MAROCCHI NAMED STATE COACH
Former Perth Glory coach Gary Marocchi has been appointed coach of the Western Australian state team for next weekend's visit to Adelaide. Marocchi, who played in the National Soccer League for Adelaide City and made 14 appearances for Australia in the mid-1970's, will also be in charge of the State under-19 side which will compete in the 46th Tournai de Croix this May. Also taking part in the annual event are current holders Birmingham City (England), R.E. Mouscron (Belgium), Viborg (Denmark), F.C. Fortune (South Africa), Club National De Montevideo (Uruguay), a select side from the United States and French quartet Lens, Lille, Wasquehal and Croix.
ADRIAN MADASCHI ... GOODBYE MONZA, HELLO SERIE A
One-time Perth S.C. junior Adrian Madaschi has experienced a lot since heading abroad as a 15-year old to take up an offer to join Italian club Atalanta. After progressing through the various youth sides at club level, Madaschi helped Australia make the final of the 1999 Under-17 World Championship in New Zealand where the Joeys lost 6-7 on penalties to Brazil. The tall defender played a leading role in Atalanta lifting the 2000/01 Primavera Coppa Italia, and shortly after back in national colours at the World Youth (Under-20) Championship.
Last September Madaschi took up an offer to spend a season on loan to Seric C side Monza where he hoped to gain first team experience. Unfortunately, things didn't quite go according to plan for the young defender. "The loan was supposed to last for the whole season but for some reason that was cut short and has puzzled many people, including me. Monza decided to send me back to Atalanta, whether it was to make space for the six Brazilian players they bought - of whom only one has made an appearance since my departure - I do not know. It was a surprise to both my teammates at Monza and Atalanta who could not believe that I was returning to Atalanta so early and for no particular reason. Still today the official reason for my leaving has not been made to me."
"But for me this is not a problem. I'm not one to sit around and dwell on past experiences, good or bad, it's time to move on to bigger and better things," said a confident Madaschi. "Atalanta is my club and it's a club that believes in me and has respect for me both as a player and a person and knows what I can achieve. My return to Atalanta was the best thing that could have happened and I'm happy about it. My experiences at Monza may seem negative but I can assure you that many positive things have come out of it and I am very grateful for them. It is now up to me to put into practice the many things I learnt while at Monza so I can fulfill my immediate goal of debuting in Serie A before the end of this season."
Despite getting limited chances to prove himself at Monza, Madaschi said he thoroughly enjoyed his time with the club. "If I was to be completely honest, Monza was a great experience - despite the various problems associated with the club and the way is was run in such an unprofessional manner. Although I only made eight first team apearances - six from the start - I can honestly say that I was happy with my performances and, if I was given the opportunity, I believe that I could have proved of a lot more valuable to Monza than what they received."
While things did not work out at Monza, Madaschi's career with Atalanta could be about to blossom. "I'm back at Atalanta and training non-stop with the first team. When I'm not needed for the bench, I go with the Primavera side to keep up my match fitness. My new start with the first team has begun very well and I'm very happy with how it's going. The guys here are all top blokes, always there to help, encourage and give you great tips and its great to learn from people like Massimo Carrera and Cristiano Doni. Both these players are unbelievably down to earth - they make you feel at home, they show you the greatest of respect and are true examples to follow ... these are the people I aspire to."
"I'm hopeful that I'll make my debut before the end of the season. It will really depend on me being able to demonstrate my ability, and also on whether Atalanta can avoid the relegation zone and be safe in the last couple of games. I'm encouraged to train hard and show what I'm made of and this alone is a great feeling because it shows you that people believe in you. But, like I said, it will be up to me to show people what I can do and if I'm up to the standard then the reward will come. I am very optimistic about it."
Within a week of leaving Monza, Madaschi was back in action for Atalanta, playing in the prestigious International Tournament of Viareggio with the Primavera team. "That was at the start of February and I can say that I was very happy with both mine and the teams' performances - if only we had a bit of luck by our side! It was often commented that we were the best football playing side there as we really did hand out a few footballing lessons. The side was made up of many very good young players, of which five are part of the Under-17 national squad, plus a few experienced players like myself. We won all our games convincingly in the first round, 4-1 against Anderlecht, 1-0 against Empoli - when we missed about five open goal opportunities! - and 3-1 against Maccabi Haifa."
"In the quarter-finals we beat Vicenza 1-0 and then, after missing four unbelievable scoring opportunities in the first ten minutes and dominating the game for almost 80 minutes, we lost to Inter Milan 2-0 to get knocked out. It's not always the better team on the day that wins and that's what's so good about football! After a few days of disappointment we saw Inter go on to win the tournament in an even more fortunate manner - Torino were tipped to win and played a lot better in the final - all you can saw is that Inter were destined to win and congratulations to them. The tournament was very important for me as it allowed me to express myself as a player and I felt at home again playing with Atalanta."
As for his future with Atalanta, Madaschi says that is currently up in the air. "It will all depend on how our season finishes but I'm sure that the club will remain in Serie A even with a few games to spare towards the end of the season. At the moment we are currently three points above the fourth last - that is the relegation zone and although that doesn't sound too safe the team is very well prepared to make that jump up the ladder."
"Personally, I am working hard and also keeping in mind next season where I hope to find a good Serie B or C club for another loan deal that can offer me a good chance to play regularly and prove myself. On the other hand if Atalanta were to ask me to stay - hoping and confident that it will be in Serie A - it would be to fill in spots when required and this too could also prove fruitful. My options are open but at the moment I have only one thing in mind and that is training hard and preparing myself in the best way possible to get a chance of a Serie A debut before the end of this season."
FREMANTLE YOUNGSTERS SEEK HAT-TRICK
Fremantle City's Under-18 side are making good progress for the season ahead according to coach Mike Tetlow. "We have added some top class players to the all ready excellent squad ," said the coach, who is also in charge of the State Under-14's. The team are undefeated in their two friendlies to date, the most recent a 5-2 victory over the youngsters from Sorrento. On Monday, the winners of the Under-18 Boral Cup for the past two years travel to Armadale for the First Round of this years' competition.
PETKOVIC MAKES 'TEAM OF THE CENTURY'
Former Western Australia State goalkeeper Michael Petkovic was last week named in South Melbourne's 'Team of the Century' at a gala event attended by over 700 people at the Crown Palladium Ballroom. Since the club came into being 43 years ago, some of Australia's greatest goalkeepers have called South's home, amongst them Jack Reilly, Australian 'keeper at the 1974 World Cup Finals, Peter Laumets, who made 213 games for the club, Bruce MacLaren and Marko Fode.
Petkovic is widely regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers Australia has ever produced. After starting out in the local competition with Spearwood Dalmatinac (later to become Cockburn City), he joined South mid-1995 and was an integral part of the back-to-back N.S.L. Championship winning teams of 1997/98 and 1998/99. Voted the competition's Goalkeeper of the Year in 1998/99 and 2000/01, Petkovic has made 4 appearances (including 3 'A' internationals) for the national team since debuting against Manchester United in July 1999.
FUTURE BOW TO QUEENS PARK
Fresh from a 4-0 trouncing of Cockburn City in Sunday's Night Series, Future Glory travelled to Coker Park to play First Division side Queens Park in a friendly on Wednesday night. With several members of the senior side in their ranks, Future would rue a swag of missed opportunities before Alex Grindley headed in a second half winner.
PERTH FLAVOUR TO W.N.S.L.
It's been another successful Women's National Soccer League in which Perth's three participants tasted varying degrees of success. Tal Karp (Canberra Eclipse) and Collette McCallum (New South Wales Sapphires) are in the running for starting spots when their teams meet in the Grand Final next Saturday (9th March), while Lisa De Vanna has had an outstanding debut season with Adelaide Sensation.
Karp had the honour of playing every minute of every game for Eclipse in season 2001/02. The second half of the campaign started with a 2-0 home win over Victoria Vision, followed by the 1-1 draw with Queensland Sting in which the midfielder was unlucky not to score the decider in dying minutes. A 1-2 away loss to the Sapphires was next on the agenda before clinching their place in the Final with a 3-0 triumph over Northern New South Wales Pride. McCallum, by contrast, has had something of an interrupted season for the Sapphires. After full games against Adelaide Sensation (6-1 win) and Vision (2-0 win), the teenager was replaced at half-time in the 2-1 home win over Canberra Eclipse and took no part in last weekend's match with Queensland Sting.
