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Ultimate A-League FC: Goalkeepers

Over the next ten days, we’ll be formalising a team of the best footballers (and non-footballers) to grace the A-League over the last ten years. These footballers will make up ‘Ultimate A-League FC’, our club of champions of the last decade. Kristian Dwyer will take you on this waltz down memory lane.

10. Liam Reddy – Newcastle Jets, Brisbane Roar, Wellington Phoenix, Sydney FC, Central Coast Mariners

We begin our top ten goalkeepers list with a player who belongs on this list equally for his off field exploits as those on field. Liam Reddy has never been far from the tabloids during his storied career in the A-League, whether it was his pre-A-League existing feud with Nick Theodorakopolous, which reared it’s ugly head and saw his exit from the Newcastle Jets, or his drunken trip to New Zealand which saw his Sydney FC contract terminated.

On the field though, Reddy is in his element and has proved the decisive factor for many of the sides he has played for. However, he has not yet won a championship or a premiership throughout his A-League career, despite racking up an impressive 163 games and, even more impressively, has started all of these games.

9. Glen Moss – New Zealand Knights, Wellington Phoenix, Melbourne Victory, Gold Coast United, Wellington Phoenix

Glen Moss is our only Kiwi on the list, notching 128 career games, and coming off the bench three times in a career on both sides of the Tasman. His early career battles came in the form of a friendly intra-club battle with Mark Paston at both the New Zealand Knights and Wellington Phoenix.

Moss would make the jump accross to Melbourne and then the Gold Coast before a triumphant return back to Westpac Stadium. Moss has since become a cult favourite of the Yellow Fever and, given his age, still has a few years in both the All Whites and the yellow and black.

8. Nathan Coe – Melbourne Victory

Nathan Coe is one of the more recent entries into the Ultimate A-League FC’s top ten goalkeepers, given his signing just two seasons prior – but he arguably earns his spot as the eighth best ‘keeper in the history of the A-League. Despite also not having won a premiership or championship with the Victory since his signing, Coe has been an integral part of the Postecoglou-Muscat era at AAMI Park.

Originally on the fringes of the Socceroos, Coe has amassed 50 appearances over just two years at the Victory, has established himself as the number 1 ‘keeper at the club, and looks to have that spot all but shored up for the foreseeable future.

7. Mitchell Langerak – Melbourne Victory

Mitchell Langerak is our first export on the list, after successful seasons at Melbourne Victory saw him snapped up by German outfit Borussia Dortmund, after establishing himself as Victory’s number 1 over the 2009-10 season. Originally an understudy to Michael Petkovic and Ante Covic, Langerak’s immense talent drew admirers from around the globe as he cemented himself as the first true Australian goalkeeping export.

Starting 20 games of his 21 game career with the Melbourne Victory, Langerak may not have the most appearances on our list, but he’s definitely up there as one of the ‘keepers that has shaped the Hyundai A-League, and in doing so established himself as a household name.

6. Danny Vukovic – Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix, Perth Glory

Danny Vukovic is unlucky to find himself outside the top five keepers in the Hyundai A-League despite being one of the most consistent in the league’s history. Starting off at the Central Coast Mariners, Vukovic asserted himself as one of the best young keepers in the competition, guiding Central Coast to the premiers plate in 2007-2008 during his stay.

In that same year, Vukovic drew controversy as he ‘high-fived’ referee Matthew Breeze after losing the Grand Final 1-0 to the Newcastle Jets. This resulted in a lengthy stay on the sidelines in the off-season and Vukovic missing the 2008 Beijing Olympics. With 201 career games under his belt and the accolade of being the only keeper to score in the Hyundai A-League, the 29-year old is also set to become the highest capped keeper in the history of the A-League before his career comes to a close.

5. Mathew Ryan – Central Coast Mariners

Mathew Ryan is the youngest of the ‘gloved’ kind on our top ten list of keepers, yet has become a household name between the sticks for the Central Coast Mariners until his move to Belgium last year. The reason for this has been his establishment as number 1 at the Mariners between 2009 and 2010, and their championship winning season in 2012-13. Over this period, Ryan nabbed 80 appearances, and his departure has left a gap at the back for the Mariners that they have tried to patch with the signing of Liam Reddy.

