NPL side Gold Coast United have announced the signing of former A-League defender Michael Thwaite to bolster their squad for the 2019 season.
Brisbane-born Thwaite, 35, is excited about the opportunity to return to the Gold Coast.
“When United finished in 2012 my family and I were very heartbroken. We didn’t want to leave the Gold Coast,” Thwaite said.
“To be honest the few years I had with United were probably the happiest years of my professional career.
“The last two seasons have been pretty tough, living away doesn’t work for us.
“I’ve had a couple of opportunities to go back into the A-League again but this is the best option for my family and I right now.”
Newly appointed head coach and former United player Kristian Rees, has made a bold statement by signing the experienced centre-back only weeks after the 2018 season ended.
The pair both played for United during the clubs inaugural 2009 season, and the thought of their return is an exciting one for Rees.
“Michael’s a massive signing. It’s a huge acknowledgement that the club is heading in the right direction,” Rees said.
“It’s fantastic news, very exciting for me being my first signing and really exciting for the Club.
“Michael’s someone who fits exactly the mould of what we’re trying achieve. We’re both all about youth development.
“Michael brings great experience, he’s played all over the country and across the world. He’s a great leader and I know what he can offer on the field.”
Thwaite also boasts a illustrious footballing resume, with his 13 Caltex Socceroo caps set to instil a sense of experience into a young United outfit that struggled in its first season in the NPLQ competition, finishing 10th.
He expects to be a mentor for younger players and put his B-level coaching license to the test and assist in being an ‘on-field’ coach to the next generation of United talent.
“I’ve recently established a mentoring company called That’s Football that aims to help athletes transition into and out of professional sport,” Thwaite said.
“There’s always been huge potential here on the Coast, across all sports. I think if young people are guided in the right way there’s no doubt we can help create more balanced athletes and individuals.
“It’s about offering them the opportunity to become professional and that’s where Kristian and I can play a role with young footballers.
“We’ve been at that professional level and understand what’s required to get there and the challenges along the way.
“My focus now is with Gold Coast United in the NPL starting in February and I’m looking forward to working hard and giving something back to Queensland.”