But it's been the performances of fellow-West Australian De Vanna that have caught the eye. Called into the Young Matilda's squad late last year, De Vanna ended the season as joint-fourth leading scorers with four goals from nine outings for Sensation. The 17-year old started the New Year by scoring a fantastic solo goal 12 minutes into the Round 7 clash with the Sapphires, who eventually ran out 6-1 victors. Having been kept scoreless against Pride (2-4 loss) and Sting (0-3 loss), De Vanna netted Sensation's fourth goal in the 4-1 drubbing of Vision which sealed them fourth place on the end-of-season table.
WEST AUSSIES MAKE IMPRESSION IN V.P.L.
Three weeks into the new Victoria Premier League season and Western Australia's two representatives - Vas Kalogeracos and Joe Vaz - are proving important contributors to the fortunes of their respective clubs. After an aborted move to the New Zealand-based Kingz F.C., Kalogeracos inked a deal with newly-promoted Whittlesea Stallions where he has re-discovered his goal scoring touch. On the opening weekend of the season the former Floreat Athena striker bagged a double in the 3-2 win over Bulleen Zebras. He was kept quiet the following week as the Stallions drew 0-0 with Green Gully, but on the weekend Kalogeracos was back to doing what he knows best by netting the opening goal in the 2-2 away draw with Altona Magic.
Former Western Knights and State midfielder Vaz has just commenced his second season on the books of Fawkner Blues where his teammates include one-time Inglewood United forward Alex Josifovski. After a 2-1 win over Fitzroy City in the first round of fixtures, Vaz opened his seasons' account with the Blues second goal - a lob over the 'keeper after Josifovski's 73rd minute shot was parried - in their 2-0 away win over St Albans. On Sunday Vaz played a key role in the Blues coming from two goals down to record a 2-2 home draw with Altona East Phoenix. The result kept Vaz's team undefeated and in second place on the Premier League table.
SHARLAND, MRDJA OPEN N.S.L. ACCOUNTS
This time last year Greg Sharland and Nick Mrdja were involved in the qualifying rounds of the Night Series for Inglewood United and Perth S.C. respectively. A lot has happened in the intervening twelve months for both players with Mrdja returning to the Perth Glory squad while Sharland moved east to join forces with Wollongong Wolves. In recent weeks both strikers have brought up a significant career milestone - their debut goal in the National Soccer League.
In just his ninth N.S.L. outing, Sharland's first goal helped the Wolves to a 2-1 win over Sydney United and keep alive the clubs' faint finals dream. Sharland, who joined the Wolves from Inglewood at the start of the season, scored in the 33rd minute to give his side the lead at Edensor Park. The 19-year old finished an impressive Wolves which started with a exchange between Dustin Wells and Naum Sekulovski, the latter's cross from the right was only half cleared by the defence and Wolves captain Alvin Ceccoli knocked it to the feet of Sharland who made no mistake from close-range. Highly rated by coach Ron Corry, Sharland has not been out of the Wolves travelling squad since making his debut in December's 3-1 win over South Melbourne.
Injury kept Mrdja out of action until recently, but with Damian Mori and Bobby Depsotovski on fire up-front for Glory, the 23-year old has had to bide is time on the bench. Mrdja's chance came when injury forced Despotovski out of the away clash with Melbourne Knights two weeks ago, and Mrdja grabbed his opportunity with both hands by finding the net in the 76th minute. "Getting my first goal was tremendous and has helped my confidence," he said this week. "I was really surprised by how cool I was when I got the chance. I had a bit of time after getting a great pass from Damian, I steadied myself, tried to force the 'keeper to committing himself and managed to curl it into the far corner."
F.I.F.A. STICK BY RULING
F.I.F.A. has indicated to Soccer Australia that they are unlikely to change regulations regarding the transfer between countries of players under the age of 18. More than 20 young Australians, including several in the west, have been unable to pursue their careers abroad because of Article 12 of the Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players which permits the transfer of minors only "when the family of the player moves to the country in which the new club is located for reasons that are not linked to football."
NIGHT SERIES WEEKEND TWO
With five new faces in the starting eleven, Bassendean Caledonian version 2002 kicked-off their season on Friday night against a Swan I.C. outfit missing regulars starters Corey Hugo, Justin Everley and Carlo Scali. In a quiet first 20 minutes, Swan enjoyed the better of possession but poor finishing would let them down on more than one occasion. Their opponents eventually came into the game and in the 23rd minute Swan's Frank Letizia was the first 'keeper to see action when he kept out a well-directed Graeme Matthews header. A few minutes later Letizia prevented a curling shot from Matthews from crossing the line. But just as Caledonian were starting to find some confidence, Swan scored with a quick counter-attacking move down the left which was finished off by Christian Marocchi after 27 minutes.
Three minutes later Caledonian midfielder Dean Gartside hit a scorching long-range shot bound for the top corner, at least it was until Letizia paddled the ball over the bar. Some sloppy defending presented Swan teenager Tom Shepheard with a golden opportunity to double the margin shortly after but he volleyed wide with goal at his mercy. In the 34th minute Damian Scali did what his teammate couldn't, after a free-kick wasn't dealt with by the defence, Robertson knocked it across the face of goal and Scali had the simple task of sliding it into an open goal - 2-0! Four minutes from the interval more enterprising play from Gartside saw him play the ball into the path of Gary James who forced Letizia into a sharp reflex save from close-range.
The start of the second half saw Brian Robertson twice denied in a matter of seconds, his initial shot cleared off the line by Kevin Smith and the follow-up smothered by Alan Dunlop. Knowing they needed a goal to get back in the game, Caledonian threw everything forward and they didn't have to wait long before the tactic paid off. A determined Aaron Moschopolous ran the ball to the by-line before centring to Gartside and his text book header from close range made it 2-1 with 50 minutes gone. A few minutes later Caledonian midfielder Ian Griffiths found the net with a stunning shot from 15-metres which skimmed the playing surface only for it to be disallowed for off-side.
Swan secured maximum points when Darren Blankly re-stored their two-goal buffer in the 60th minute, the right wingback making the most of some sloppy defending inside the 18-yard box. Their opponents continued to press for another goal, but when Jason Van Rooy's free-kick from the top of the area curled safely into the arms of Letizia they must have known the game was over all bar the shouting. As if their job wasn't already difficult enough, Caledonain were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Griffiths for his second yellow card offence. Substitute Sal Marrapodi could have made it 4-1 but volleyed high from close range after some tricky footwork from Daniel Webb wide on the right. In the final minute of play Swan also went down to ten men, a sickening Gartside tackle taking Webb out of the game (x-rays would later reveal the teenagers leg to be broken in five places). At the end of the night the chief difference between the two teams was that Swan made the most of their chances while Caledonian lack of sharpness in front of goal resulted in a string of missed opportunities.
Bassendean Caledonian : Alan Dunlop, Kevin Smith, George Ramm, Aaron
Moschopolous, Simon Henderson, Jason Van Rooy (Darko Ilmanoski 74), Ian
Griffiths, Dean Gartside, Graeme Matthews (Jimmy Macuras 61), Ramon
Westerberger, Gary James
Swan I.C. : Frank Letizia, Damien Scali, Darren Freeman, Jamie Bell, Darren Blankly, Paul Borg (Daniel Webb 48), Justin Hugo. Eddie Mura, Christian Marocchi, Brian Robertson (Tom Lasnavick 77), Tom Shepheard (Sal Marrapodi 74)
Referee : Rob Tully
Cautions : Dunlop (33), Hugo (58), Griffiths (58), Freeman (69)
Dismissals : Griffiths (71)
Attendance : 350
Ashfield took on Inglewood United in Friday's late game and it was the top flight's new-comers that did all the early attacking, rattling their opponents by going on the offensive from the opening whistle. In the 9th minute Inglewood goalkeeper Oliver Taseski dived full-length to tip a neat Karl Atley header over the bar, and less than 60-seconds later Steve Gillibrand made a strong run into the area only to find Taseski well-positioned to block his shot. But there was very little the 'keeper could do to prevent Atley from opening the scoring - spotting Taseski well off his line, Atley's speculative lob from close to the half-way line flew high over the stranded 'keeper and dropped under the cross-bar after 17 minutes. The goal sparked Inglewood into life and, with Andy Cornmell proving an inspiration down the left flank, Lucas Gobbi (twice) and Phillip Smiljanic had golden opportunities to restore the balance with both sending the ball wide. In the 36th minute Gillibrand snuck behind the defence to met a deep cross, his low volley requiring Taseski's reflexes to be at their sharpest. And two minutes later Gillibrand weaved his way into the area only to curl it narrowly wide of the far post in a move that deserved better as Ashfield finished strongly.
