Young A-League central defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis must feel like he’s flying the coop having played all his club football in Sydney. The 21 year old is leaving his home town and the Western Sydney Wanderers to continue his A-League up the coast in Gosford with the Central Coast Mariners.

Newly appointed Mariners’ coach Mike Mulvey is looking to rebuild a squad that will be competitive after a disappointing last couple of seasons.

Aspropotamitis said of the move, “I’m really thrilled to be joining the Mariners, and really excited by Mike’s ambition and what he’s bringing to the club. I’m looking forward to getting started with the boys and working with the new playing group. When I first met with Mike, I was really inspired by his vision for the club and where he wants the club to be. That persuaded me to move up to the Mariners, and I simply can’t wait to get going.”

Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp said of the Mariners’ latest recruit, “Firstly, I would like to welcome Jonathan to the club as this is truly a very positive recruitment for us. Jonathan made an immediate impact on Mike Mulvey from the moment they first connected and although Mike is currently overseas on recruitment duties I know that he would share my sentiments that Jonathan will not only dramatically bolster our defensive capabilities, he will be another strong leader off the field and a great ambassador for us in the community.”

In Aspropotamitis, Mulvey has signed a young defender who has 43 senior A-League appearances under his belt, played in the Asian Champions’ league and represented Australia at U 20 and U 23 level. Aspro, as he is known in football circles, joined WSW youth team from Sydney Olympic as an 18 year old before going on to make his senior professional debut in 2015 under Tony Popovic.

“I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity by the club to play at such a young age in the first team and then to represent the club in the Asian Champions League was fantastic,” he said, he said of his time at the Wanderers.

“I’ll be forever grateful for the chance that the club gave me until the day I retire. The club’s done great things for me and the club will continue to grow, no doubt about that.”

“From day one it was all about improvement for myself and showing that I could be a consistent player at such a high level and I was lucky that I had a good coaching staff around me and great players around me to support me and help me through that process of getting better all the time.

“Now it’s just about progressing and looking forward to the next step in my career.”

Aspropotamitis will no doubt be hoping he can follow in the footsteps of other former Mariners such as Trent Sainsbury and Matt Ryan in progressing from the Mariners and going on to play for the senior Socceroos.

Western Sydney Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas commented on the club website, “It has been great to watch Jonathan’s journey through the club’s Academy system and into the first grade team.”

“We would like to thank him for his contribution to the club over the past four years and wish him all the best in the next stage of his career.”