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Adelaide United FC

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Adelaide United
Full nameAdelaide United Football Club
Nickname(s)The Reds
Founded12 September 2003; 20 years ago (2003-09-12)
GroundCoopers Stadium
ChairmanNed Morris[2]
ManagerCarl Veart
LeagueA-League Men
2023–248th of 12
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Adelaide United Football Club is a professional men's soccer club located in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. The club, nicknamed the Reds, was one of the eight founding members of the A-League Men and have competed in it concurrently since its formation. They currently hold a licence from the Australian Professional Leagues.[3] Established in 2003, the club was formed to replace Adelaide City and West Adelaide in the final season of the National Soccer League, and has remained the only A-League club from South Australia. Adelaide United's home ground is at Coopers Stadium in the inner north-western suburb of Hindmarsh.

Adelaide United won their first silverware in 2006, when they became premiers of the inaugural A-League season, finishing top of the ladder over Sydney FC by seven points. In 2008, the club became the first Australian side to reach the final of the AFC Champions League, being defeated by Gamba Osaka 0–5 across two legs and finishing in fifth place in the 2008 Club World Cup. The club won the first edition of the FFA Cup in 2014 with a 1–0 win at home over Perth Glory. Their first A-League title would come in 2016, defeating Western Sydney Wanderers 3–1 at Adelaide Oval in front of 50,119 spectators, the largest home crowd the club has played a competitive match in front of. Adelaide would become the first club to win back-to-back FFA Cups, defeating Sydney FC 2–1 in 2018 and Melbourne City 4–1 in 2019. The club remains the most successful team to ever play in the competition.

Adelaide United has a rivalry with Melbourne Victory, stemming from numerous altercations between players and coaches, as well as the two clubs' competitiveness in the early seasons of the A-League, culminating with Grand Final clashes in 2007 and 2009, both of which went the way of Victory. Adelaide United formerly held the record for the largest winning margin in an A-League Men match, having defeated North Queensland Fury 8–1 at home on 21 January 2011. The game was also the first and only instance where two players from the same team, Marcos Flores and Sergio van Dijk, achieved hat-tricks in a single match. They later matched their own record when they beat Newcastle Jets 7–0 at home almost exactly four years later.

In recent years, Adelaide United has grown a reputation of developing young players and selling them to overseas clubs. Notable examples include Nestory Irankunda's sale to Bayern Munich for a league record fee, Joe Gauci being bought by Aston Villa, Steven Hall joining Brighton & Hove Albion and Riley McGree signing for Club Brugge, all on transfer fees, as well as facilitating moves overseas for Louis D'Arrigo and Mohamed Toure.


2003–2005: Beginnings[edit]

In August 2003, Adelaide City withdrew from the National Soccer League (NSL), leaving Adelaide with no NSL presence for the first time since the league's inception in 1977. West Adelaide had previously withdrawn from the NSL in 1999. In response, Adelaide United was created on 12 September 2003, with real estate businessman Gordon Pickard funding the new club and former Soccer Australia and FIFA executive Basil Scarsella as chairman.[4]

On 13 September, former Brisbane Strikers and Newcastle Breakers manager John Kosmina was officially announced as the manager. Within a few weeks, a team was assembled, mostly with the remnants of the Adelaide City squad to compete in the clubs inaugural season.[5] On 17 October 2003, Adelaide United won its first NSL match against Brisbane Strikers, with a score of 1–0.

After a successfulhome-and-away season, including an unbeaten seven-match streak during November and December 2003, Adelaide United reached the NSL preliminary final, ultimately losing to Perth Glory. The NSL concluded at the end of the 2003–04 season after 28 seasons, with The Reds only participating in the final season. The governing body, Australian Soccer Association (later Football Federation Australia), shut down the league in preparation for the launch of the fully professional A-League almost 12 months later, on 26 August 2005.

2005–2010: Early days in the A league[edit]

Adelaide United was announced as one of eight teams to compete in the first season of the A-League, and along with the Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets, one of only three teams to survive from the National Soccer League's last season. United began preparation earlier than most of the other clubs and had announced two-thirds of the 20-man squad before February 2005.

The club focused on bringing several Adelaide-born players back to South Australia, such as Angelo Costanzo, Travis Dodd, and Lucas Pantelis, who had previously played for Adelaide City SC in the NSL. Shengqing Qu was signed by Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua as the club's "marquee" signing (a ruling allowing each club to pay one player outside the salary cap) in March 2005.

Aurelio Vidmar announced his retirement before the A-League had even started. He was replaced before the fifth round by striker Fernando from Brazil, a former 'player of the year' in the old NSL. By moving to Adelaide, he was reunited with former coach John Kosmina who introduced him to Australian audiences at the Brisbane Strikers.