Inglewood came out after the break and seized the game by the scruff of the neck. Four minutes into the new half and Daniel Harrop's shot on the turn whistled just wide. Shortly after a low cross from man-of-the-match Cornmell was met at the far post by Paul Lincoln, his explosive shot from 6-metres slammed into the crossbar and amazingly came back into play. With their opponents under all the pressure, it looked only a matter of time before Inglewood would draw level. Jackson made a fine save to keep out Harrop's shot after 55 minutes, and when Lincoln's looping header went over the bar with eight minutes remaining it appeared that Ashfield would hold on to claim the points. Their only chance of the period came via the boot of Gillibrand who again stretched the 'keeper with a brilliant shot from just outside the area. Inglewood continued to plug away and got their just reward in the 74th minute, Scott Campbell calmly tucking the ball away after Jackson parried Lincoln's shot. Tiring under the pace of the game, Ashfield suffered a devastating blow in the final minute when a stunning Lincoln volley from close-range gave Jackson absolutely no chance. Despite the loss, Ashfield can hold their heads high having showed they will not be a team to underestimate this season.
Sunday night's clash between Perth S.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup is one match that Paul Simmons would much rather wish had never happened. The Joondalup coach was forced to start the match with just ten players following the late arrival of midfielder Kevin Griffiths who went straight into the game after 2 minutes. But by that stage his side was already a goal down, Tony Cumace sweeping home Todd Howarth's deep cross after 12 seconds. Shortly after Griffiths introduction, team mate Nick Ward was brought down inside the area but Scott Bulloch's poor spot-kick was saved by Rob Scarparolo and Griffiths sent the rebound over the bar. Howarth made it 2-0 after 26 minutes, and the margin could have been extended even more had Andres Oliveira's second half penalty not been kept out by Peter Stewart. While they may not have created a lot of clear opportunities, Joondalup were still in the match until 12 minutes from full-time when defender Lee Stratford was dismissed off for a second yellow card offence. Substitute Albert Osei-Tutu made it 3-0 with a superb piece of individual work, then bagged his second of the night with a neat finish. Howarth completed the troucing in the last minute of play with a shot that clipped the underside of the bar.
Future Glory continued their impressive start to the pre-season tournament with a 4-0 trouncing of Cockburn City in the late fixture. Despite an early penalty miss by Antonio Naglieri, Future took an early lead when attacker Kostadin Manolev tapped home from close-range after a superb run by Gary Faria in the 22nd minute. Three minutes later and a similar move down the right flank allowed Mileta Miletic to double the margin against his former teammates. Vince Matassa, a virtual spectator in the first half, was called into action immediately after the break when he made a terrific point-blank save to deny Cockburn's Roberto Colalillo. Michael Garcia put Future three-up in the 57th minute, taking advantage of a quick free-kick to hammer the ball past goalkeeper Dino Pacella from 20-metres. With nine minutes remaining Mileta fired into the side-netting with only Pacella to beat, but two minutes later made up for the miss when he rounded the 'keeper to slot into an empty net. It was a strong performance by the Future youngsters with defenders Shaun Kilkelly and Dion Valle, two-goal hero Miletic and skilful midfielder Peter Lord singled out for praise post-match.
WEEKEND FRIENDLIES (Stirling Lions vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater)
Sorrento played southern neighbors Stirling Lions so as to keep in tune for their participation in the Night Series. However, the Seagulls were rocked as early as in the 2nd minute when the Lions grabbed the lead through Danny Carlino as he swept the ball pass Gareth Deeg, the recently signed 'keeper not impressed his defence who allowed Carlino the space to manovuer. Following a stern talk from coach Steve Neville at the break, Sorrento dominated the second half but poor finishing when given clear cut chances by Ryan Jeans, Mark Cox and Jared Love allowed the Loins to hold onto their lead. It wasn't until mid-way through the half that Robbie Pucovski had to pick the ball out of his net. A very good interchange of play between Lee Burns and Cox put the latter clear down the right and his cross was met by the in-rushing Burns who comprehensively beat Pucovski with power. Despite Sorrento's further endeavors, the Lions held out to the frustration of their visitors. The reserves fixture was taken out by Sorrento 6-0.
16-year old Nic McLean was the goal-scoring hero for First Division Armadale when they defeated a Western Knights side missing several first team regulars 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. The Knights won the reserves meeting 2-1, Joe Clarke netting for Armadale. And, in very hot conditions, Fremantle City proved too strong for Rockingham City by a margin of 2-0. A cracking long-range goal from Steve Hornby gave Rockingham victory in the reserves game 1-0.
NIGHT SERIES ROLLS ON
Perth Glory may be on the road this weekend but there's still plenty of football action at Litis Stadium in the second round of the 2002 Night Series. Tonight sees four clubs take to the park for the first time this year in official competition. At 6.45pm it's last seasons strugglers Bassendean Caledonian against Swan I.C., while newly-promoted Ashfield take on the youngsters from Inglewood United from 8.15pm. Cockburn City will be looking to make it two wins from as many starts when they take on Future Glory from 8.00pm on Sunday. The early Sunday game, which gets underway from 6.30pm, features Perth S.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup
INGLEWOOD SIGN SOUTH AMERICAN
Inglewood United coach Steve Parkinson will tonight unveil new-signing Lucas Gobbi when his club takes on Ashfield in the Night Series at Litis Stadium. The 22-year year old Argentine striker was part of the Newell's Old Boys side which competed in the Tournoi de Croix in France last year where Western Australia's Under-19 team also appeared. Gobbi arrived in Perth two weeks ago after a proposed move from the Argentine second division to Spain fell through and will tonight line-up in attack along side Paul Lincoln. Gobbie has shown some good early signs of his ability on the training track according to Parkinson. "I think he'll get stronger as the competition goes on and he really starts to fit in," said the coach. "He's got quick feet, he holds the ball up well and he's got good, intelligent movement. And for a lad who doesn't speak much English he's picked up things very well."
Premier League club Sorrento, who kicked-off their Night Series campaign with a 2-0 win over Fremantle City last Friday, will be on the road this Saturday when they take on First Division side Stirling Lions in a friendly at Macedonia Park on Albert Street in Balcatta. The reserves match gets underway from 3.00pm with the senior clash starting two hours later.
NEW START FOR CALIES
Bassendean Caledonian may have spent last season in the Premier League's lower depths but coach Allan Weir will be hoping for a much improved performance when they kick-off their 2002 campaign tonight against Swan I.C. Weir, a long-serving member of the club, has recruited some impressive names over the off-season that should do more than ensure Calies top flight survival beyond the coming winter.
Having missed much of last season due to injury, former State goalkeeper Alan Dunlop returns to the club where he started out, while young defender Luke Croxall has joined on a permanent basis after spending last season on loan from Sorrento. Others that have agreed terms with the club are former Cockburn City midfielders Dean Gartside and Simon Henderson, one-time Western Knights striker Ramon Westerburger, Gannon Jones (Balga) and Graeme Matthews (Rockingham City). There is the possibility that Paul Strudwick may also pull on club colours this term having decided to make a comeback, while young goalkeeper Steve Grant is on the road to recovery from recent knee surgery.
In the debit column, Caledonian have lost two of last seasons star performers, Mark Cox and Lee Burns, to Sorrento. Wing-back Anthony Jones has joined Floreat Athena, Derek Cooke, Kevin Griffiths and Garin Collins have all returned to E.C.U. Joondalup, while one-time Perth Glory apprentice Tommi Tomich has signed with Western Knights. Veterans Willie Grubb and Martin Woodall have gone into semi-retirement and will spend the coming season with Wanneroo and Morley Windmills respectively, and Keith Shortall has moved to Melbourne due to work commitments.
Weir's long association with the club started back in 1973 when he signed on as a junior at the age of 14. Within two years he'd not only made his senior debut but was also named captain as the start of a career that would stretch to over 450 competitive matches for Caledonian. Having filled in as coach in a caretakers capacity on three occasions over the years, the most recent following the departure of Barry Smith last season, Weir has taken on the role for 2002 with Gerry Wardle as his assistant.
