FORMER Oakleigh Cannons and Dandenong Thunder defender Steven Gray today announced he has signed on with A-League club Melbourne Heart.
The Irish import has proven one of the most consistent defenders in the Victorian Premier League over the past two seasons with the Thunder and this season with the Cannons.
While some feared he would not get a chance at the national league due to restrictions on imported players, Gray was announced as a Heart player today.
Gray further impressed observers last VPL season by taking on a player-coach role for the final games of the VPL season after Stuart Munro left to become Perth Glory assistant coach.
Despite the negative feeling around the Thunder following league disciplinary action and Munro’s exit, Gray marshalled his players and got some encouraging results over the final matches.
Gray had trialled with the Heart earlier this year and travelled with the club to a tournament in Hawaii.
Speaking via the club’s website, new coach John Aloisi said he was excited to have Gray in his side.
“I watched Steven up and close in Hawaii where he played with our youth team in a tournament against some excellent opposition, and he played really well, ’’he said.
‘‘He’s a leader by nature and likes to coach on the pitch, which is really important to the development of our young players and will be valuable to our squad mix this season.’’
Melbourne Heart already have several Cannons players in their youth team. Former Cannons winger Craig Goodwin starred for the Heart last A-League season after joining from Oakleigh.