously continue scoring goals and cementing that starting spot once again,” Appiah said. “As a collective unit, it's to help bring finals football back to the Mariners.

“I've enjoyed being back on the Coast, I moved up from Parramatta with my partner and I’m loving life here. Coming back to the Mariners and playing under Paolo has been nothing but a great adventure and I'm excited to kick on.

“I really hope the fans can continue to show their fantastic support that they not only showed me last season, but the whole team. I'm confident that with the signings the coaching staff bring in, we will be an exciting team and contend for a top six spot. I'll continue to give 100% every time I step on the field with that Yellow & Navy jersey on that I am so proud to wear,” Appiah said.

Okon was delighted to retain the services of Kwabena Appiah for another season and praised the 25-year-old speedster for his hard work and determination whilst saying the best is yet to come for ‘Kabsy’.

“Kwabena’s attitude and work ethic really won me over during the course of the season,” Okon said. “Whenever he was called upon, in our eyes, he delivered. We were delighted for him when he scored his first A-League goal and towards the back end of the season he was one of the first players on our team sheet.

“There’s definitely improvement in him, we saw that every day at training and more often than not training is what decides the line up on the weekend and his application at training allowed him to get to a level where he could perform consistently well for us. That’s part of the reason why we showed faith in him and offered him a new deal.

“At most professional clubs, players have to battle for spots. Last season we were in a good position where we had four very good wingers to choose from and as a coach it’s the best headache to have when you have a fit Trent Buhagiar and Kwabena Appiah to choose from and the team will only benefit from that,” Okon said.

Mariners sign Alan Baro

Sunday, 28 May 2017
Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah 

Central Coast Mariners Sign Alan Baro

The Central Coast Mariners have landed a major off-season signing in Alan Baro who will join the Yellow & Navy ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season (pending medical on arrival). Baro has signed a two-year-deal.

The experienced Spanish defender was a mainstay in Melbourne Victory’s back four last season that finished in second place only to be edged during a penalty shoot-out in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final. 

Baro is a proven defender who, before joining Melbourne Victory, earned more than a decade of experience plying his trade in Spain with the likes of Osasuna, Alicante and SD Ponferradina

At 31-years-of-age, Baro is Okon’s second foreign off-season signing alongside Dutch midfielder, Tom Hiariej who will both add a wealth of experience to the Mariners’ side.

Okon spoke highly of Baro and says that he is the perfect addition to the Mariners’ back four.

“We're delighted to sign Alan Baro,” Okon said. “Once we knew that he was being released from Melbourne Victory, he became our number one target to strengthen our defence.

“Not only is Alan a great defender but he will bring a wealth of experience to our team.

“His leadership on and off the field will be an asset to our club,” Okon said.

Speaking from Spain, Baro is excited to be staying in the Hyundai A-League and playing with the Central Coast Mariners for at least the next two seasons.

“I am very proud to sign for the Central Coast Mariners,” Baro said. “This is a great opportunity for me and my family to stay in Australia and we are so excited to come back and enjoy a new season in the Hyundai A-League. 

“I really enjoyed my first season in the Hyundai A-League and to be a part of the finals series over the past month was an amazing experience for me.

“This season we want to compete every game – I want to help the team improve and I am confident we can achieve great things under Paul Okon. I am quite experienced so hopefully I can help guide the young players,” Baro said.

Mariners Land Dutch Midfielder, Tom Hiariej

CCM Media Release: Mariners Land Dutch Midfielder, Tom Hiariej

The Central Coast Mariners can today announce the impending arrival of 28-year-old Dutch midfielder, Tom Hiariej ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season (pending medical on arrival).

Hiariej is set to arrive on the Central Coast from FC Groningen, a club that competes in the Eredivisie (top tier of football in the Netherlands) after agreeing to terms on a two-year-deal.

With over 200 competitive appearances under his belt, Hiariej is a one club man who plied his trade with the FC Groningen youth academy and debuted for the Green & White in September 2007 (cup match) scoring his first goal against NEC Nijmegen in 2008. Indeed, Hiariej’s only senior club is Groningen, he also spent two short loan stints with FC Emmen (Netherlands) & SC Cambuur (Netherlands).

Hiariej has also represented the Netherlands at youth level, having featured in the Dutch under 17s campaign who placed third in the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, held in Peru.