SAVIC HOPES FOR AUSTRIAN BREAK-THROUGH
Former Dianella White Eagles junior Bajo Savic will be hoping to break into the first team ranks with Rapid Vienna when the League in Austria re-commences this weekend. Wearing the No.25 shirt, the 19-year old striker is currently on the fringes of the senior squad with three substitute appearances to his credit after the first half of the 2001/02 season. Savic, who joined Rapid in 1999 after a spell with Red Star Belgrade, spent his time playing for Rapid's amateur side before making his senior debut last September in the 0-1 loss to Adm/Modling.
QUARTET HELP MARINE TO FIRST UP WIN
Sengkang Marine's foreign legion, which includes former Sorrento player Tony Carbone, Simon Harland, Todd Harnwell and Danny Hill, have helped the club to a 3-1 away win over Gombak United in the opening round of the S-League. While none of the aforementioned players got their names on the scorecard, all contributed to the result with Carbone later named man-of-the-match courtesy of an "effervescent performance in midfield". A detailed match report can be found on-line at the official S-League website (www.sleague.com)
GARCIA READY TO INK NEW DEAL
West Ham United midfielder Richard Garcia has been offered a new two-year deal with the London-based club. "There are still negotiations but I definitely can't see myself going anywhere else. I'm happy to stay at West Ham," he told the club's official website this week. With his contract due to expire at the end of the season and available to leave on a free transfer, Garcia says he is remaining loyal to the Hammers. "No club would have to pay anything for me but I am happy at West Ham and it would be nice to play regularly in the first team for the club I came to. I have been here so long and it is just a matter of time before the contract is signed, it is just little things being negotiated and I don't see any problems at all."
After not taking part in the reserves mid-week clash with Charlton Athletic, Garcia could be in line to make his home debut this weekend. "I think there are a few injuries in the side so the gaffer said he wanted me to rest for Saturday, and we will see what happens in the next few days. If Don (Hutchinson) pulls through he will slip back into the side but if not I think I will be starting, and if the home debut comes about I will be happy to take it - I've been waiting for it a long time. I have been injured myself and I know how frustrating it is so I wish him well and hopefully he does get back. It is nice to come towards the end of the season and get a few games in the first team, anyone in the reserves aspires to that and I have been lucky enough to push on."
COONEY STEPS UP TO SKY BLUES RESERVES
Former Inglewood United youngster Sean Cooney, a regular in Coventry City's youth teams over the past 18-months, should feature prominently in the sky blues reserves between now and the end of the English season according to team boss Trevor Peake. Speaking with Coventry's official website, Peake said this week that many of the clubs youngsters will make up his side over coming months with a view to stepping up to the first team in the not-too-distant future. "We want to have a look at a few of the younger lads now who come from the same division as Robert Betts and see whether they can cope with reserve team football," said Peake. "It's an opportunity for players such as Brian Ford, Matthew Cook, Mark Magennis, Sean Cooney and Marco Brancati to play at this level until the end of the season. That would be ideal in my eyes as it will give them a chance to show whether they are good enough for the level above." With several reserves appearances already under his belt, Cooney was in the centre of defence on Saturday when reserves drew 2-2 with Derby County.
YEAR OF RE-BUILDING FOR FREMANTLE
Last week Fremantle City coach Greg Kazmer acknowledged season 2002 as being a period of re-building for the club which claimed their first-ever Premier League championship little over 18-months ago. Since lifting the home-and-away series trophy, the vast majority of that 2000 squad has drifted away from the club over what has undoubtedly been an unsettling period.
In the season of up-heaval that was 2001, Fremantle saw the mid-season departure of several key players - State striker Trim Morgan, brothers John and Michael Mirco, and goalkeeper Darren Williams - which contributed to their lowly placing on the end-of-season table. Coach Stuart Kamasz was replaced shortly after the season ended, while over the summer months Evan Wallace, Paul McVittie (both to Western Knights), Will Pryce (New South Wales), Vladimir Beretovac (Stirling Lions), Alan Dunlop (Bassendean Caledonian) and Scott Clissold (work committments) have also departed.
With a largely inexperienced squad to work with, Kazmer will be looking to Craig Surtees, Dulio Xavier, Cesare De Bartolo and Anthony Pereira - the only survivors from 2000 - for on-field leadership this year. Dale Wingell, Daniel Trim and Sam Tomeo were important members of the side last season along teenagers Cisco Jorqueira and Joe Liguan who were two of the finds of the 2001. Michael Vaz returns to the club after a few years with the Knights, along with the Mirco brothers after being in dispute with Fremantle last season. Damien Trim leaves South West Phoenix to join brother Daniel at the club, while midfielder Filipo Esposito arrives via Floreat Athena. Kazmer will also turn to the clubs fertile youth ranks with the likes of Dean Apelgren, Jordan Andrews, Tyrone Fenwick and Australian Under-16 striker Josh Kamasz are all expected to see senior action this season.
COYNE, HOWELLS FIND TARGET
Chris Coyne continued his return from injury on Tuesday night by scoring in Luton Town's 3-0 defeat of Bristol Rovers. The Australia Under-23 international came on after 29 minutes to replace the injured Jean-Louis Valois to fill in at left-back. He marked his return to the first team by scoring the Hatters second goal in the win, rising high to head the ball into the back of the net in the 66th minutes after the Rovers defence failed to clear a corner.
Elsewhere in the English Third Division, Lee Howells opened the scoring for Cheltenham Town when they were held to a 1-1 away at home by Southend United. The long-serving midfielder got the important opening goal five minutes into the second half after exchanging passes with Tony Naylor before making his way between two defenders and shooting low past 'keeper Aaron Flahavan. The draw lifts the Robins to seventh place on the table and into contention for the Third Division play-offs.
TROUBLE IN SOUTH-WEST
Three of the largest junior clubs in the states south-west have taken the dramatic step of breaking away from their local association to form their own body. The clubs - Australind, Bunbury Dynamos and Hay Park - took the decision following developments at the South-West Junior Soccer Association's recent Annual General Meeting. In an interview aired on Information Radio's (990AM) International Football Program on Saturday, John O'Connell spoke to some of the key players in the Bunbury region about what has happened ...
"Events took place at the A.G.M. where the three clubs that have three-quarters of the player down here were out-voted 3:4 on just about every issue," said Australind president Gary Fearon. "Apart from the things that went down at that meeting, the constitution was changed without any reference to or vote taken by the clubs (and) we had a coaching system put into our by-laws which was going to be imposed on the whole association." Ivan Garic, president of the association, defended the decision to introduce the Coerver Coaching program into the by-laws. "The A.G.M. was attended by every club and every affiliate, there was not one absentee. You need 75% of a vote to implement anything at the A.G.M. and we had the vast majority of the vote for Coerver development to be introduced to this region."
Another bone of contention has been the structure of the association's board which Fearon says is controlled by one club. "There are a few supposed independents and others on the board but there's no doubt it is dominated by one club." Fearon went on to say that the five-person S.W.J.S.A. board consisted of two officials from Bunbury United, two from Harvey and one from Busselton with no representation for the three break-away clubs.
But Garic, who doubles as president of United, dismissed these claims. "The clubs are the only ones that can put anybody on the board (and) to get someone on the board you've got to put yourself forward. As for the clubs that are complaining, there were four positions vacant and they refused to take them. They put in for the president and secretary and did not win them, so they decided not to take any of the other positions."
President of Dynamos Richard Fearon expressed his disappointment with the way things had panned out. "It appeared that season 2002 would have been a watershed season for the juniors. We would have had our greatest number of players by far and the people was looking strong, you could not say the quality of soccer was lacking down here in any way. South West Phoenix appear to be going from strength to strength and the junior clubs were more than willing to provide Phoenix with their support."
Speaking on where the game in the South-West goes from here, Garic said that was up to the two associations. "The split has occurred and really I don't think there's a lot we can do about that. So what we have to go is find common ground - which is the kids. The two associations can each develop their own development strategies but we bring the kids together on Saturday's and we get our two registrars to formulise Leagues in the best interests of the kids."
S.W.C. PLAN NEW CUP
Speaking with Radio Fremantle's Martin Wells and Dennis Gedling on Saturday morning, Soccer West Coast president David Schrandt said his organisation are currently putting the finishing touches on a new League Cup competition to be introduced this season. "It will be an evening competition to be played during the season, probably on Tuesday nights at clubs' grounds that have lights," Schrandt said. Sponsored by Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, the competition is expected to run throughout the local season.
Looking at the season ahead, Schrandt gave his tips on who would be challenging Perth S.C. for the trophies at seasons' end. "Western Knights will play some part this year, they've signed some reasonably good players. Sorrento will be there again I'm sure, and I sincerely believe that Joondalup will also play a part. Cockburn should also provide this year. They are my top four or five that I think will fight it out this year."
