ISPSHanda Prem Squad 

Southern United FC are proud to announce our 22-man ISPS Handa Premiership squad for the 2017/18 season, which gets underway at Forsyth Barr Stadium this Sunday afternoon in a Round 1 match against heavyweights Auckland City Football Club.

The squad has a fresh look from last season, with a number of new faces joining the team from both within and outside the Football South region. They join a core of eleven players returning from last season's campaign.

With a couple of squad spots still open, coach Paul O'Reilly has made it clear that he is still on the lookout to recruit players hungry to strengthen his team.

O'Reilly acknowledges that there are a number of players brought in from outside the Football South region. "I see it as a necessary part of the team's development at this point. We are aiming to develop young players coming through our system and region, but that takes time. We've been working closely with the Youth team head coach Kevin Scoullar and we'll be looking to add Youth players to the squad when their season finishes pre-Christmas. The players coming into the squad are hungry and enthusiastic to succeed on the national stage, and have already made Dunedin home".

There are a good number of locally based players in the squad, including the likes of experienced locals Morgan Day and Tom Connor who both return to national league action.

The squad includes three scholarship recipients in Alex Cox, Jack Pirie, and Ben Wade. Our scholarship system facilitates tertiary study for talented young footballers in partnership with the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, and is a huge part of our long-term development plan to keep and develop our local talent and also attract young players with potential to the region.

A couple of players from our initial squad announced in early September are unlucky to miss out on the final squad. Losing key winger Andy Mulligan to a knee injury (minimum 3 months recovery) picked up early in the recent pre-season match against Canterbury United is a big blow so close to the beginning of the season. Overall though, O'Reilly has been pleased with the increased competition for spots in recent weeks and the pre-season efforts from the squad.

There are a few key departures from last season, including a couple of locals in Ross Howard and Liam Whittaker undertaking overseas travel, and Eric Molloy departing to Team Wellington.

Sunday's ISPS Handa Premiership opener kicks off at 2pm at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Admission is just gold coin so the squad is hopeful to have an enthusiastic crowd on hand.