Adelaide United Director Mel Patzwald established links with American club Miami FC, setting up a 'sister club' relationship—the first of its kind for an A-League club—with whom they played a number of friendlies and leading to the signings of several players. The club signed Diego Walsh and later Brazilian legend Romário for a five-game guest stint in November/December 2006. Cassio then signed with Adelaide and the club won the 2008 AFC Champions League and played in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup, where they finished fifth. A sister club relationship with Shandong Luneng was established, as well as part of the state government's ties with Shandong Province. Adelaide's youth team was invited to participate in the Weifang Cup as a result of the relationship.

Adelaide United finished as premiers in the inaugural season of the Hyundai A-League. However they lost to Sydney FC in the two-leg semi-final and then Central Coast Mariners 1–0 in the preliminary final at Hindmarsh.

Adelaide United started the season well by winning the A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup, beating reigning champions Central Coast Mariners 5–4 on penalties after 1–1 at the end of extra time. In the premiership season, they finished runners-up to Melbourne Victory. After a successful finals campaign, they advanced to the 2006–07 Grand Final, after winning 4–3 on penalties (1–1 AET) against the Newcastle Jets. Adelaide United played Melbourne Victory at the Telstra Dome in the Grand Final on 18 February 2007 losing 6–0. Coach John Kosmina was sacked the following wee owing to the poor performance at the grand final as well as for alleged abuse of two Channel 10 reporters.

The 2006–07 season also saw Brazilian international player Romário join the club for a four-game guest player stint.

Adelaide United was selected, along with Sydney FC, as the first Australian representative to play in the 2007 AFC Champions League. They received their Asian berth as A-League premiers. Adelaide was drawn into Group G with Chinese champion Shandong Luneng Taishan, Korean champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and Vietnamese league and Super Cup champions Gach Dong Tam Long An. Adelaide finished 3rd in its group.

The Reds launched into the season by winning the A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup, beating Perth Glory 2–1 at Hindmarsh Stadium. The club finished 6th place in the A-League, missing out on a final place as they concentrated their energies on maintaining a successful AFC Champions League campaign.

Adelaide United participated in the 2008 AFC Champions League after finishing runner-up in the 2006–07 regular season and finals series to Melbourne Victory. Adelaide was drawn into Group E, along with V-League and Super Cup winners Bình Dương, CSL champions Changchun Yatai, and K-League winners Pohang Steelers.

Adelaide became the first Australian team to progress to the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League. Adelaide drew 2007 Uzbek League Runners-up Bunyodkor in the semi-final after the Uzbeks knocked out Saipa in their quarter-final. In the first leg of the semi-final, Adelaide won 3–0 with Diego, Barbiero, and Cristiano scoring (via a penalty). The match was witnessed by 16,998 fans at Hindmarsh Stadium.[6] In the second leg of the semi-finals, Adelaide United lost 1–0 to FC Bunyodkor but went through to the final 3–1 on aggregate.[7]

In the two-legged final, they took on Japanese team Gamba Osaka who deposed 2007 champions Urawa Red Diamonds in the other semi-final.[8] Adelaide lost heavily over two legs to Gamba Osaka. The score was 3–0 to Gamba Osaka away and 2–0 to Osaka at home in Adelaide, the Japanese club winning 5–0 on aggregate.[9]

This result ensured that Adelaide would participate in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup either as the AFC representative or as the highest-placed non-Japanese team – as the rules do not allow more than one Japanese team to participate.[10]

The off-season saw the departure of Socceroo Bruce Djite and Nathan Burns. By the end of round 27, Adelaide had drawn level for first, equalling Melbourne's 38 points on the ladder. Needing to win 2–0 against the Central Coast Mariners away to win the premiership, The Reds only managed to secure a 1–0 win. Adelaide was pushed down to second because of the goal difference. The Reds, along with Melbourne Victory, Queensland Roar, and Central Coast Mariners, proceeded to the finals. In the Grand Final at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Adelaide United lost 1–0 to Melbourne Victory. The match was marred by the controversial 10th-minute sending off of Cristiano which ultimately contributed to the loss.[11][12]

An early highlight for the season was Adelaide's run to the final of the AFC Champions League against Gamba Osaka. Gamba Osaka entered the FIFA Club World Cup as the winner of the AFC Champion's League, freeing up the tournament's Japanese host position; Adelaide United, as runners-up of the AFC Champion's League, filled this position. Their first match was a play-off against 2007–08 OFC Champions League champions Waitakere United from New Zealand. The Reds defeated Waitakere 2–1 via two set plays from Paul Reid to secure a rematch with ACL rivals Gamba Osaka on 14 December – the third meeting between the two sides in three weeks.[13] The Reds fought valiantly and created many opportunities, in particular Travis Dodd,[14] but lost 0–1 after a 23rd minute shot by Gamba midfielder, Yasuhito Endō.[15] On 18 December, Adelaide played in the fifth-place play-off match against Egyptian club Al Ahly SC, defeating them 1–0 to be rewarded the fifth-place prize of US$1.5 million.[16] Adelaide United were awarded the Fair Play award upon the completion of the tournament, and Cristiano's goal in the fifth-place play-off was selected as goal of the tournament.[17]

Adelaide United playing against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the AFC Champions League in 2010.