WARD'S ENGLISH PLANS ON HOLD
A recently introduced F.I.F.A. law has prevented E.C.U. Joondalup teenager Nick Ward from taking up an offer to join English club Sheffield Wednesday. A change in regulations regarding the transfer of minors, effective as of September 2001, basically bans the international movements of players under the age of 18. Only where "the family of the player moves to the country in which the new club is located for reasons that are not linked to football" shall the transfer be permitted under the new regulations. The law is believed to also be causing problems for foreign students who want to play social soccer while in Australia.
Ward, who turns 17 next month, was offered a place in Wednesday's Academy only to find he could not get a clearance because of the new law. He turned out for Joondalup in the recent B.G.C. Cup and continue to will for the club until the matter is resolved. Despite holding a European Union passport which makes him eligible to work in the United Kingdom, and having grandparents in England, Ward's application to transfer was rejected. His father, Terry, voiced his frustration at being unable to convince the world's governing body that his son should be allowed to take up the opportunity with the English club. "He can work there but he can't do the thing he wants to do most, which is to make a career of soccer," Ward told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "It just seems wrong. We've got a large extended family over there and Nick would be well looked after."
Ward, who was offered terms with Wednesday after trials last year, is one of about 20 cases in Australia that have cropped up since the introduced of the new ruling. Ann Nichols, Soccer Australia's international transfers officer, planned to raise the issue when she meets F.I.F.A. legal services representative Gianpaolo Monteneri in New Zealand over the weekend. "Hopefully, I will come back on Monday with some indication as to whether the regulation will be changed or if we have to live with it for the next two years," she told Cook. The national body is keen to take the initiative and make their own decisions on Australian cases and plan to ask F.I.F.A. for some leeway. "We feel we should be given some freedom to make some decisions of our own." Nichols added.
NIGHT SERIES WEEKEND ONE (Cockburn City vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Lennie Bavich, Sorrento vs Fremantle City by Kerry Slater)
The opening match of Sunday's Night Series pitted host club Floreat Athena with Western Knights in what would prove to be an entertaining tussle between two of this years most fancied clubs. Aside from a 1st minute shot which Peter Coci scooped into the arms of Tommi Tomich, much of the first 30-minutes was played out between the two penalty areas with neither side able to get on top. Despite a distinct lack of goal-scoring opportunities, there were some promising passages of play from both camps only to find the respective defences up to the task in clearing any danger that came their way.
The Knights felt a little hard done by when referee Wayne Oldham waved away appeals for a 30th minute penalty after John Nicolaou was sent crashing to the turf by Hugh Miller. Five minutes later Athena produced a lovely flowing move involving seven players who confidently knocked the ball from one end of the pitch to the other, Kostas Kalavrouziotis' shot from the top corner of the area tipped wide by a diving Tomich. The home side continued to on the attack and their persistence paid off a minute from half-time. Anthony Jones pressured Ivan Zuvela into conceding possession, allowing the wingback to race into the area unchallenged where he unselfishly centred to Robyn Dyers who turned sharply and crashed the ball low beyond Tomich's reach to give Athena the lead.
Costa Socratous provided Dyers with a golden opportunity to double the margin five minutes into the new half but the striker pulled his shot wide of the far post from a narrowing angle. It would be a miss that would come back to haunt Athena as, just two minutes later, Evan Wallace found the net with a cracking volley after the defence failed to deal with a corner played into the heart of the 18-yard box. Athena defender Hugh Miller prevented his side from going a goal behind in the 56th minute when his perfectly timed tackle dispossessed Eugene Singeorzan after he latched onto a long clearance from Tomich.
With the Knights midfield beginning to take control, Athena's backline found themselves under increasing pressure for lengthy periods, and in the 63rd minute they finally cracked. A poor clearance squirted to Leon Russell whose crisply hit shot from 17-metres bounced awkwardly in front of Xigas, snuck under his body and into the far side-netting. >From there Athena slowly drifted out of the game, managing only a couple of half-hearted shots from distance over the time remaining. The Knights on the other hand were brimming with confidence and were unlucky not to extend their lead. An explosive shot on the turn by Stuart Montgomery was kept out by Xigas who, four minutes from full-time, produced a fine reflex save to deny Singeorzan from close-range.
Floreat Athena : John Xigas, Troy Bernard, Adrian Sutton, High Miller,
Anthony Jones (Andreas Pantelis 58), Jamie Trandos, Jason Smith, Costa
Socratous, Kostas Kalavrouziotis (Jimmy Christopoulos 68), Robyn Dyers,
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Ivan Zuvela, David Annall, Evan Wallace, Leon Russell, Claus Neilsen, Scott Devine, Alex Christie, Stuart Montgomery (Steven MacDonald 77), John Nicolaou (Aaron Nadine 66), Eugene Singeorzan (Luka Jukic 80)
Referee : Wayne Oldham
Cautions : Devine (60), Coci (72)
Dismissals : Nil
Attendance : 350
Future Glory made their official debut with a see-sawing, scoreless draw with Perth S.C. in front of a bumper crowd in excess of 2,200 later in the night. Featuring six senior squad members, Future started brightly when Shaun Kilkelly raced down the flank and slid a shot across goal after 6 minutes. And not long after the left-sided player was called into action at the other end to thwart Peter Vukmirovic just as he was about to unleash from inside the area. Mid-way through the half Perth defender Aaron Cole kept things on a level footing when he swept Mileta Miletic's shot off the goal line. Six minutes before the interval Andres Oliveira almost finished off a swift Perth counter-attack when he got on the end of a Steven Willey cross from the right, his powerful header flashing wide of the near post. Perth stepped up a gear after the break, Rob Giorgi forcing Vince Matassa into a fine save a few minutes into the new half and not long after Matassa tipped Oliveira's effort over the crossbar as the blues looked to take control. Not to be outdone, Future's Brad Hassell hit the up-right and Antonio Naglieri saw his spectacular volley saved by Perth custodian Robert Scarparolo. Perhaps the best chance of the 80-minutes came the way of Vukmirovic mid-way through the period, but he scooped the opportunity high from 4-metres. Future substitute Peter Lord almost stole the show late in the piece only to find Scarparolo up to the task with a great save.
Cockburn City won their opening game of the 2002 Night Series 1-0 over E.C.U. Joondalup on Friday night at Litis Stadium. Dragan Njegic was the scorer of the only goal after 27 minutes after his strike partner Roberto Colalillo drew two defenders, the ball jarring out and Njegic, alert and well placed, clinically executed his strike on goal to give Joondalup goalkeeper Peter Stewart no chance. In a hard fought match where nether side shirked it's tackles, midfielders Dean Wallace and Domenic De Felice stood firm for the southerners. The first 20 minutes were dominated by Joondalup with the opposing defence of Dusan Macura, Boza Erakovic, Davorin Svirac and Jeff Bright having many anxious moments but as the final score indicates they, along with 'keeper Dino Pacella, kept the Joondalup forwards at bay. New coach Mark Jackson should be pleased with the performance of the younger players he promoted to the senior team, as well as De Felice and Bright, Colalillo and Denis Stojanovic played well on debut.
Sorrento started their new season with a confident 2-0 win over Fremantle City, controlling the match courtesy of two early goals and never looked in any serious danger of getting caught despite a drop off of intensity in the second half. With close season signings Gareth Deeg, Sean Fallon, Lee Burns, Iain Deans and Daniel Stoitis all in the starting line-up, Sorrento coach Steve Neville was apprehensive about the cohesion of his team. Fremantle had two great chances in quick succession to take the lead in the 1st minute but twice Deeg blocked the efforts. From the resulting clearance Sorrento shocked their opponents, Jake Harman controlling the ball wide on the left and lifting it over the defence for Ryan Jeans who blasted it past 'keeper Sam Tomeo and into the roof of the net with only 2 minutes gone. Sorrento's next real opening doubled their lead. After 13 minutes, Stoitis crossed from the right and with the Fremantle defence failing to head clear, the ball fell to David Foster who stepped inside and expertly angled his shot across Tomeo and into the bottom right corner of the net. Sorrento now seemed well in control from this point and Foster had an opportunity to score his second in as many minutes, but this time Tomeo did well to deny him. At the start of the second half Fremantle showed more determination but their opponents had the ability to keep them at bay and then mount their own attacks. On 63 minutes Fremantle were awarded a free-kick just inside the penalty area after Stoitis was harshly adjudged to have given a back pass to Deeg, who was cautioned for his protest, and after a short delay Joe Liguan rocketed the shot inches too high. The introduction of midfielder Shaun Bowyer, replacing forward Jake Harman, signalled Sorrento's intention to restrict Fremantle for the remaining seven minutes as they recorded a first-up win in the official pre-season competition.
