Cairns product joins United

Ryan Cavanah celebrates his goal in the FFA Cup against Sydney FC




Kristian Rees has added further youth to his squad signing Ryan Cavanah ahead of the 2019 Queensland National Premier Leagues season. The box to box midfielder joins the club from Cairns FC where he enjoyed a standout 2018 making 25 first team appearances.

A highlight of Cavanah’s season was a stunning strike against A-League outfit Sydney FC in the FFA Cup with Rees hopeful he can reproduce similar moments of quality for United in 2019.

“Ryan’s a good young player who was unfortunately left without a club with Cairns folding,” Rees said.

“From what I’ve seen of him he’s mature beyond his 18 years and very ambitious.”


“He should be a very strong addition to our squad and I’m excited about him joining the club in early January.”


Ryan’s first club was the Innisfail Tigers from where he went on to represent the Queensland under 15 side. A move to Rincon de la Victoria in the Spanish 3rd division followed where he added some ‘latino razzle’ to his direct approach.

Cavanah makes no secret of the fact that he loves to run at players and beat them 1 on 1 and that attribute saw him progress to the Spanish club’s under 21 squad as a 16 year old. With Spanish coaches used to a style that rewards deft touches, Ryan’s direct style blew them away when he started taking players on – and beating them.

According to Ryan’s father John, a respected coach in his own right, “he just stood out. He was still a small, technical player but he was running at people.”

“It was a bit of a surprise, especially for a centre-midfielder.”


After a year in Spain Cavanah returned home to graduate year 12 and cemented himself in the senior squad with Cairns FC. After that club’s withdrawal from the Queensland NPL competition a discussion with United’s Technical Director Craig Midgley led him to a trial with United where he impressed coach Kristian Rees.

“Craig Midgley invited me to trial at the Gold Coast and I enjoyed training under Kristian and really enjoy Michael Thwaite’s input,” Cavanah confirmed.


Although unfamiliar with most of the United squad, Cavanah should feel at home alongside Thwaite and Midgley who have both called Cairns home. Thwaite was raised in Cairns and played his junior football at Saints Soccer Club. His senior amateur career began at merged club Edge Hill-Saints before moving south to begin his professional journey. Midgley was Technical Director at Cairns FC before joining United in 2018.

That Cairns connection and his experiences in Spain should stand the youngster in good stead when he relocates to the Coast in January.

“I don’t really know my team mates too well but they’ve all been very welcoming and seem like a great bunch of lads.

“I’ve enjoyed the training and the club’s professionalism.”


The midfielder is keeping his goals for 2019 simple.

“I’m keen to keep working hard, to be prepared to do any job asked of me by Kristian and to try and get and maintain a regular spot in the team.”


The opportunity to impress comes early in the new year with United taking on Western Pride on Saturday the 12th of January, the first of three pre-season matches in the Inter City Cup hosted by Rochedale Rovers.

The Men’s 2019 NPL season proper gets underway on the Saturday the 2nd of February with a trip to Wolter Park in store for United where they take on Moreton Bay.