Melbourne Victory promotes Academy graduate, Franco Lino to the A-League Men’s squad

Melbourne Victory is pleased to announce the signing of Academy graduate Franco Lino to a scholarship contract until the end of the 2025/26 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Lino (17) joins the senior ranks from Victory’s Academy system, starting his journey at the Club at the age of 12, working his way through the program to reach the first team.

The full-back has represented the country at youth international level, recently returning from Portugal with the Young Socceroos, and has been a mainstay of the NPL senior side over the past two seasons, predominantly playing as a dynamic left-sided player.

Melbourne Victory Director of Football, John Didulica said he was proud to see Lino’s rise to the senior side from the Club’s Academy system.

“We’re incredibly excited to elevate Franco to a full-time professional playing contract for the 2023/24 season and beyond,” Didulica said.

“His development through the youth ranks, then through our NPL teams and now into the senior squad is a testament to his continuing perseverance, hard work and determination to be a professional footballer.

“Progression of our Academy players into our senior A-League Men’s system is a major focus for us at Melbourne Victory. Franco’s development over the past two years in particular is evidence of this and a demonstration of the calibre of players we’ll be able to, and will, integrate into the Men’s team. 

“We saw Franco come here as a 12-year-old boy, so to now become a senior A-League contracted player is a great story, and we can’t wait to see what he can produce at this level.”

Lino was also excited to begin his journey with the A-League side.

“I’m thrilled to be able to continue my time at Melbourne Victory with the senior side and can’t wait to prove myself at A-League level,” Lino said.

“I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me along the journey at Melbourne Victory and has guided me to the position I am in today.

“I know working with the A-League Men’s team every day will be incredibly challenging but I am looking forward to putting in the hard work day in, day out and supporting the team in the best way I can.”

Lino joins recent Academy graduates, Will Wilson and Matt Bozinovski on full-time deals as the side continues to build towards the 2023/24 Isuzu UTE A-League season. The A-League Men’s side returns to training in July ahead of the Australia Cup playoff on Monday 17 July against Newcastle Jets in Darwin.