Ashfield reserve coach was put in charge of the weekend friendly between Ashfield and Swan I.C. after no official referee could be found for the match. In an evenly contested match, the two teams went into the interval at nil-all despite good chances coming at both ends of the park. Ashfield broke the deadlock courtesy of Darren Yates who converted a Luke Pavlos cross from close to the by-line. A goal up, Ashfield look like running away with the match but were constantly held at bay by their opponents stubborn defence. With the clock ticking down, Swan were awarded a penalty which was converted by Damian Scali to make the final score 1-1. The earlier reserves and Under-18 meetings both went the way of Ashfield, 4-1 and 3-2 respectively.
On Saturday a new-look Armadale met local rivals Southside United in a First Division pre-friendly at Alfred Street Reserve. A four-goal haul from Armadale new-comer Greg Newcombe, formerly of Leeming Strikers, played a big part in his club taking out the senior clash 6-0, Darren Ingham and Paul Colkin also getting their names on the scorecard. The reserves clash ended in a 2-2 draw, Nic McLean and Paul Loveless scoring for the home side, while in the Under-18's Peter Taylor was the scorer of Armadale's goal in their 1-4 loss.
ROCKINGHAM GET THEIR MAN
First Division club Rockingham City have surprised many of their State League rivals by signing Laslo Koroknai as senior coach for the coming season. "It was not an easy task but the committee is very happy about Laslo's involvement," club president Rolf Bertram told John Brown of the "Sound Telegraph". "He shares our vision and plans, likes the club and facilities, and a future beyond the initial term is very well possible." Koroknai, a former championship winner with Inglewood Kiev (nee United), has been in charge of Cockburn City for the past year and a half.
Bertram said the club's next step was the formation of management group to ensure the long-term future of the club. The group would also look after those players who have remained loyal to Rockingham despite recent difficulties. With Koroknai doubling as one Perth Glory's youth development coaches, Bertram suggested his club may have a Glory player on their books next year. On Thursday night, Rockingham took on Future Glory in a friendly with the Glory youngsters running out victors 2-0.
NIGHT SERIES STARTS
The 2002 Soccer West Coast season kicks-off tonight (15th February) with the opening rounds of the Night Series. First cab off the rank is the clash between Premier League champions Sorrento and Fremantle City at 6.45pm, followed later by Cockburn City verses E.C.U. Joondalup. Floreat Athena and Western Knights get proceedings underway on Sunday night from 6.15pm. Future Glory make their State League debut later in the evening when they play 2001 treble winners Perth S.C. All matches will be played under lights at Litis Stadium (formerly the Velodrome) in Mount Hawthorn.
It will be a new-look Sorrento side that takes to the pitch tonight following the departure of several key players over the off-season and the absence of Neil Young (Crewe Alexandra) and Glen Thomas (Northampton) who are currently trialling abroad. In their place come Sean Fallon and goalkeeper Gareth Deeg from E.C.U. Joondalup along with Mark Cox, Lee Burns (both ex-Bassendean Caledonian) and State Under-19 defender Daniel Stoitis (ex-Kingsway Olympic). Talking with Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian", Seagulls coach Steve Neville admitted it would take his side time before they reached full speed this season. "We've always been in the Night Series to see if we can win it, but it's going to be difficult this year."
The Seagulls opponents have also undergone some major changes over the summer months, starting with the departure of Stuart Kamasz as coach, replaced by Greg Kazmer. In terms playing stocks, gone are long-serving defender Evan Wallace and midfield work-horse Paul McVittie who have joined the Knights, State striker Trim Morgan (England), Will Pryce (New South Wales) and Scott Clissold (work commitments). Kazmer used the B.G.C. Cup to blood some of the club's rising stars including Josh Kamasz, Dean Apelgren and Jamie Jorqueira and will continue this practice into the coming tournament. "We're using the Night Series to have a look at a few of the youngsters," Kazmer said this week. "This season will be a rebuilding phase." New to the club for 2002 are Filipo Esposito (ex-Floreat Athena), Damien Trim (ex-South West Phoenix) and Joe Vaz (ex-Knights).
OFFERS ON TABLE FOR DANSKIN
State Under-16 midfielder Matthew Danskin is back from Germany where he spent last month on trial with Werder Bremen who have offered him a four-year contract. While with the Bundesliga club, Danskin took part in an Under-19 tournament where he lined-up against the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. It is understood that English First Division side Sheffield Wednesday are also in the hunt for the teenagers signature after he trialled successfully with the Owls prior to Christmas.
MADASCHI BACK WITH ATALANTA
Australian defender Adrian Madaschi has recently made his way back to Atalanta after spending the first half of the Italian season on loan in Serie C to Monza. The elegant centre-half has spent the past couple of weeks playing for his clubs under-21 team in the 54th Torneo Internazionale di Viareggio. After seeing out the full 90 minutes of the groups stage wins over Anderlecht (4-1) and Empoli (1-0), Madaschi was part of the Atalanta side which bowed out at the quarter-finals, 1-0 to Inter Milan, last week.
ROBINS READY FOR ACTION SAYS HOWELLS
One of only three Australia's involved in this weekend's Fifth Round of the F.A. Cup, Cheltenham Town's Fremantle-born midfielder Lee Howells told his club's official website this week that the team have shaken off the rustiness of two weeks of inactivity and are ready to face the challenge ahead. The Robins maintained their excellent League form with a 2-0 win at Exeter City last Saturday, although Howells admitted it took a while for the players to step back into the routine. "It took us 20 minutes to get going against Exeter," said Howells. "We had a couple of weeks off after the Burnley game with two matches postponed and sometimes that helps you out and sometimes it hinders you. But we got back into the game and dominated the second half. It was a good 2-0 win in the end."
The Exeter result was achieved with a characteristically hard-working display, particularly from the four in midfield who all had good games. Howells' partnership with Mark Yates in the engine room of central midfield has endured since the Conference championship season and Howells agreed that the pair are probably playing as well together at present as they have ever done. "I think it has taken everyone a while to adjust to the Football League but this season has been particularly good," he said. "We had a slow start but we knew we would come good and as a partnership I think we have done well this year. Mark is scoring a few goals here and there whereas I tend to sit back and help out the back four, and I think the results over the last few weeks show that the whole team is playing quite well at the moment."
The Robins had lost only twice in 26 League and Cup games prior to the Exeter victory, a run that has propelled the team right into the play-off picture. Howells explained that while the F.A. Cup run has provided much excitement and publicity for the club, not to mention valuable extra finance, the players were making sure to concentrate their energies on the important business of collecting League points. "Steve Cotterill has told us to keep ourselves focused on the League form," said Howells. "We have done that right through the cup run from the first round to the fifth on Saturday. We have to keep focused and keep ourselves ticking over because the form has been good in the League over the last few weeks. Hopefully we can take that into Saturday as well."
"Things get mentioned and the cup is in the back of your mind. The League games are most important because we are looking to get into the play-off positions, but Saturday will be a huge game and a sell-out crowd. The club will make some money out of it, which is important, and it will be a great day for myself, the players, staff and everyone to do with the club. Let's hope we can give a good account of ourselves and if we have a good day and they have an off day then you never know."
"I always felt quietly confident against Burnley in the last round. It was a bit of a step into the unknown because we didn't know much about them, but we started off well and carried it through for the rest of the game. If we can start off well again then we will have a chance. At the moment they are not giving much away and scoring the odd goal here and there, very much the same as us. We've got to go there, keep it tight, try and play our football and hopefully sneak it. But it will be a very difficult game."
CACERAS MAY BENEFIT FROM STRIKER CRISIS
There is mounting speculation that one-time Perth S.C. striker Adrian Caceras could be in line for a call-up by Southampton manager Gordon Strachan for the club's game with Bolton Wanderers. With regular forwards James Beattie, Augustin Delgado and Brett Ormerod injured and Kevin Davies suspended, the Saints are well short of strikers for the up-coming Premier League fixture. Argentinian-born Caceras has been in good form for Southampton's reserves but is yet to win a first team call-up under Strachan. Former manager Stuart Gray showed faith in Caceras, while last season Glenn Hoddle included the striker in his senior squad on several occasions.
