Rawlins set to complete move to Dutch top-flight

Perth Glory can confirm that defender Josh Rawlins will complete a move to prominent Dutch Eredivisie club FC Utrecht during the off-season.

The 18-year-old Perth local, who joined the PGFC Academy at the age of 11, made 34 A-League appearances for the club after being handed his senior debut in the 2019 friendly against Manchester United at Optus Stadium and also featured in the 2020 AFC Champions League campaign.

Glory will receive an undisclosed fee for Rawlins who admitted to experiencing mixed emotions ahead of taking what is a huge step in his professional career.

“It’s exciting and a bit sad,” he said, “because I have all my family here, so it’ll be different, but a good change and it’s a massive opportunity.

“I probably didn’t think it would come around so soon, but it looks like a great opportunity and I’m really excited.”

Rawlins went on to list his involvement in the AFC Champions League as one of the major highlights of his time in purple.

“I grew up at the club,” he said.

“The AFC Champions League was probably one of the biggest things in the club’s history and to be a part of that was amazing.

“To start playing A-League football at a young age has really helped my development and helped me mature as a player, so I’m really thankful to the club for giving me that opportunity.

“I’d also like to thank the Members and fans for their ongoing support over the last couple of years.

“It’s been a tough two years, but I know the club is going in the right direction with [Head Coach] Ruben Zadkovich helping that along the way and all the players are very keen to show up next season and put on a better display.”

Zadkovich, meanwhile, believes that Rawlins’ move to the Netherlands serves as a strong endorsement of the club’s Academy.

“Josh is one of our Academy players and it shows that the system is working,” he said.

“It gives the other young Academy players belief, so having one of our boys going off to play in Europe is a massive positive for him and a massive positive for the club.

“It shows that there is a clear pathway in place at this club and there will be more [players] to come.

“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for Josh and one that he deserves.

“Through his quality as a footballer, he’s opened up that avenue.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Glory CEO, Tony Pignata.

“On behalf of everyone associated with Perth Glory, I would like to congratulate Josh, thank him for his service to the club and wish him all the very best in the next chapter of his career,” he said.

“He joins what is an impressive list of young WA players who have progressed through the ranks of the PGFC Academy, been given their opportunity to play senior football for their hometown club and subsequently secured a move to Europe.

“I’m sure Josh will acquit himself superbly at FC Utrecht and look forward to watching his career develop in the coming years.”