After a stellar season in the A-League and internationally, Adelaide United began its pre-season without a financial owner; Nick Bianco relinquished his A-League license back to Football Federation Australia (FFA).[18] Regardless of this situation, the FFA ensured that Adelaide would have the funds available to recruit in the off-season and to maintain the club, whilst they would negotiate the new ownership deals. This, however, was still not enough to lift the club up from its 2009–10 wooden spoon status – the club's worst performing season in its short history.

Adelaide competed in the ACL Champions League in 2010 after finishing second on the 2008–09 A-League league table, and runner-up in the Finals series to cross-border rivals, Melbourne Victory.[19] Adelaide were drawn into Group H alongside 2009 Asian Champions Pohang Steelers, Chinese sister club Shandong Luneng and Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Adelaide United managed to hold on to the top spot of Group H, resulting in a home match in Round 16. In an exciting, nerve-racking match, Adelaide lost to Jeonbuk Motors 3–2. Adelaide came back twice in the game, including a goal in the final seconds of the match. Jeonbuk won the match with a goal in the second half of extra time.[20]

2010–2018: Bottom to top and first A League championship[edit]

For the first time in the club's history, Adelaide United was led by an international manager in Rini Coolen,[21] moving away from the Adelaide United tradition of local coaches seen in its prior seasons.

As of 9 September 2010, Adelaide United had made Australian soccer history by becoming the first team to climb from the bottom of the table to the top, whilst the 2009–10 premiers and champions, Sydney FC, remained rooted at the bottom.[22] Adelaide United also claimed the record for longest undefeated streak in A-League history with their win over Wellington Phoenix in Week 11 of the league, consisting of thirteen games stretching back to the penultimate round of the 2009–10 A-League season. This surpassed Central Coast Mariners's previous record of twelve games undefeated set back in the 2005–06 A-League season. Unfortunately for Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar surpassed this newly set record, when the Roar comprehensively won their Week 16 fixture against Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium.

Following 18 months under Football Federation Australia (FFA) financial administration, it was announced on 8 November 2010 that a South Australian consortium had taken over ownership of the club with a ten-year licence. New co-owner Greg Griffin steps in as chairman of the club replacing Mel Patzwald, whilst ex-North Adelaide Football Club CEO, Glenn Elliott replaces Sam Ciccarello, who now takes up a role at the FFA.[23][24][25]

On 9 January 2011, Adelaide broke its longest winless streak against its rival club Melbourne Victory by posting a 4–1 away win in Melbourne at AAMI Park. Adelaide United then went on to make A-League history by recording the highest winning margin in the league's history with an 8–1 win over North Queensland Fury on 21 January 2011. This also marked the first time two players from the same side scored hat-tricks in one game (Sergio van Dijk and Marcos Flores), and matched the all-time highest match aggregate score of 9 goals scored in one match.

Adelaide finished the season by winning 2–1 at Adelaide Oval against Melbourne Victory in front of 21,038 spectators – the club's largest crowd of the season. This ensured the club third place in overall standings at the end of the season, and hosting rights for at least the first week of the knock-out Finals Series. Adelaide United went on to defeat Wellington Phoenix in the first week of the Finals under torrential rain but succumbed to Gold Coast United in the second week and were knocked out of the competition on the back of a 2–3 home loss.

Off-season transfers marked the departure of Captain Travis Dodd, long-serving players Lucas Pantelis and Robert Cornthwaite, and of fan favourites Mathew Leckie and Marcos Flores to overseas clubs. In a coup for the club and the A-League, Rini Coolen managed to secure the signatures of Socceroos Bruce Djite, Jon McKain and Dario Vidošić; with the latter being offered the Australian marquee player status at the club for the season.