JONES MOVES UP 'BORO PECKING ORDER (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth-born goalkeeper Brad Jones has moved up the pecking order at Middlesbrough after veteran Marlon Beresford was shipped out on loan to First Division Burnley. Beresford is expected to complete a £400,000 move this month, so leaving Jones as No.3 keeper behind Mark Crossley and fellow Aussie Mark Schwarzer at the Riverside. Jones was to be loaned to an Irish club earlier this season but the move fell through. He was on the fringes of Australia's Under-20 World Cup squad last year and is aiming to be part of Frank Farina's Olympic Games team for Athens 2004.
TARP WINS SCHOLARSHIP
Perth-born Kal Tarp one step closer to senior national selection after being one of 20 women named in the Australian Institute of Sport Women's Soccer Program this week. The 20-year old central midfielder will attend a Canberra training camp in March along with the other scholarship holders before embarking on a proposed tour of Europe the month after. Following that is the Pacific Cup tournament, with the year culminating with the all-important Oceania World Cup Qualifiers in November. Tarp, who played locally with Maccabi and has represented Australia at Schoolgirl and Under-19 levels, now plays for Canberra Eclipse in the Women's National Soccer League where she wears the No.10 shirt.
INGLEWOOD COACH HAPPY WITH PERFORMANCE
Despite finishing a disappointing fourth in the B.G.C. Cup, Inglewood United coach Steve Parkinson was pleased as punch with the way his young side performed throughout the pre-season tournament. Making use of close to 35 different players over the five games, the coach stuck to his pre-tournament plans of giving everyone the opportunity to impress at senior level as he brings together his squad for the coming Soccer West Coast season. Parkinson took over the helm at Inglewood in the summer of 1999-2000 and immediately set about putting in place a three-year plan that would see the club become one of the local games' most feared outfits.
The first phase of this re-vitalisation was to re-build the playing stocks. With experienced campaigners of the calibre of Alex Cummings, Jamie Goodman and Paul Lincoln providing the backbone, Parkinson was able to blood a crop of youngsters that had established themselves as first team regulars by seasons' end. Amongst them were State Under-19 representatives Oliver Taseski, Jason Godfrey, Ryan Fredericks, Shaun Kilkelly and Greg Sharland, talented midfielder Scott Campbell, recipient of the club's Rising Star award last year, Rory Mouttet and John Bartolomei.
Unfortunately two of those players have left the club over the off-season, Sharland joining National Soccer League club Wollongong Wolves while Kilkelly will spend the coming season in the colours of Future Glory. Highly rated youth players Daniel Arias, Brad North and Jordan Conti have also made the move to Glory, and former State Schoolboys defender Mark Craft will be with First Division side Armadale this winter. Inglewood may also lose State striker Louis Parkinson, currently on trial in England.
To counter these departures, and with plans to capture the club's first silverware since 1999's Boral Cup triumph, Parkinson has recruited well. Former Perth S.C. attackers Boni Botha and Dario Pelliciotti will add to the firepower, while Gerry McEwan (ex-E.C.U. Joondalup) will add strength to the backline. With a strong youth development policy having been implemented in recent times, there are hopes that up-and-coming talents Keith Taylor, Paul Bascynski, Michael Bushby, Phillip Smiljanic and Michael Bascynski - who all took part in the B.G.C. Cup - may also step up to the first team over coming months.
MILESTONE FOR PETKOVIC
Michael Petkovic celebrated his 150th appearance for South Melbourne in the National Soccer League when they defeated Melbourne Knights 3-2 on Sunday evening. The former Cockburn City and State custodian was recruited by Frank Arok from the local competition in mid-1995 and made his senior debut in the 2-1 win over UTS Olympic the following Feburary. Since then he has held on to the No.1 short at the club in a career which has seen him twice voted N.S.L. Goalkeeper of the Year (1998/99, 2000/01), helped South to back-to-back League championships (1997/98, 1998/99) and won four international caps for Australia.
After two unsuccessful attempts to continue his career overseas, Petkovic said he was delighted to have reached milestone. "I'm thrilled to play 150 N.S.L. games, all for South Melbourne." While he said he'd like to play another 150 games for South, the 25-year old warned that unless the club started to show some ambition he would consider other options at seasons' end. "I would love to stay here for the next three to four years or even longer, but I want to win the championship," he said. "I know the club can't be successful every year, but I am ambitious and want to do well in my career." It is believed that Perth Glory, Northern Spirit and potential new-comers Adelaide Galaxy have flagged an interest in Petkovic for next season.
STARTING SPOT FOR GARCIA
Richard Garcia made his first appearance in the starting line-up for West Ham United in their 0-1 defeat at Bolton Wanderers on the weekend. The youngster, who had previously made two substitute appearances for the Hammers, told his club's official website this week that he is now hoping his next senior outing will be on home soil. "I'm waiting for my chance to grace Upton Park and hopefully under better circumstances. All the games have been a good experience for me so hopefully I can just stay in the squad and progress."
Garcia came into the first eleven on the weekend after injury forced several regulars out f contention. "We had a few injuries like Don Hutchison, Trevor Sinclair and Michael Carrick so I suppose I was a replacement for them. I got in there and did my best. I was told I had a chance the day before and then Glenn confirmed it on Saturday. Don was struggling with his groin and failed his fitness test on the day so I got the nod. I think it would have been great if we had won because it would have taken us right up the table, but unfortunately it wasn't to be. I had to adjust to the speed of the game and eventually I got the hang of it. It was good and I really enjoyed myself. You get to grips with the pace of the game when you start and you get the ball a bit more, so it was nice to make my debut and I will take it from there."
It was a case of rolling back the years as Garcia took his position in the centre of midfield alongside F.A. Youth Cup winning teammate Joe Cole. "It is good to be alongside the young lads when you go in but it is good to be alongside everyone. I think I had a piece of advice from everybody, which was good. The boys really helped me play and enjoy myself in my first game. I tried to take it as any other game, there were a few nerves but I got into it more and more as the game progressed."
The Perth-born attacker came very close to covering himself in glory with a second half header from a Vladimir Labant corner. "I thought it was going in but unfortunately it didn't. None of our chances went in, they tended to go just past the post or over the bar - it wasn't our day. We dominated most of the game but we just couldn't score and they got the lucky break. They only had one chance in the whole game and they scored - it was a combination of luck and performance."
Out of contract at the end of the season, Garcia is hopeful that he will earn a new contract this English summer. "I'm very happy here. West Ham is a great club and at the moment I am really enjoying myself. I'm just happy to be in the squad and on the brink so hopefully I can push up sooner or later. It is good experience and hopefully I will just be in the frame the same as I have been."
Sorrento's preparations for the up-coming Night Series are progressing according to the plans of coach Steve Neville. The northern suburbs side enjoyed the better of the early possession in Saturday's friendly with Ashfield but it wasn't until the 20th minute that they converted that dominance with a well-worked team goal. Sean Fallon swung the ball into the danger area from the left, new signing Mark Cox headed it back across goal to Ryan Jeans who knocked it past Phil Jackson. Ashfield waited just eight minutes before replying, Luke Pavlos breaking down the left and crossing to Karl Atley who beat Gareth Deeg to the high ball and dropped a looping header into the Sorrento net.
Two minutes before the break Sorrento went back in front thanks to the skill of Cox who, receiving the ball with his back to goal, shielded it from his opponent before turning sharply and slotting it past the 'keeper. The hosts extended the margin in the 66th minute when Cox grabbed his second, running onto a good through ball from Stuart Banks and rounding Jackson before placing into an empty net. Sorrento's final goal of the afternoon came six minutes from full-time, Sean Fallon drilling it from outside the area and into the bottom left corner. Both the early matches also went the way of the home team. The reserves winning 2-1 while the Under-18's triumphed 3-1.
Cockburn City hosted the League's new-boys Future Glory in fine and sunny condition at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday afternoon. Played over three 30-minutes periods, it wasn't until the second period that the deadlock was broken, Glory scoring through former Cockburn youngster Mileta Miletic and doubling their lead when Miletic sent Gareth Naven on his way for their second. The home side came roaring back into the game in the final 30 minutes, Denis Stojanovic pegging a goal back before youngster Roberto Colalillo bagged a double as Cockburn earnt themselves a 3-2 victory.
Last Wednesday evening Armadale dominated their friendly with the Ashfield reserves team to run out victors 3-0.
