It has taken several years, but Kai Barnes, pictured above, has now put pen to paper and signed for ACE.
There have been opportunities in recent years for the midfielder to pull on the red and black.
However, Kai believes the time is now right to join coach Steve Glockner’s squad for the club’s debut in FQPL 1.
“I want to be part of what Steve’s building here,” 26-year-old Kai said.
“I’ve known Steve for a while and there have been a few occasions when I was pondering whether to come across.
“I think, at this stage of my career, it is the right decision.”
The coach was delighted to get Kai on board saying he will “add so much quality, a great work ethic and leadership to our midfield and team”.
“I’ve watched Kai play when he was at Mitchie with (son) Carter a few years back. He was such a key part of their team,” Steve said.
“I’m very happy to finally have him playing at ACE and looking forward to watching the positive influence he will have.”
Kai, who plays in a central midfield role, grew up in Sandgate and spent his junior years with Brighton, North Star and Brisbane City.
His senior career has taken in NPL and FQPL football with Peninsula Power, Brisbane City, Redlands, Mitchelton and last season, just down the road at Pine Hills.
Such experience will be an important part of our new-look ACE squad preparing for life in Queensland’s second tier.
“I have had leadership roles with teams in the past,” Kai said. “I like to mentor junior players in the sport, so hopefully I can do that again next season.
“As it’s a new squad I think we’ll need to put in a lot of hard work in pre-season to make sure we gel and get continuity right.
“Hopefully, pre-season will set us up for round one. We have enough good people here, with the coaching staff, to be ready for that.
“Then it’s about taking each week as it comes. It’s a cliché, but I think we have to get used to the next level and build, week in week out.”