On 18 December 2011, it was announced that head coach Rini Coolen had been sacked and replaced by former coach John Kosmina as caretaker coach for the rest of the season, including the AFC Champions League group stage of 2012.[26] As part of Kosmina's takeover of the head coaching position, Eugene Galeković was named club captain on 28 December 2011, replacing Jon McKain.[27]

Their fourth appearance in the competition – more times than any other Australian club – Adelaide qualified for the 2012 AFC Champions League playoff round by finishing third in the 2010–11 A-League. They were placed in Group E, quickly dubbed the 'Group of Death' by numerous commentators, alongside Bunyodkor, Gamba Osaka and Pohang Steelers. Adelaide qualified through to the Round of 16 for a third time and then went on to qualify for the quarter-finals with a 1–0 win at home against Nagoya Grampus.

Adelaide faced Bunyodkor in the quarter-finals. Adelaide surrendered a 2–0 lead at home, with Bunyodkor clawing back to end 2–2. The return leg in Tashkent was again locked at 2–2 after 90 minutes of play, requiring the game to go to extra time and possible penalties thereafter. Despite an Iain Ramsay goal in the third minute to give Adelaide the lead, Bunyodkor eventually eliminated Adelaide by scoring in added extra time. Adelaide ended the match with nine men, having Iain Fyfe and Fabian Barbiero both sent off after receiving two yellow cards.

Adelaide United's 2012–13 season was John Kosmina's first full season as a permanent coach since being appointed in a caretaker role from Rini Coolen in December 2011. The season was also Kosmina's first in charge at Adelaide since the 2006–07 season. John Kosmina had expressed his desire to the club for a two-year extension to his contract, but rumours publicly emerged of assistant coach Michael Valkanis being offered a contract extension, but not Kosmina. The coach resigned shortly thereafter. Valkanis was appointed as interim coach until the end of the season, with former Adelaide City player Sergio Melta being appointed as his assistant.

The Reds finished the A-League season fourth but were knocked out of Championship contention by Brisbane Roar 2–1 in an elimination final.

On 30 April 2013, Josep Gombau signed a two-season deal as coach, arriving at the club in July 2013.[28] In the winter transfer window, Gombau was quick to add Spanish flavour into the squad. His first two signings were compatriots and Barcelona youth products Sergio Cirio and Isaías Sánchez. Gombau also brought his long-time assistant coach Pau Marti to work alongside existing assistant coach Michael Valkanis.[29] He also added other players including Tarek Elrich and Steven Lustica, Michael Zullo for a season-long loan and Brent McGrath as a four-week injury replacement player. Awer Mabil and Jordan Elsey were also promoted from the youth system, each rewarded with two-year contracts. Sergio van Dijk was transferred to Persib Bandung and Dario Vidošić to Sion for a reported $700,000 transfer fee.

The Reds had a shaky start to their season under new manager Gombau. They had only a single win in their first nine games for the season and early calls started for the club to show the door to the new man in charge. Gombau quickly changed the club's fortunes, getting his second win in round 10 against the Central Coast Mariners, with a 4–0 result. The team continued this form to finish sixth on the table after the 27 home-and-away games, which let them into the finals by two points. Adelaide's season was ended by Central Coast in the elimination final, losing 1–0.

The Reds' highest attendance in the 2013–14 season was 16,504 in the round 2 clash with Melbourne Victory at Hindmarsh Stadium which ended in a 2–2 draw.

Carrying over from the previous season, Josep Gombau was quick to implement a possession-based football style at Adelaide, all the way from the grassroots level of local soccer to the senior side.[30][31] Gombau further reinforced his dogmatic approach by bringing in FC Barcelona legend Guillermo Amor as the club's technical director. While winning the Adelaide fans over, Josep elevated the technical and tactical quality of the local brand, earning the respect and admiration of rival clubs, coaches, and the FFA, who unanimously voted him in as coach of the A-League All Stars team for the 2014 A-League All Stars Game against the visiting Juventus. Gombau's United won the inaugural FFA Cup with a 1–0 win against Perth Glory.[32] Gombau left the club in July 2015 to take up a youth coaching role in the United States.[33]

2016 A-League Grand Final starting lineup Adelaide United 3–1 Western Sydney Wanderers

Following the shock resignation of manager Josep Gombau who took up a youth coaching role in the United States shortly before the start of the season, Adelaide United announced Guillermo Amor as his replacement who was serving as the club's technical director and Jacobo Ramallo as his assistant who was in charge as director of Adelaide United's Football School. Eight rounds into the season, Adelaide was without a win leaving them sitting at the bottom of the ladder with only 3 points and 3 goals scored. However, Adelaide then won 13 of their next 18 games losing just once to finish top of the ladder and win the club's second Premier's Plate. Following a week off during which the Elimination Finals were played, Adelaide United defeated Melbourne City 4–1 in a Semi-final at Coopers Stadium to advance to the Grand Final where they would for the first time host the Grand Final at the Adelaide Oval.

