The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers have signed youngsters Alusine Fofanah and Daniel Alessi to two season National Youth Development contracts that will keep the pair with the Club until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season.
Having both made their first team debuts this season, their performances on and off the pitch as well as impressive attitudes convinced Wanderers Head Coach Tony Popovic to sign the pair to progress their development.
Alessi was the first of the talented duo to make his debut when he played the full 90 minutes of the Sydney Derby in Round 14, slotting into defence and marking Alessandro Del Piero out of the contest in the Wanderers 2-0 win.
Fofanah made several appearances on the Wanderers first team bench before having his patience and persistence rewarded in Round 15, starting the match against Adelaide United in a dominating show in the centre of midfield.
Both players have already impressed on the National stage for the Young Socceroos and are excited by the prospect of taking their club football to the next level as members of the senior side.
Alessi, a 16 year old defender, has been a Sydney boy his whole life growing up in Pymble and progressed through the Football NSW development program before being picked up by the Red and Black.
“I’m really privileged to be signing a professional contract with the Club,” said Alessi.
“I love all the people involved at the Wanderers; there’s a great culture around the office and the change room – a family atmosphere – and our hardworking style of play represents me well as a person.
“I’ve been playing in the back yard with my brother since I was four years old and I always wanted to be a professional; I would think about it every night before I went to bed.”
Midfielder Fofanah, also 16, was born in Sierra Leone but moved to Sydney at a young age when his family came to Australia as refugees. In 2011 a 14 year old Fofanah scored six goals during a two match trial for Manchester City’s U18 team though visa issues meant he was unable to make the move permanent.
“To sign with the Wanderers is a dream come true but this is just the beginning,” explained Fofanah.
“I need to keep my head down, work hard at training and listen to the coaches.
“Even though we’re a new club, we’re a big club. The camaraderie and the people make it a special place.”
The pair has gained further experience with the senior squad in Asia having been involved in a number of match day squads in the AFC Champions League.