Ryan has gone on to graduate and become a fully fledged Socceroo. representing Australia at the highest possible level – the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil – and looks in no danger of being usurped as the nation’s top glovesman given the retirement of Mark Schwarzer. Ryan is also the youngest recipient of the A-League Goalkeeper of the Year award, winning the prize in 2011-2012.

4. Ante Covic – Newcastle Jets, Melbourne Victory, Western Sydney Wanderers

Considered a journeyman earlier in his career, 39 year-old Covic stands as the oldest player in the Hyundai A-League, but has played only six A-League seasons between Newcastle, Melbourne and Western Sydney. Wherever he has played, however, the ‘keeper has brought success for his clubs and has been arguably one of the most consistent ‘keepers on this list. Never one to have an off day, Covic marshalls his defence with strength and it’s no surprise that Covic was included in many Socceroos lineups as third choice, including at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

A member of the 100 club with 135 appearances, Covic has led the newly formed Western Sydney Wanderers to two premiers plates and Grand Finals in two successive years. Covic also won the coveted 2012-2013 Goalkeeper of the Year award and is also an A-League All-Star. It is yet to be seen if Covic will become the A-League’s first full-time quadragenarian next season!

3. Eugene Galekovic – Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United

Originally cast aside from the Melbourne Victory, Eugene Galekovic has to go down as one of the most revered ‘keepers in the Hyundai A-League. With the Red Army at his back, Galekovic seems to be empowered, with 182 appearances to his name. A three-time Goalkeeper of the Year winner, Galekovic is also one of the most widely acclaimed goalkeepers in the competition’s history.

But, arguably, his star rose most strongly when he was selected for the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, named as third choice between exports Mat Ryan and Mitchell Langerak for the squad to Brazil. A member of the 2013-14 All Star team, Galekovic’s 16,380 minutes of football between the sticks is set to put him down as one of the immortals of the competition.

2. Clint Bolton – Sydney FC, Melbourne Heart – UAL FC Reserve ‘Keeper

The very first winner of the Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2005-2016, Bolton was expected to be a one-club man for the rest of his career with Sydney FC. However, after leading the Sky Blues to a second ‘toilet seat’, the towering yet humble keeper left to pursue a new challenge with the newly formed Melbourne Heart (now Melbourne City). What he left behind, however, was a legacy as a strong keeper who was never one to suffer from injury, poor form or a lack of confidence.

A prized ‘keeper during the NSL era, Bolton’s name goes down in folklore with the Sky Blues, and his 109 appearances for them over the first five years of his A-League Career are a testament to that fact. Despite not earning any further plaudits with the Melbourne Heart, Bolton was instrumental in providing a solid stepping stone for the burgeoning club to build on. Nowadays, the former Socceroo appears as a pundit for SBS.

1. Michael Theo - Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar – UAL FC ‘Keeper

Arguably, however, the man who should receive the top honour for our top ten ‘keepers is one Mr. Michael Theo(klitos). With an A-League All-Star appearance and three Goalkeeper of the Year awards under his belt, Theo is arguably the most recognisable goalkeeper in the Hyundai A-League. And that’s before you take a look at his track record at club level – over the last ten years, Theoklitos was a member of no less than 5 championship sides, two of these with Melbourne Victory, and three with Brisbane Roar.

Theoklitos also has the amazing record of going 876 minutes (nearly 10 games) without conceding a goal, a record in Australian footballing history. It is no surprise that Michael Theo tops our list of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the A-League and becomes the first addition to Ultimate A-League FC.

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow as we pick our two best wing backs over the last decade for Ultimate A-League FC! Got any feedback? Hit us up at ualfc@ultimatealeague.com

About the author

avatarKris is a freelance sports journalist, a two-time WA media guild award winner, and podcast host and writer for Ultimate A-League.

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  • Seb

    Fantastic Read! Thanks for putting some stories up about goalies! I have shared this on facebook.com/goalkeeperworldaustralia with all of our goalkeeper followers so hopefully they come check out your site!