In the Grand Final, the Reds finally won their first A-League championship, beating the Western Sydney Wanderers 3–1 in front of a crowd of 50,119.

Adelaide United were eliminated in the first round of the 2016 FFA Cup, suffering a stunning 2–1 loss to National Premier Leagues Queensland team Redlands United FC, with the match labelled the biggest upset in FFA Cup history.[34][35] Adelaide United had to replace five players from its starting grand final team including Bruce Djite, Craig Goodwin, Pablo Sánchez, Stefan Mauk and Bruce Kamau, but they were replaced with youngsters Jesse Makarounas, Nikola Mileusnic, Ben Garuccio, Marc Marino, Jordan O'Doherty and Riley McGree, experienced pair Henrique and James Holland, and Spanish Striker Sergi Guardiola on loan and South Korean Danny Choi as an injury replacement.

Adelaide United were runners-up in the FFA Cup final against Sydney FC by a 2–1 scoreline. Marco Kurz then had his first A-League game against Wellington Phoenix by a 1–1 draw. Their top scorer was their new signing, Johan Absalonsen who scored 8 goals in all competitions this season. They finished 5th in the A-League, and then they lost in the elimination final against Melbourne Victory by a 2–1 scoreline with a crowd of 15,502.

2018–present: Cup success and beyond[edit]

Adelaide United were the FFA Cup champions after defeating Sydney FC 2–1 in the final at Coopers Stadium.[36] On March 19, 2019, the club announced they would not be renewing Marco Kurz' contract.[37] United finished 4th in the regular season. Craig Goodwin was United's leading goalscorer scoring 15 goals across all competitions. The Reds hosted an elimination final against Melbourne City where they came out 1–0 victors with the goal coming from Ben Halloran in the 119th minute.[38] Adelaide United were then eliminated in the semi-finals following a loss to Perth Glory on penalties after playing out a 3–3 draw.[39]

In the 2019 FFA Cup Final, Adelaide defeated Melbourne City 4–0 at home, further increasing their claim to have the most FFA Cup titles with three.[40]

Adelaide United continued to qualify for the A-League finals series in the following seasons, finishing 5th in the 2020–21 season, and 4th in the 2021–22 season, with Craig Goodwin returning to the squad on loan in 2021, before permanently signing with the club until 2025.[41] During these seasons, Adelaide placed a large emphasis on bringing through young players from South Australia, and their NPL squad, notable examples during this period were Joe Gauci, who has since earned a cap for the national team,[42] Bernardo, Mohamed Toure, Yaya Dukuly, Ethan Alagich, Asad Kasumovic, Jonny Yull and Nestory Irankunda.

On 4 April 2023, Chairman Piet van der Pol stepped down and was replaced by Ned Morris. The previously anonymous owners were also revealed, being Cor Adriaanse, Rob van Eck, and Yu Lidong.[2]

In the 2022–23 season, Adelaide were challenging Melbourne City for the premiership, with many of their young players earning permanent spots in the squad. The eventual champions Central Coast Mariners made a run late in the season to bump Adelaide down to third on the table, and eventually knock Adelaide out of the championship race in a semi-final. Craig Goodwin, who had recently scored against France and Argentina in the 2022 World Cup, won the 2023 Johnny Warren Medal but returned to Al-Wehda FC in the winter of that year. Adelaide signed former Manchester United-listed midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe in the off-season. Ryan Kitto was made the captain of the club with Goodwin's departure.

Adelaide's 2023–24 season began with massive success, beating the reigning Champions Central Coast Mariners and the Premiers Melbourne City with a combined score of 9–0. Highlights of these opening games include Joe Gauci's penalty save against Jamie Maclaren, a free kick goal from 17-year-old Nestory Irankunda, and a brace off the bench from Bernardo.[43] On 14 November 2023, Adelaide United confirmed that they had agreed terms with Bayern Munich for the sale of 17-year-old winger, Nestory Irankunda,[44][45] to join the club at the end of the season.[46] The fee was officially undisclosed, however it was reported to be in the region of AUD$5.7 million plus add-ons, the largest fee ever received by an A-League club.[47] Irankunda was later nominated for Australia's Young Footballer of the Year award,[48] and became the first Australian to feature in Goal's NXGN.[49] Despite valiant performances, Adelaide dropped to 8th on the A-League ladder with losses to Macarthur and Melbourne Victory. They revived their season with a home draw against Wellington and an away win against Sydney in the A-League's first Unite Round. The latter of these games included a hat-trick and an assist from Hiroshi Ibusuki.[50] The Japanese striker's heroics placed Adelaide in 5th place mid-way through the season

