Above: Matilda McNamara in action for Adelaide United last season. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Adelaide United
Adelaide United have announced the retention of head coach Adrian Stenta and South Australian born players Emily Hodgson and Matilda McNamara all on two year contracts. The news is tempered by the news that Head of Women’s Football, Ivan Karlović, has made the decision to end his tenure with the Club.
Stenta guided the Reds to their most successful season to date in his first year in the role last campaign, having previously served as Assistant Coach for two seasons.
In the 2020/21 season, the Reds registered seven wins and collected 22 points to secure a fifth place finish, missing out on a maiden finals appearance on goal difference.
Speaking on agreeing to a new two-year deal, Stenta said: “I’m extremely happy to commit my future to the Club for the next two seasons.
“The Club has shown great faith in me and hopefully we can continue moving in the right direction and build on what we achieved last season.
“We have a great group of girls and we’re all motivated to improve and try and make finals especially after coming so close.”
Meanwhile, Head of Women’s Football, Ivan Karlović, has made the decision to end his tenure with the Club.
Karlović joined Adelaide United in 2016 as the Youth Team Assistant Coach.
In 2017 Karlović was appointed the Club’s W-League Head Coach, a role which he held for three seasons prior to stepping into an administrative role in August 2020.
In June 2021 Karlović was awarded the prestigious Remo Paris Club Person of the Year for his dedication and service to the Club.
Speaking on his decision to leave, Karlović, said: “After five-and-a-half really enjoyable years with the Club, four of which have been with the W League, my increased business commitments mean it is the right time to step away.”
“My time at Adelaide United has been a fantastic experience and I am really proud of the improvements we have made within the program.
“I would really like to thank Nathan Kosmina, in particular, for his belief and support of our vision.
“With Adrian, who is a fantastic young coach and great friend along with the dedicated staff, I really believe we will have success in the future.
“I also would like to acknowledge all the players for their superb dedication, commitment, and belief in the Club and wish them all the best in their careers.”
Adelaide United Chief Executive Officer, Nathan Kosmina, said: “We’re thrilled to have signed Adrian for the next two years.
“Last year Adrian led our W-League side to its most successful season in the Club’s history and we look forward to the ongoing growth of the program over the next two years.
“Adrian is not only a fantastic coach, but he has also continued to foster a team culture of success, which is of paramount importance as we continue to focus to providing a pathway for South Australia’s best young footballers.
“And, on the other hand, it is with a degree of sadness that we farewell Ivan Karlović after five-and-a-half years with United.
“It is fair to say that Ivan revolutionised our W-League program in his three seasons as Head Coach and more recently in his off-field role as Head of Women’s Football.
“His dedication to the playing group and focus on setting professional standards is the reason why our W-League program is now one of the best in the country.
“We wish Ivan all the best in his future endeavours and he will always remain a friend of Adelaide United.”
Meanwhile, the retention of Emily Hodgson and Matilda McNamara are key indicators of the club’s desire to keep the best young South Australian talent at the club.
Hodgson enters her sixth season with the Reds where she has gone on to accumulate 51 appearances while scoring one goal.
The 21-year-old right-back is also capable of featuring on the wing and has spent the off-season with West Adelaide in the local Women’s National Premier League (WNPL).
Speaking on reaching a two-year agreement, Hodgson, said: “I’m really happy to be continuing at Adelaide United for my sixth season.
“It’s my hometown team and to be able to represent them means the world to me and I wanted to keep wearing this jersey.
“I’m really determined to kick-on from last season and help this Club improve as we try to secure a finals spot.”
Meanwhile, McNamara was one of the revelations in last season’s record-breaking campaign, which culminated in her bestowed the W-League Rising Star for the Reds.
The 22-year-old central defender played every minute of every match, scoring one goal in the process, and was one of the team’s most consistent performers.
McNamara had spent the off-season with Sydney Olympic but returned to Adelaide in the wake of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus situation.
After signing her contract, McNamara, said: “It’s exciting to know my future will remain in Adelaide.
“I felt on a personal and team level we took great strides forward last season and hopefully we can build on that.
“It was really painful to miss out on reaching the finals for the first time on goal difference, so the motivation is extremely high to finally finish in the top four.”
Adelaide United’s W-League Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said: “Re-signing both Emily and Matilda for the next two campaigns is fantastic.
“They’re important players in our team and we’ll again be expecting strong contributions from each of them.
“Emily has been in the league for a long time now and I’m looking forward to seeing her take her game to the next level.
“Matilda is a fantastic defender and really demonstrated her quality and what she’s capable of last year, so I’m confident she will only improve.”