Western United youngsters set the future at the back in Tarneit

Luka Coveny Dylan Leonard Western United Academy

Western United has secured two more young stars on professional terms with centre-back duo Luka Coveny and Dylan Leonard signing two-year deals with the Green and Black.

At 18 years of age, Coveny has ascended through the Western United Academy ranks and the New Zealand national team pathway, representing the nation at Under-17 – including a World Cup – and Under-20 level.

Luka Coveny has progressed rapidly as a New Zealand youth international

Coveny’s father, Vaughan, needs no introduction to Australian football fans after his stellar career in the NSL and the A-League Men. He also became a Kiwi football icon with 30 goals in 64 caps for the All Whites.

Leonard has enjoyed an incredible first season at Western United in 2024, shining at the back and imposing his quality as a 16-year-old.

Arriving from Port Melbourne, Leonard also has familial ties with his brother Mark impressing in Diogo Ferreira’s Senior Academy side this season.

The defensive pairing will now look to elevate their game onto the professional stage for the first time, with both players ready to make the next step.

“It’s a dream come true to sign my first professional contract for this amazing Club, and I can’t wait to get started and develop as a player and a person,” Coveny said.

“Coming through the Academy and stepping up into the first team is something I’m really looking forward to. Learning off the experienced players and coaches is so important for me to improve as a player.”

Leonard added:

“This is a goal I’ve been working really hard towards in the past few years. I’m really looking forward to training at such a high level and learning from the more experienced players.

“The Academy here at Western United has helped me develop in all areas of my game. The coaches and the boys demand a lot, which creates a competitive environment that helps everyone improve.”

Dylan Leonard has been a rock at the back in his first season in the Western United Academy

Western United General Manager of Football Mal Impiombato praised the addition of two more young talents as John Aloisi prepares to bring a squad brimming with youth into the 2024/25 season.

“Again, we are delighted to enact on our vision to give talented young players the opportunity to play football in the West,” he said.

“Luka and Dylan have been tremendous together at the back in the VPL 1 Men this season and we are all eagerly anticipating their continued development in our colours.

“We are incredibly enthusiastic about the amount of young talent that we are promoting into our first team. We believe this will resonate strongly with our community in Tarneit and I can’t wait for the fans to continue to connect and grow with our squad next season and beyond.”

Coveny and Leonard are the fourth and fifth Western United Academy players respectively to clinch their first professional contracts heading into next season.

Luke Vickery and Khoder Kaddour were both confirmed earlier this week while Abel Walatee inked his deal last month.

Aloisi now has 13 players aged 23 or under tied down for next season, finding a strong balance of experience and youth to complement an exciting and dynamic roster leading into the new season.