During the January transfer window, Adelaide lost numerous key players: Bernardo terminated his contract to sign for Macarthur FC,[51][52] Steven Hall was signed by Brighton & Hove Albion's youth team,[53][54] Alexandar Popovic was signed by Korean side Gwangju,[55] and starting goalkeeper Joe Gauci signed for Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee.[56][57] The second half of the season saw United drop towards the bottom of the ladder, going winless for seven consecutive matches, breaking their streak with a 1–0 win away to Newcastle Jets,[58] and a first home win in three months against Western United thanks to a Nestory Irankunda hat-trick, who became the youngest hat-trick scorer in A-League history, and the second youngest in Australian national league history.[59]


Adelaide United's 2009–10 playing kit didn't feature a sponsor on the front of their kit. Towards the end of the season, United signed a deal with Jim's Group which saw the Jim's Plumbing logo feature on the front of United's home and away kits. The deal only lasted for the remainder of the season as the logo wasn't displayed on Adelaide's home or away kits in the 2010–11 season.

On 16 December 2010, Coopers Brewery announced that their logo would feature on the front of the jersey for the remainder of the season, in a deal worth to be around $200,000.

As of 1 April 2011, all A-League clubs were able to negotiate new kit supplier deals as the previous contract with Reebok had elapsed and as such, Adelaide United negotiated a 3-year deal with Erreà.[60]

On 2 March 2012, the club announced Legea as the official kit suppliers for their 2012 Asian Champions League campaign. Legea are exclusively supplying all of the team's authentic on-field and off-field apparel for the club's 6 ACL group-stage matches.[61]


The Adelaide United badge, used from the club's foundation in 2003 to 2005

Adelaide United's original strip was made using the three South Australian state colours: red, blue and yellow. The shirt was mainly red with a large yellow stripe down both sleeves with blue being used for the short colour and the stripe running down each side of the top. The badge also uses the state colours in a stylised swoosh, above what appears to be a football made with the Southern Cross, as opposed to the traditional hexagonal panels of a football. The football is similar in appearance to that of the UEFA Champions League logo.

Colours and badge[edit]

Reebok spikes first appeared on the first in 2007

Since their inception into the A-League, Adelaide United's kits, along with the rest of the league, have been manufactured by Reebok. United's kit has moved towards a predominately all-red kit, both top and shorts, with black trim. Originally, the away strip was predominantly white, with red sleeves and yellow trim however in 2009 the club launched a predominantly black 'clash' strip.

The launch of the new national league also saw Adelaide launch a new badge; while keeping a similar look and feel as its predecessor the new badge takes the form of a more traditional football badge with its shield-like border.

Adelaide United is most commonly referred to as "The Reds" because of their predominantly red playing kit. In February 2009 the club's head coach, Aurelio Vidmar referred to the City of Adelaide as a "Pissant Town" after suffering a heartbreaking loss. The club's supporters eventually utilised the name "Pissants" as a term of endearment and it became an unofficial nickname of the club among its supporters.

Kit suppliers and shirt sponsors[edit]

Years Kit manufacturer H&A Major sponsor(s) Shirt sponsor
ACL Major Sponsor
2003–04 Sekem Fairmont Homes Bianco
2005–06 Reebok Fairmont Homes Bianco
2006–07 Sakai Bianco Scalzi Produce (2007)
2007–08 Sakai Club Financial Sakai (2008)
2008–09 Sakai, Bianco StudyAdelaide, Sakai
2009–10 Jim's Plumbing, Modern Solar Sakai
2010–11 Coopers Brewery[62] Stratco[63]
2011–12 Erreà
2012 Legea[64] Covered sponsor[65]
2012–13 Kappa[66] Unleash Solar[67] Unleash Solar
2013–16 Veolia[68] Do the NT
2016–17 Macron[69] IGA[70] Datong South Australia (2016)
2017–18 AusGold Mining Group (2017)[71]
2019–2020 Flinders University[72]
South Australia Tourism (away, 2020)[73]
Starfish Developments[74]
Kite (2021–2022)[75]
RAA (2023 Finals Series)[76]
2020– UCAN[77] Flinders University[72]
Australian Outdoor Living (away) [78]

AFC Competition Sponsorship[edit]

Year Kit Manufacturer Shirt Sponsor
2007 Reebok Scalzi Produce
2008 Sakai
2010 StudyAdelaide
2012 Kappa (qualifying play-off and round of 16)
Legea (group stages)
Coopers Brewery (qualifying play-off)
Covered sponsor (group stages)
Unleash Solar (round of 16)
2016 Kappa South Australia
2017 Macron AusGold Mining Group


Hindmarsh Stadium, home ground of Adelaide United

Adelaide United play their home matches at Hindmarsh Stadium, currently known as Coopers Stadium. Previously, two games a year were played at Adelaide Oval, one against interstate rivals Melbourne Victory and traditional rivals Sydney FC.[79] The second match in 2009 saw 23,002 people attend the game.[80] Adelaide United played the 2016 Grand Final at Adelaide Oval and played early-stage cup games at the State Centre for Football in Gepps Cross, and Marden Sports Complex in Marden.

