Western United’s inaugural National Premier League captain Ben Collins has earned a deal with the club’s A-League side.
Collins has signed a one-year scholarship deal with the club, his first senior professional contract.
The centre-back said he is immensely proud to have put pen to paper with the club.
“I am delighted to sign my first professional contract,” Collins said.
“It has been a dream of mine since I was young and for it to happen now I am extremely excited and thankful to everyone who has helped me achieve this.
“The lads in the change room have welcomed me with open arms and made me feel a part of the team instantly. The togetherness in the change room is something I feel, and I think all the boys are very optimistic about what will be a successful season.
“I am very happy to remain at the club in the A-League. I have enjoyed every minute at the club and I look forward to the upcoming season.”
Collins spent his junior career at Northcote City before joining United ahead of the NPL 3 campaign at the beginning of this year.
He featured in every match of the season before it was cancelled in October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the season came to an abrupt end, Collins has been training with the A-League team impressing the coaching staff.
United coach John Aloisi said Collins’ quality and maturity on the training pitch have shone through and helped him earn a contract.
“Ben has really earned his spot here over the last few months,” he said.
“He’s been excellent in training since he came in and we’re delighted to have him.
“As a defender he is very strong and very determined. Stepping up and defending against our top attacking players in training, he hasn’t looked out of place for a second.
“Myself and the staff are really excited to have his development continue here with us. I’m sure he’ll be able to pick up a lot from the group and we’re hoping to see him have a big impact in the weeks and months to come.”
Collins is the fourth player from the club’s NPL squad to earn an A-League contract after Adisu Bayew, Ajak Deu and Rhys Bozinovski.
United is set to kick off its A-League season on Saturday night against Melbourne Victory.