Brisbane Strikers have strengthened their goalkeeping ranks for the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland 2016 season by signing former English Premier League squad member Seb Usai.
The announcement marks a return to Strikers for Usai, who was part of the club's Queensland State League 2010 team before heading to then Hyundai A-League club North Queensland Fury, where he made four appearances in the 2010-2011 season.
The 25-year-old was part of Blackburn Rovers squad between 2012 and 2013 but failed to make a senior appearance in the English top flight.
Usai said he still harbours ambitions to play at the highest level following stints with lesser-known European clubs FC United (Sweden), Cowdenbeath (Scotland) and Southport (England) since leaving Rovers.
“There are some different priorities in my life right now and the best thing for me and my family was for me to be in Australia and to play games and be somewhere I’m going to be wanted and looked after – and the Brisbane Strikers was the perfect fit,” Usai explaiend.
He added that he had ambitions to return to the Hyundai A-League, following in the footsteps of Michael Turnbull, who was acquired by Melbourne Victory in the latter half of last season on an injury replacement deal.
Club sources indicated that Turnbull is considered unlikely to return to Strikers for the next campaign as the veteran battles a persistent back injury.
“I’d love to play in the A-League, but I’d love to play in the A-League with the Brisbane Strikers,” Usai said.
“My immediate goals are to win the state NPL grand final and premiership and hopefully do very well in the Westfield FFA Cup next season," he concluded.
Strikers coach Kevin A’herne-Evans said he expects Usai to be a major contributor to Strikers push for a maiden PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland title in 2016.
“Last season Seb spent a significant time with our training group whilst he was in-between European seasons and he was terrific in and around the group,” A’herne-Evans explained.
“He sets a standard of professionalism our young, aspiring goalkeepers can’t help but learn from."“One of the key things we identify when we bring somebody into the club is how much can they offer – and not only to every match day. We are geared to making sure that the players that come in can pass on their knowledge first-hand to aspiring players in the same positions,” A’herne-Evans concluded.