Hindmarsh Stadium seating capacity is 13,500. Adelaide United's first home game in the now-defunct National Soccer League saw over 15,000 supporters watch Adelaide win 1–0 over the Brisbane Strikers.[81]

A-League crowds have averaged 10,947 in 2005–06 and over 12,000 supporters attending in both 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons. Even with a lack of on-field success, crowds at United's games remained healthy during the 2009–10 season relative to other clubs, largely due to the club's strong community-based initiatives.[82] The record attendance for Hindmarsh Stadium was a full house of 17,000 on 12 November 2008 against Gamba Osaka in the historic second leg of the ACL final.[83]


Adelaide United supporters at the 2007 A-League Grand Final

Adelaide United's main active supporters' group is called the Red Army.[84][85]

Average attendance[edit]

This graph shows the average attendance for home league matches of Adelaide United since their inception.[a] The figures do not include finals matches.

03–04 05–06 06–07 07–08 08–09 09–10 10–11 11–12 12–13 13–14 14–15 15–16 16–17 17–18 18–19 19–20 20–21 21–22 22–23 23–24


Melbourne Victory FC[edit]

Adelaide United's main rivals are the Melbourne Victory. Adelaide was again one of two of the leading teams in the 2006–07 season this time against Melbourne that saw an altercation between John Kosmina, the Adelaide United manager, and Kevin Muscat after the Victory captain knocked Kosmina over after entering the technical area to retrieve a ball. Kosmina then jumped up and grabbed Muscat around the throat for a few seconds.[105] Season events culminated in the year's grand final that saw Adelaide captain, Ross Aloisi, sent off and Melbourne winning 6–0. The rivalry went beyond extreme after Melbourne defeated Adelaide United 1–0 in the 2008–09 grand final with United imported striker, Cristiano, given a controversial straight red card. The rivalry then went even further when Adelaide United defeated Melbourne 4–1 at AAMI Park after United had been suffering a record-breaking 10-game losing streak against the Victory.[106]

Adelaide City FC[edit]

Adelaide United was formed after Adelaide City withdrew from the National Soccer League in 2003, leaving the competition without South Australian representation. Adelaide United continued into the A-League assuming Adelaide City's place as South Australia's only professional soccer team. United and City are South Australia's most successful teams, with 3 domestic trophies each and City having won the 1987 Oceania Club Championship. The two sides had never played a competitive fixture against each other, until the 2022 Australia Cup, where the two teams were drawn against each other in the round of 16.[107] Adelaide United won 4–1 on penalties.[108] However, with no promotion and relegation from the A-League, it is unlikely the teams will play each other competitively again in the near future.

Affiliated clubs[edit]

Qingdao Red Lions are owned by former chairman Piet van der Pol, with the partnership being forged following his acquisition of Adelaide United in 2018.[109] Then Director of Football Bruce Djite said, "The idea is to develop Chinese players to create stronger links between us and Qingdao Red Lions."[110] Chen Yongbin was the first player to sign from Qingdao to Adelaide on a one-year deal.[111] He did not make an appearance for the senior side but made appearances in the youth league, he departed following the end to his contract.

A strategic partnership between Adelaide United and PSV Eindhoven was announced on 18 April 2024.[112][113]

Statistics and records[edit]

Craig Goodwin is Adelaide United's highest goalscorer, with 60 goals in all competitions.

Adelaide United have won one Championship in the A-League Men. They hold the highest number of FFA Cup trophies, with 3.[114] The club is the only team to have won the FFA Cup twice in succession, in 2018 and 2019.[115]

Adelaide United was the first A-League club to appear in the AFC Champions League Final, which they did in 2008. Western Sydney Wanderers are the only team since to achieve the milestone. The Final result had Adelaide losing in a 5–0 loss with both legs having them defeated by Gamba Osaka 3–0 and 2–0.

Eugene Galekovic holds the record for most Adelaide United appearances, having played 285 first-team matches between 2007 and 2017. Craig Goodwin is the club's top goalscorer with 48 goals in all competitions from three spells from 2014 to 2016, 2018 to 2019 and 2021 to 2023.

