Ballarat City mid-season recruit Courtney Austin will return home to England due to “personal” issues to be with his family.
Austin landed in Australia in May and has played seven matches for City and despite the difficult news for the 19-year-old in recent weeks, he has committed to returning to the club next season.
Austin also succumbed to a hamstring injury last week which made his decision to head home much simpler given he would be in the rehab room for 3-4 weeks.
Coach Danny Gnjidic said the club were sad to see Austin leave early, but fully supported his decision.
“We’re sorry to see him go but obviously family comes first,” Gnjidic said.
“It’s not ideal, but he needs to go and do what he needs to do.
“He suffered an injury last week which really confirmed his mindset in regards to returning home.”
Gnjidic said the club was looking forward to regaining the services of the talented striker in 2018. Having fallen short of promotion this season, Austin will be a great addition to the side for a full season.
Gnjidic felt while we got a glimpse of his ability this year, Austin’s on-field performance was clearly affected in recent matches by the news.
“The mental side of things is greater than the physical and I think the last couple of weeks had a bit of an impact on his performances.
“He’s committed to returning for next season to play a full season. He’s really enjoyed the football here.
“He’s a good man and he’s a great footballer, those are two key components to what we’re looking for and he fits that and we look forward to getting a full year out of him.”
Austin played in the English Championship League, a tier below the Premier League, side Brentford’s youth team but missed out on receiving a pro contract at the end of the 2016 season.
Austin then played non-league seniors for Hanwell Town and Southwell FC and was hoping to press his claim for an A-League contract in Australia.