By Alan Ions
Heidelberg United has seen many great players come and go over the years, many like Kaine Sheppard have left an impression. The striker first arrived at the club in 2014, transferring from Histon Football Club (England), and quickly became a fan favourite. Kaine linked up in the forward line alongside Dan Heffernan, and for the next two seasons (2014-2015) together they terrorised opposition defences, scoring a combined 58 goals in just 44 games.
Sheppard’s ratio to goals was impressive, to say the least, and his contributions helped Heidelberg run deep into the FFA Cup and into the semi-finals in 2015. However, as is often the case in the world of football, success breeds interest from rival clubs.
Heidelberg United All Time Leading Goal Scorers
In 2016, Sheppard departed Heidelberg United, leaving a void in the club’s attack. Heffernan had departed late in 2015 for A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners, so the loss of Sheppard was a significant blow. Nonetheless, Heidelberg United continued to compete at the highest level, even as their star players moved on to bigger and better things.
Fast forward to 2022, and Kaine Sheppard made his triumphant return to the club that gave him his start in Australian football. After several seasons away in the A-League, Sheppard was back in familiar territory, ready to make an impact once again. He didn’t disappoint. In the two seasons since his return, Sheppard has scored an incredible tally of 40 goals in 67 games, demonstrating that he still has what it takes to dominate the NPL Victoria.
In recognition of his outstanding performances, Sheppard was voted the NPL player of the year in 2022, a testament to his skill and dedication. At only 30 years of age, Sheppard is still in his prime, and fans are eagerly anticipating another big season from him.
As for his new coach, John Anastasiadis, there is no doubt that he will be looking to his experience and leadership this season and his knowledge of the game is invaluable. He knows what it takes to win, and he has the ability to inspire those around him to perform at their best.