Adelaide United's record home attendance is 50,119 at the A-League Grand Final match against the Western Sydney Wanderers on 1 May 2016 at Adelaide Oval. The record attendance for a home and away A-League Season game is 25,039 for a 1–3 loss against Sydney FC on 28 December 2007, also at Adelaide Oval. Adelaide United's record home attendance of all competitions at Hindmarsh Stadium was 17,000 against Gamba Osaka in the AFC Champions League Final in 2008.


First team squad[edit]

As of 6 June 2024[116]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Australia AUS James Delianov
6 MF Australia AUS Stefan Mauk
7 DF Australia AUS Ryan Kitto (captain)
8 MF Spain ESP Isaías
10 FW England ENG Zach Clough
14 MF Australia AUS Jay Barnett
17 FW Australia AUS Luka Jovanovic
19 FW Australia AUS Yaya Dukuly
21 DF Spain ESP Javi López
22 MF England ENG Ryan Tunnicliffe
23 MF Australia AUS Luke Duzel
26 FW Australia AUS Archie Goodwin
No. Pos. Nation Player
27 DF Australia AUS Josh Cavallo
36 DF Australia AUS Panashe Madanha (scholarship)
37 MF Australia AUS Jonny Yull
40 GK Australia AUS Ethan Cox
42 MF Australia AUS Austin Ayoubi
49 FW Australia AUS Musa Toure (scholarship)
51 DF Australia AUS Panagiotis Kikianis (scholarship)
54 DF Australia AUS Bailey O'Neil (scholarship)
55 MF Australia AUS Ethan Alagich (scholarship)
62 MF Australia AUS Fabian Talladira (scholarship)
66 FW Australia AUS Nestory Irankunda (scholarship)


Players to have been featured in a first-team matchday squad for Adelaide United.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
56 FW Australia AUS Jake Porter

Former players[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

Position Name Ref.
Head Coach Australia Carl Veart [117]
Assistant Coach Australia Mark Milligan [118]
Assistant Coach Australia Damian Mori [119]
Assistant Coach
Head of Youth Football
Brazil Airton Andrioli [120]
Goalkeeping Coach Australia Eugene Galekovic [121]
Head of Football Australia Marius Zanin [122]
Technical Director Netherlands Ernest Faber [123]
Head of Strength and Conditioning Australia Django Gentilcore [124]
Strength and Conditioning Coach Australia Justin Schultz [122]
Head Physiotherapist Australia Justin Graetz [122]
Physiotherapist Australia Marco Mittiga [122]
Doctor Australia James Ilic [122]
Team Support Manager Australia Colin Varacalli [122]
Video analyst Australia Daniel Quinn [122]

Club captains[edit]

Dates Name Notes Honours (as captain)
2005–2007 Australia Ross Aloisi Inaugural club captain 2005–06 A-League Premiership
2007–2008 Australia Michael Valkanis
2008–2011 Australia Travis Dodd
2011–2012 Australia Jonathan McKain
2012–2017 Australia Eugene Galekovic Longest serving captain 2014 FFA Cup
2015–16 A-League Premiership
2015–16 A-League Championship
2017–2019 Spain Isaías Sánchez First foreign captain 2018 FFA Cup
2019–2020 Denmark Michael Jakobsen 2019 FFA Cup
2020–2022 Australia Stefan Mauk
2022–2023 Australia Craig Goodwin
2023– Australia Ryan Kitto



Chart of yearly table positions for Adelaide United in A-League Men
Winners (1): 2016
Runners-up (2): 2007, 2009
Winners (2): 2005–06, 2015–16
Runners-up (2): 2006–07, 2008–09
Winners (3): 2014, 2018, 2019
Runners-up (1): 2017
Winners (2): 2006, 2007


Runners-up (1): 2008


Fifth–place (1): 2008


The Aurelio Vidmar Club Champion (Player of the Year)[edit]

Season Winner
2003–04 Australia Richie Alagich
2005–06 Australia Carl Veart
2006–07 Australia Jason Spagnuolo
2007–08 Brazil Cássio
2008–09 Australia Eugene Galekovic
Season Winner
2009–10 Australia Eugene Galekovic
2010–11 Brazil Cássio
2011–12 Australia Zenon Caravella
2012–13 Australia Dario Vidošić
2013–14 Spain Isaías
Season Winner
2014–15 Spain Sergio Cirio
2015–16 Australia Craig Goodwin
2016–17 Spain Isaías
2017–18 Spain Isaías
2018–19 Spain Isaías
Season Winner
2019–20 Australia Riley McGree
2020–21 Australia Ben Halloran
2021–22 Australia Craig Goodwin
2022–23 Australia Craig Goodwin
2023–24 England Zach Clough

Notable players[edit]

The following is a list of Adelaide United FC players who have achieved at least two of the following criteria:

See also[edit]



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External links[edit]