Adelaide United have announced the signing of left-back Michael Maria, a Curacao international, for the looming Hyundai A-League season.
Maria, a 24-year-old who has played 20 internationals for the Dutch Caribbean island, will link again with Adelaide's new coach Gertjan Verbeek in his first season in charge and will be contracted to the Reds until the end of the 2020/21 A-League season.
Maria, who has played under Verbeek in Germany and the Netherlands, most recently played for Charlotte Independence in the United States' second-tier competition, the USL Championship.
Maria cited the opportunity to reunite with Verbeek as a big factor in his decision to choose Adelaide United and take on a new challenge in the A-League.
“When I heard from Gertjan, he didn’t have to say much at all to convince me because I’ve missed him as my coach and I trust him as a person and his football plan," Maria said in a statement published by the club on Thursday (AEST).
“I’ve worked with Gertjan twice before, first at Bochum and then when I was at FC Twente, and I’ve wanted to be his player again.
“He’s taught me to be a positive, courageous, and attacking player that loves to have the ball and that’s how I enjoy the game the most.
“I’m very happy that he and the club wanted me to help improve the squad, so I can’t wait to get started.”
Adelaide's Director of Football, Bruce Djite was full of praise for his new signing, lauding his versatility and technical ability as a player and how his skills complement the coaching style of new appointment Verbeek.
“Michael’s ability to be deployed anywhere on the left side of the park, but also as a defensive midfielder, makes him very valuable to us.
“Some of Michael’s greatest strengths are his many offensive attributes and his willingness to get forward, which suits the footballing philosophy and style of play Gertjan is working to implement.
“Having worked with Michael before, Gertjan knows the qualities he possesses and how Michael will complement our current group.”
Maria will don the Number 5 shirt for the Reds and becomes the A-League club's second signing of the off-season following the transfer of Riley McGree from Belgian side Club Brugge.