Sydney FC add Keller to complete squad

July 30, 2009
By Liam FitzGibbon

Sydney FC have completed their squad for the upcoming A-League season with the signing of former Swiss international defender Stephan Keller.

Keller will join the club on a one-year deal after turning down offers from clubs in Turkey and Greece.

The 30-year-old, who has spent the last two seasons with Dutch club De Graafschap, impressed coach Vitezslav Lavicka while trialling in a 1-1 pre-season draw against Newcastle last Sunday.

Keller will combine with Simon Colosimo to form an experienced central defensive partnership as the sky blues look to bounce back from a disappointing season in which they missed the A-League finals for the first time.

"Personally, I just want to try to give my best football here to the Sydney Football Club and as a team I hope we, as the coach wants, have growth and improve ourselves week in, week out," Keller said.

"We have a footballing squad with a lot of technical players and this must be our advantage this year."

Keller becomes Lavicka's third international recruit after he brought Slovak international Karol Kisel and Korean defender Sung-hwan Byun to the inaugural A-League champions.

"I think he is good for the team and teaching the younger (players), especially in central defence," Lavicka said of Keller.

"He brings experience and European football culture.

"I think he can help us to be successful."

Keller, who has also played in the Swiss and German leagues, said the Australian lifestyle was the biggest attraction in choosing to come to the A-League.

"The weather," he laughed when asked about why he'd decided to sign.

"When I came over here for a trial I was pretty sure my family would live here much better than in a place in Greece or in Turkey.

"The lifestyle, the city of Sydney and the adventure ... living far, far away from home.

"We always thought 700km would be far away from home, now it's a little bit further."

Sydney begin their season against A-League newcomers North Queensland in Townsville next Saturday.