Bentleigh Greens have bolstered their squad ahead of the NPL Victoria season with the dual-signing of Alex Baker and Mawien Nielo.
Baker, a former Western United academy player, hails from Ballarat, where he started playing senior football in his mid-teen years with Ballarat City.
His footballing journey has seen him progress from his hometown to Melbourne with Western and, more recently, overseas, where he has been playing in Iceland for second-division club Throttuer Reykjavik.
With some fantastic overseas experience under his belt, Baker returns to Melbourne and is looking to make his mark in the top tier of Victorian football.
“I’m looking forward to playing back in Australia,” he said.
“It was a different challenge and environment over in Iceland, but it provided some great learning opportunities to develop my game and improve, and that’s what I’m about right now.
“We had a successful season over there. We achieved promotion, so it was a great experience.”
Baker is known for his marauding runs down the touchline from full-back but also has experience at centre-back.
Having chipped in with a few assists to help Throttuer on its way to promotion in Iceland, he is looking to give plenty going forward for the Greens.
“I play anywhere across the back-line, but I’ve worked on that part of my game going forward and picking up a few assists as well, so I’m hoping I can make a good contribution at both ends for the club.”
Joining Baker is young striker Nielo, who arrives at the club from NPL2 outfit Langwarrin.
Nielo offers both short-term excitement and long-term potential.
The striker scored seven league goals for Langy last season and will bring a new dimension to the Greens forward play.