A-League expansion side Western United has continued to bolster their squad ahead of their first competitive season, raiding the academy of local rivals Melbourne City for one of their brightest prospects.
A source close to the expansion side has confirmed to dailyfootballshow.com that City teenager Dylan Pierias is set to join the club for their first year in the A-League.
The off-contract defender is one of the most highly rated of the prospects stockpiled at City’s academy in Bundoora, featuring in multiple Y-League Grand Finals for the club as well as making several appearances at both a U17 and U19 level for Australia.
A fullback equally adroit at getting forward as he is on the defensive end, Pierias has nonetheless struggled to break into the first side of Head Coach Warren Joyce and has made only two substitute appearances as a winger for City in 2018-19 – his first competitive senior football in almost two years since he made his debut as a 17-year-old against Brisbane Roar in the 2017-18 season.
A product of Melbourne’s west, the youngster was inspired to take up football after watching Australia play in the 2006 World Cup and was a junior of Keilor Park SC and Spring Hills FC before moving into the Skillaroos and eventually the NTC program.
In 2017, he was identified by the UK’s Guardian as one of the 60 best young talents in world football.
Now, the 19-year-old is set to become the latest in a series of young defensive building blocks in Tarneit.
United has already officially confirmed the capture of 24-year-old defensive utility Connor Chapman and 23-year-old former Sydney FC defender Aaron Calver, while 23-year-old Central Coast Mariners defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis has also been linked by The World Game with a move south.
At 26, Socceroo Josh Risdon would be the elder statesman of the group.
Still without a head coach, United has nevertheless secured highly rated NPL Head Coach John Anastasiadis and Mariners legend John Hutchinson as assistant coaches for their inaugural season.
Greek international Panagiotis Kone has also put pen to paper on a contract with the side.
Earlier this week, The Age reported that the side had reached an agreement with Kardinia Park to play a minimum of seven games at the ground in 2020, with their remaining home games to be played in and around western Victoria. And on Wednesday, The Age also raised the possibility of English side Leeds United as a marquee first opponent.
United has previously announced plans to construct a privately funded and owned football-specific stadium in the western Melbourne suburb of Tarniet, which they plan to move into by their third season in the A-League.