Aaron Romein will be back in goals for Ballarat in NPLV2 this year.
However, there will be difference this time around.
When he last represented his hometown it was under the banner of Ballarat Red Devils.
He returns as the number one goalkeeper for Ballarat City FC – in its second year – after a season with St Albans Saints in the top tier NPL Vic.
City FC head coach Danny Gnjidic said the signing of Romein meant the club was unable to retain the services of young keeper Josh Dorron.
Dorron joined Ballarat from Alice Springs last year and was one of just five players to take the field in all of the team’s 28 league games.
“Football at this level is a tough business and Josh is a young goalkeeper with a bright future,” Gnjidic said.
“Once the opportunity to bring Aaron back to the club was identified though, it was one we could not pass up.”
Romein, who was named NPL2 goalkeeper of the year in 2015, is returning to Ballarat after St Albans, where he was the number two keeper for part of the season, was relegated to NPL2.
The 29-year-old said he had learnt a great deal in this stint away, having three tryouts with A-League team Brisbane Roar and one with Melbourne Victory adding to the experience.
Romein said he had had a few options when considering where he would play this year, but was more than comfortable with his decision.
He said commuting from Ballarat to play with St Albans had been quite taxing and he was looking forward to spending less time away from home.
Gnjidic said getting Romein back was a huge positive on a number of levels.
“Firstly, he's an outstanding goalkeeper and will bring a wealth of experience and leadership to the team.
“In addition to that, he's a product of Ballarat football and that is something that I believe is quite significant,” he said.
“The fact that as a club and a region we are able to nurture and develop our own talent and have a senior team that competes at NPL level is an absolute credit to those that have been part of Ballarat football over the past two decades."
Gnjidic believes Romein is one of the best goalkeepers outside the A-League.
“His professionalism and ability to communicate effectively with his teammates as well as his overall quality has already been shown in the pre-season training and given the whole team a lift."
Romein will line up for City FC against fellow NPL team Port Melbourne Sharks in a practice match at Morshead Park on Saturday.
The under-20s kick off at 3pm and seniors at 5pm.
Gnjidic said his group would be a bit younger than first anticipated, but that was how the fixture had fallen with a number of senior players unavailable.
He said it was a good opportunity to show them what it took to play against a quality National Premier League outfit.
Ballarat City FC finished seventh in NPL West last season. In its first year, the new club won 10 games and had five draws.