Two of Perth’s top teams have announced a daring merger with the long-term objective of dominating the national scene. Now in their second season as a club, Perth Redstar hope to distinguish themselves as one of the best teams in Western Australia both on and off the field, by building on a strong youth academy in addition to maintaining the strong corporate structure they have put in place.
ECU Joondalup SC, once hailed as the pride of the north, was originally formed in 1992, but under the banner of Joondalup City; years later, a name change was made to ECU Joondalup. The relocation to new facilities with new affiliations—operating near and collaborating closely with the renowned Edith Cowan University—led to the change.
Since being formed in 1991 as Morley Windmills, Northern Redbacks have won 15 Premier League Championships and nine State League Women’s Cups. Most recently, as a club, they played in the inaugural WNPL WA Grand Final, where they came out winners and cemented themselves as the state’s most famous and successful female-only club.
The merger now sees all teams competing as Perth Redstar, the club hopes to honour their glorious past while welcoming an exciting new future on the horizon.
General Manager, Simon Hicks, explained, “Conversations began between the two clubs in 2021, with both parties having needs for improved facilities, the Northern Redbacks more urgently than ECU Joondalup SC.
“The idea was for the Northern Redbacks to come on board and immediately gain access to the NPL Women’s-compliant venue currently hosting the men’s club, while both clubs could then pool their resources to work towards the long-term vision of a new home.”
During the early stages of the merger in early 2022, Kenny Lowe, a former manager of Perth Glory, was the club’s director of football. Since then, however, he has returned to Glory and is now working as the Head of Youth Development at their prominent academy.
Following Lowe’s departure, Redstar have hired a number of important individuals, many of whom have full-time positions. Experienced people with a wealth of knowledge, like Andrew Ord, the current director of football, are crucial to the Reds.
The Head of Communications and Media, Robbie Anderson, is young, creative, and has previous experience with Joondalup City, both in a coaching capacity and in creating their newly discovered social media presence. These attributes all play a significant role in keeping the club modern. Mixed with academy team managers such as Danny O’Shea, who has played for the likes of Arsenal and Cambridge United, and Mark Scanlan, the under-twenty’s manager who is also Redstar’s lead analyst, are critical in recruiting and nurturing local talent.
The most notable former members of staff include Jesse Hesford, previously of Perth Glory and Adelaide United; Andy Petterson, East Bengal’s current goalkeeping coach; and Steve McGarry, who most recently served as assistant manager under Richard Garcia at Perth Glory.
Current and Ex-Players
Former Northern Redbacks player Morgan Aquino, who is currently playing for Perth Glory in the Liberty A-League, supports the merger and hope it serves as a catalyst for an improvement in women’s football in Western Australia.
Other distinguished talents evolved and developed under the guidance of Carlos Vega Mena at the Redbacks include three Matildas, Lisa De Vanna, Kim Carroll, and Collette McCallum, as well as a number of international players for Wales, Northern Ireland, and Zambia, and a number of A-League Women Perth Glory players.
Socceroos Adam Taggart, Josh Risdon, Brad Jones, Rhys Williams, Shane Lowry, and Chris Herd are among the alumni of ECU Joondalup, along with Alex Grant and Brandon O’Neill, who have played for Perth Glory in the past.
Matt Dench, the midfielder who signed his first professional contract with Charlton Athletic in July 2022, and Ashley Maynard-Brewer, who is also at Charlton and has made seven first-team appearances as of now, are two other current exciting young players who learned their trade at ECU.
These players underline and support their pride in and dedication to cultivating local talent, which is comparatively uncommon in the state.
Culture and Vision
“Longer term, the club’s ambition is no secret, and we ultimately want to be able to offer a development pathway to the very pinnacle of Australian football, and we are equally committed to achieving this across both the male and female teams at the club.” General Manager Simon Hicks stated.
As stated on their website, their goal is to improve each player’s technical, tactical, and physical skills. Additionally, it aims to give players important life skills such as commitment, discipline, respect, and perseverance.
To make the club one of the best, it is essential to continuously strive for excellence in all areas, including playing, coaching, administration, and social areas—something that has been proven by their newest remarks and additions to and surrounding the club.