Although Hiariej has spent the entirety of his playing career in the Netherlands, the talented midfielder is half Dutch and half Indonesian (His mother is Dutch and his father is ‘Moluccan’ – was born in the Maluku Islands of Indonesia).

Earlier in his career, Hiariej was played predominantly as a right-back but in recent years has played his best football as a central midfielder and will add much needed experience to Okon’s midfield stocks with the retirement of outgoing skipper, Nick Montgomery.

After spending 10 years with one club, Hiariej is looking forward to arriving on the Central Coast for his newest challenge and already has a great feel for what he can expect from the Mariners.

“I am really excited for this challenge and I hope I can really add something to the Mariners and football in Australia,” Hiariej said. “Coming to the Mariners, we want to be playing finals football. For me personally, it’s a new adventure and I look forward to learning a lot from the Australian culture and the people.

“I know the Mariners are a club that like to give young players a chance. I have played over 200 competitive games at the highest level in Holland so hopefully I can use that experience to help the younger players in the squad develop and become better players.

“I’ve seen photos of Central Coast Stadium and it is amazing.

“After speaking with the coach, I know the Mariners are a community club, it’s like a big family which was great to hear because Groningen, my old club, is also a community club.

“I spoke with Paul after our game, he came across as a really nice guy,” Hiariej said. “As a player, he also played at the highest level in Europe and from what he’s told me about the Central Coast Mariners, I can’t wait to get there for pre-season and meet my new teammates,” Hiariej said.

Although he has featured most recently as a central midfielder, Hiariej is a versatile player who offers options across the back four and midfield.

“I spent 10 years with Groningen, I’m a central midfielder but can also play right-back or centre-back,” Hiariej said. “I’m not a big player but I’m skilful, what I will bring to the Central Coast Mariners is aggression,” Hiariej said.

Hiariej is expected to arrive on the Central Coast for day one of pre-season later in June where he will complete his medical at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence.

During Paul Okon’s scouting trip to Europe he watched Hiariej play against PSV Eindhoven before meeting with him and discussing the opportunity to trade the green and white of Groningen for the Yellow & Navy of the Mariners.

Okon was impressed by Hiariej’s characteristics both on and off the pitch.

“We were actually looking at Tom in the January transfer window and were very close to signing him,” Okon said. “At the time, Groningen decided that they wouldn’t release him which was disappointing for us because we thought he really would have added value at that time of the season. We’ve kept dialogue since and followed him throughout the remainder of the season.

“We knew that Tom was open to the idea of exploring an opportunity and adventure in a country like Australia and it’s exciting to have him here for at least the next two seasons.

“Tom is a versatile player but we have predominantly looked at him as a central midfielder – he’s a ball playing midfielder, he’s very good in tight areas and his work rate is very high so he ticks the boxes in terms of what we were looking for, so now it’s a question of him adapting and settling in which I don’t think will be a problem. He will be here from the start of pre-season and will have plenty of time.

“Part of the conversation with him was making him aware that the Mariners have a number of young players, we have a philosophy of giving them an opportunity and he would have to play a leadership role because of his experience having played so many games in the Dutch first division. He was receptive of that and really wanted that responsibility which is important because we lose our captain who gave us that experience.

“Without putting too much pressure on Tom, they are certainly big boots to fill in terms of being a leader in that midfield and he’s happy to assume that responsibility.

“Nowadays it’s rare to find players who have played at one club and that again shows that Tom is a loyal person and after meeting with him and talking to him I could tell straight away that he will fit straight in to the Central Coast Mariners.

“Our fans should be excited, we are all excited to see what Tom can bring to the Mariners both on and off the pitch,” Okon said.

Audio Feed
Paul Okon interview: click here to download 

 

Central Coast Mariners Confirm Player & Staff Changes

Central Coast Mariners Confirm Player & Staff Changes

The Central Coast Mariners have today confirmed changes to the club’s football department with the completion of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season.

Jacques Faty, Mickael Tavares & Scott Galloway will all part ways with the Mariners following the conclusion on their contracts.


Brice Johnson (Head of Strength & Conditioning) and Andrew Nealon (Head of Medical) have both made the decision to finish their duties with the Mariners to pursue other opportunities. Nealon’s physiotherapy centre on the Central Coast (Aspire Physiotherapy Centre) has grown into a full-time commitment whilst Johnson will commence a strength & conditioning business venture of his own.

The Central Coast Mariners would like to thank all players and staff members who have been a part of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season and wish them all the best on their future endeavours.

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