WAGGA City Wanderers coach Michael Babic says the addition of Liam Dedini adds to his desire to have fierce competition for spots as the club shoots for its first finals appearance this year.
Dedini gave up goalkeeping to focus on coaching after breaking his hand in his final game for the Wanderers in 2018.
He guided the Wanderers to last year's under-20 premiership before beginning a role with the Sydney-based Football NSW Institute as a goalkeeping coach for the girl's program.
The COVID pandemic has put an end to that role for now with Dedini starting up his own training business, Leading Football Development.
Babic said Dedini will keep incumbent goalkeeper and team co-captain Robert Fry on his toes.
"Liam puts pressure on Rob. That's what we want at the club, that's what we're trying to build, that everyone knows they've got to perform week in, week out," Babic said.
"We know Liam is going to push Rob and make him better, and it's also the specialist training he brings. He's coaching the under-16 and under-18 keepers.
"This group of goalkeepers, having access to Liam with his passion and knowledge and desire to improve them is fantastic.
"From a playing perspective Liam plays outfield as well, he strikes the ball extremely well and can be a surprise packet for the playing group.
"We got him for his goalkeeping capacity, but we might have a few surprises."
Dedini said he's keen to transfer the knowledge he's learned from his Sydney role, which including working with the Future Matildas, to the Wanderers' young players.
"I'm running the goal keepers at training and Babic is twisting my arm to have a run around with the boys," Dedini said.
"My main role will be to help out with the coaching, but if there's a keeper away or they need me on field I'm happy to be both.
"I think Babs wants me to come in and have a run around, so I think I'll have a few games.
"A lot of the goal keeper training I do, you're striking a ball at the keeper so I'm always getting a touch on the ball.
"But I haven't played competitively in goals for a year or two. Last year I mucked around in fourth grade on-field, but it's been a while since I put the gloves on and played in goal for the senior Wanderers."
Dedini said his coaching has could help provide a different perspective in the thick of the action.
"When you're coaching and telling everyone what to do there's a bit of pressure to go out there and do it as well, and not make mistakes," he laughed.
"I understand the game so much more since I've been coaching and even what I picked up in the short time in Sydney with the institute.
"I don't think it will be this year, but once it all settles with Covid, finances get up and running and they can do what they want to without restrictions, my goal is to definitely get back up there, especially now Australia is hosting the women's world cup."
The Wanderers' nine-game National Premier League ACT campaign gets underway next weekend.