Sheppard embarks on European odyssey

by Mark Gojszyk 0

Image: Dion Fountas

Avondale FC’s Kaine Sheppard has made a European move, signing with Finnish top-division club SJK Seinäjoki.

The forward departs Victorian football after three and a half seasons. Moving from England – albeit with Australian heritage – Sheppard most notably was in Leyton Orient’s youth team at the same time when Harry Kane was there on loan from Tottenham.

Sheppard had lower league stints at St Albans City, Histon and Braintree before making the move to Australia in 2014 with Heidelberg United. He settled in well at Olympic Village, forming a deadly duo with Dan Heffernan, where notably the club embarked on an FFA Cup run culminating in the famous home clash against Melbourne City alongside consecutive top-four league finishes.

His 2016 campaign was hampered by injuries and Sheppard departed Heidelberg after 22 league goals in 55 games, signing for Avondale in 2017.

He netted three goals for a goal-shy Avondale outfit before now departing mid-season for his new adventure.

At SJK he links up with first-team coach Brian Page, who was his manager at Histon. The Finnish outfit most recently won the Veikkausliiga in 2015 and the Finnish Cup in 2016.

“Basically the club got in contact and said there may be a chance to trial, so I took the opportunity and trailed for 10 days then being offered a contract,” Sheppard told TCF.

“I get to go for Europa League qualifiers and play with international players and really test myself.

“My goals are to play in as many games as I can and try score some goals, and obviously help the team finish as high up the table as possible.”