Melbourne City FC’s Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League captains were unveiled at the Club’s annual Family Day at the City Football Academy on Sunday.
Striker Bruno Fornaroli was announced as the A-League captain, while Matildas defender Steph Catley will lead Melbourne City’s W-League squad into the Club’s second season as the squad aims to defend its Championship crown.
Fornaroli, a 29-year-old Uruguayan striker, made a significant impact in his first season, finishing the campaign as the Golden Boot winner with 25 goals, breaking the A-League’s previous record of most goals in a season and becoming City’s all-time top goal scorer.
Fornaroli has carried that form into the Westfield FFA Cup ahead of his second A-League season, scoring three goals in three matches, helping guide City to a semi-final berth in the process.
Catley, 22, played 13 matches in City’s first W-League season, helping to lead the team to a 100 per cent record as the side won 14 games and secured a Premiership and Championship double.
Last year she became one of the first women to appear on the cover of the Australian edition of FIFA 16, alongside Melbourne City's A-League player Tim Cahill.
Catley, who has made 53 appearances for the Matildas, returns to Melbourne after representing the women’s Australian national team at the 2016 Olympic Games, where the team reached the Quarter Finals.
The announcement took place in front of a crowd of more than 4,500 fans at the annual Melbourne City Family Day, where the entire A-league squad and the new W-League signings were presented to the fans.
With the A-League season due to start on October 7, and the W-League on November 6, Family Day provided an opportunity for fans to mingle with the Club’s senior players ahead of the 2016/17 campaigns. The captaincy announcement comes after the recent confirmation of A-League signings Michael Jakobsen, Nicolas Colazo and Tim Cahill.
The Family Day took place at the community pitches at the City Football Academy, Melbourne, which is home to Melbourne City’s men’s, women’s and youth teams.
John van’t Schip said: “Bruno is the ideal captain for our team; he leads by example in the way he trains, plays and prepares for matches. He is the complete professional and is well respected by the playing group and is a vital player in the way we want to play. Importantly, his attitude and application sets standards for the team and motivates his fellow teammates.”
Fornaroli said: “It is a great honour to captain this team; Melbourne City is a fantastic club with a great atmosphere and family feeling; the players, staff, members and fans are together and I feel very much at home here. For me, the Club is very professional and has given me a great opportunity to develop in my career. When I first arrived I promised to fight for the badge and represent this club with passion and pride and help the team win its first Championship. I hope to be able to lead this team into the season with that same objective and to achieve something special with this Club and for this city.”
Joe Montemurro, who shares dual roles across both the A-League and W-League teams as Assistant Coach and Head Coach, respectively, said: “Steph will be an exceptional leader and with her attitude and ability, I’m confident she will drive excellence among the players. With our women’s team afforded access to the same level of support and resources as our men’s – whether it is access to training facilities, player support or medical treatment – we believe that gives the players the best environment and opportunity to succeed."
Catley said: “City is an amazing Club; it is extremely professional and provides an environment that encourages hard work and facilitates success, and this is where I want to be. Winning the double in our first season was an incredible achievement, but we will continue to push ourselves as a team and as a Club to raise those standards further. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of leading the team into its title defence this season.”
Montemurro also revealed key re-signings ahead of the Club’s second W-League campaign to City fans, with inaugural W-League players Catley, Melina Ayres, Olivia Ellis and Tyla-Jay Vlajnic committing to the 2016/17 campaign, while Tiegen Allen has also signed on.
Melbourne City FC’s A-League team opens its 2016/17 campaign with a Round 1 fixture against Wellington Phoenix on Saturday 8 October, while the W-League team kicks off the season on Sunday 6 November, hosting the Newcastle Jets.
Visit melbournecityfc.com.au for more information.