Life back on his native Northern Beaches couldn’t be going any better for Manly United’s, Dylan Macallister.
After spending close on two decades away from the waters, Macallister, a former Hyundai A-League journeyman with additional overseas experience, has set the tone for what should be a very strong season for Manly United, bagging two goals in his first two appearances for the club.
With a professional career spanning sixteen years, Macallister first learned to kick a ball down at Avalon soccer club, on the banks of Avalon beach.
From here he would move on to play with Manly United as a junior and later Sydney Olympic where he would come to earn his first professional cap within the former National Soccer League (NSL) at the age of seventeen.
After four years playing in Sydney, Macallister packed up and headed abroad where he would spend the next four years playing throughout Norway.
Upon his return home, Macallister spent the remainder of his career in the Hyundai A-League with the Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix, Gold Coast United and Melbourne Heart along with two short stints in Iceland and Hong Kong.
After chalking up eighty-four Hyundai A-League appearances, Macallister signed with Rockdale City Suns in 2015, marking an end to a fantastic professional career and the beginning of a new one within the PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s.
In a first season spanning 27 games, Macallister would record 7 goals before receiving an offer to good to knock back.
“The PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s is in no way a step down. I found my time at Rockdale City Suns quite challenging.
“The level and professionalism around both the club and the league caught me off guard at times.
“There are some fantastic players throughout Sydney, making this league a very formidable one to conquer.
“After my first season in the PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s I received an offer to come home.
“My boyhood club offered me the opportunity to move back to the Northern Beaches and don the Manly United colours once more.
“After spending much of my career on the road and raising four fantastic children along the way, with the help of my beautiful wife, I feel now is the time to come home. I was impressed with Manly United last season making it really exciting when I finally signed.”
Macallister has been galvanized by the professionalism around Manly United and the way in which they carry themselves.
With the amount of time and effort put into the players, to ensure they are best prepared on weekly basis is what he believes will be one of the differences when the business end of the season rolls around.
“The club is in fantastic shape.
“This years’ preseason was one of the most intense I’d ever been through but one that will show come seasons end.
“It hasn’t all been smooth sailing with former manager, Paul Dee leaving due to personal reasons however the squad has a huge amount of respect for new head coach Warren Grieve which has been evident in the way we have begun our season.
“On a personal front, its great to start the season well scoring goals and it’s a trend I hope to continue throughout the year.
We have a great senior squad ranging from our u18’s up to our 1st grade with some players already showing great potential.
“We have set the bar high this year and there’s no reason why we can’t reach it or raise it further come finals time.”
On a coaching front, Macallister sees no long-term future in a higher role, however he has enjoyed getting back to basics as coach of his daughters under 7’s side at Avalon Soccer Club.
“(laughs) It really is a great buzz.
“Seeing kids enjoy the game I owe so much to brings me so much enjoyment. It reminds me of myself at that age.
“It really is all about having fun.
“At all ages, I firmly believe if you aren’t enjoying it, you’re only wasting your own time.
“I’ve been so grateful for everything football has given me. I’m forever in debt to the game so I’ll always been trying to give back, helping young footballers at a grassroots level.”
-By Joseph Esposito