OLDFIELD SEEKS UEFA BADGE
Peterborough United midfielder David Oldfield is planning for a career in coaching once his days as a player are over. 34 in May, Oldfield is out of contract at the end of the current English season and is determined to obtain recognition of his coaching qualifications whilst still a player. "I am in a process of taking my U.E.F.A. 'B' badge which I will hopefully get this year," he said recently. "I have learnt a lot in the last 12 months and it has been good to have half a foot on the other side of the fence. I have taken warm-ups as well as coaching small groups. It is more of a first rung on the ladder for me and it has been very informative so far."
"It is impossible to say whether I want to go into coaching or management. I need to get the badge while I am a player. I am out of contract in the summer so my future needs to be tied down. I want to continue playing, but it will be good to have my badge," said the experienced midfielder who doubles as a member of the club's coaching staff. 2001/02 has been a disruptive season for Oldfield with injuries hampering his progress. "I have had an average season so far. I have suffered with injuries and that has slowed me down, but the boys have done well without me. They were superb when I wasn't in the side. It has been frustrating, but you just have to get your head down and try and get on with it," concluded Oldfield.
JOONDALUP TAKE OUT LIGHTNING CUP
E.C.U. Joondalup have lifted the inaugural B.G.C. Cup by defeating Western Knights in the final of the pre-season tournament tonight. Going into the match as favourites, the Knights started brightly with Stuart Montgomery stretching goalkeeper Peter Stewart inside the first minute. In a pacey opening period the ball relayed with accuracy from one end of the park to the other as both teams searched for the early breakthrough. The deadlock was broken after 15 minutes when Dale McCulloch's scorching volley found the back of the net following a free-kick from wide on the left. Joondalup enjoyed a lengthy period in control after the opener and in the 23rd minute Knights custodian Pedro Pavez produced a stunning save to deny Paddy Rooney and keep his side the hunt. But four minutes later there was little the 'keeper could to keep out a well-rehearsed set-piece - a near-post corner by Scott Bulloch was flicked on by Andy Brown and Jamie Kuzmanovich finished the move to make it 2-0. With half-time fast approaching, Knights captain Scott Devine came close to pegging a goal back, his powerful drive on the run flashing just the wrong side of the up-right.
Knowing the Knights had to come out attacking, Joondalup were content to sit back soak up the early pressure after the interval. Ronnie Campbell's side continually got the ball to the feet of their forwards but their best efforts were rule off-side courtesy of a well-sprung Joondalup off-side trap. The only chance of the first quarter-hour came following a Ray Marinovic corner that wasn't properly dealt with by the opposing defence and young Ivan Zuvela cracked a fine volley high. Joondalup picked up the pace shortly after and Garin Collins almost extended the margin with a superb shot on the turn which came back into play off the post with Tomich firmly rooted to the spot. Ben Yates showed great skill to bring down a high ball and turn his marker in one fluent movement after 52 minutes, his shot from 17-metres landing squarely on Tomich's chest. The Knights mount a last-ditch assault on their opponents goal over the closing stages, but when Eugene Singeorzan's speculative shot was comfortably saved by Stewart even the most optimistic of Knights supporters recognised the trophy was now beyond their reach. After a nervous few minutes Michael Klaver's final whistle sent 'Geordie' Simmons and the Joondalup bench into raptures at having captured the first silverware of the new year.
Earlier in the night Perth S.C. claimed third spot after downing Inglewood United 3-1 in the play-off for the minor placings. Not long after Perth 'keeper Robert Scarparolo denied Elton Holmes, a defence splitting pass from Mark Pottier put Vince Tana through with only Oliver Taseski to beat and the wing-back made not mistake in making it 1-0. In the 15th minute Tony Cumace volleying an inch-perfect cross from Pottier to double the margin, and Peter Vukmirovic made it 3-0 a minute before half-time from close range. A 43rd minute Inglewood corner fell to Ryan Fredericks who threaded the ball through a sea of players to bring the host team back into the contest. This really sparked Inglewood to life and a few minutes later Scarparolo was called into action to turn a low drive from teenager Michael Baczynski around the up-right. But to their credit Perth's defence stood firm in the face of the onslaught storm to make sure that victory and third place went their way.
SEASON OF CHANGE AT COCKBURN (by Lennie Bavich)
Cockburn City formally commence the new season on Friday 15th February when they take on E.C.U. Joondalup on the opening night of the Night Series at Litis Stadium in Mount Hawthorn. With the departure of coach Laslo Koroknai to Rockingham City, Mark Jackson has taken up the reins and has put the team through its paces ahead of the 2002 season, working three nights a week in addition to playing several pre-season friendlies. Their opening warm-up match ended in a 5-2 victory over First Division Armadale, a 4-0 thumping of newly promoted Ashfield followed before suffering a mid-week 2-0 loss to Sorrento.
Cockburn has suffered a big player drain over the off-season. 2001 club captain Dean Gartside has moved to Bassendean Caledonian where he has been joined by fellow midfielder Simon Henderson. With the establishment of Future Glory, the club will no longer be able to call on the services of Antonio Naglieri who will most likely line-up along side former teammates Mileta Miletic and James Hesketh who were both picked up by the same club. With Joshua Pescud intending to sign with Floreat Athena, and injury likely to sideline Paul Cooke for up to three months, coach Jackson is currently looking at an entirely new midfield. Peter Petkovich is still touring Europe and is not likely to feature this season. Also departing the camp are Craig Andersen (Armadale), Jamie Bell (Swan I.C.) and Aaron Beattie (released) while rumour has it that Paul Natale is been training with Perth S.C.
On the plus side, much of Cockburn’s defence remains in tact. Ever reliable between the posts, Dino Pacella will again be the first choice ‘keeper and young Jeff Cargill his deputy. Boza Erakovic, Dusan Macura, Steven Adam and Davor Svirac, who made up the back four last year, have all lined up again this term. Not that the clubs’ backline is set in concrete, Jackson has been utilising Gary Numan as left back in practise games, releasing Macura into more of a midfield role with Christian Alvarez takin gup his customary position on the right side of midfield. Scott Bailey and Jason Faria were used sparring last year and should have a more prominent role this season.
Up front are the top flights’ Golden Boot winner for 2001 Branimir Mikulic, former Dianella White Eagles marksman Dragan Nejgic and Under-21 Golden Boot recipient Roberto Colalillo, who recently signed a pro-contract with the club. With the fire-power like that the team looks potent at the sharp end and a improvement on last years fourth place is expected. There are a number of new faces in the senior squad, namely Domenic De Felice and Denis Stojanovic who have moved up from the Under-21’s, and Miguel Ortin who joins after several seasons with Floreat Athena. And old could become new with Dean Wallace (ex-Fremantle City), Joel Peacock (ex-E.C.U. Joondalup) and Shane McNally (ex-Western Knights) all currently locked in negotiations to return to Cockburn for 2002.
ALLEN OFFERED TERMS IN SCOTLAND
Young goalkeeper Francis Allen has turned down an offer to join Scottish club Queens Park in the hope of impressing the powers that be at Clyde, Albion Rovers and/or Hamilton Academic in coming weeks. Allen, who six months ago celebrated his 18th birthday, started 2001 in the Under-18 squad at South West Phoenix and by seasons’ end had made his senior debut for the Bunbury-based club. “Francis is eager, quick to learn and a pleasure to coach,” said former Phoenix coach Joe Kelly this week. “He’s an excellent shot stopper and has the potential to go all the way.”
Sorrento host newly-promoted Ashfield this Saturday afternoon at Percy Doyle Reserve in a series of friendlies. With free entry and bar and canteen facilities open, the days activities get underway at 12.00noon with the reserves, 2.00pm sees the Under-18’s meet and at 4.00pm the seniors sides meet. At the other end of the city Cockburn City take on the youngsters from Future Glory at Dalmatinac Park, the match kicking off at 5.00pm.
GLORY ANNOUNCE FUTURE SQUADS
After two and a half months of trials under the watchful eye of Frank Arok, the former Socceroo coach recently announced the inaugural Future Glory squad that will compete in the Premier League. With the provision for four over-age players to be included in the line-up each week, Arok said Glory’s inclusion in the local competition was a step in the right direction. “We must start to develop our own players at the club and Future Glory will see this happen. It will be an interesting blend of promising youngsters, young members of the first team squad and also four experienced performers in need of match practice.”
Arok’s 15-player Under-19 squad includes several faces that will already be familiar to local supporters with five recent State junior and Schoolboys representatives amongst their number. The full squad that will play in the senior Premier League competition is Peter Lord (formerly with Armadale), James Hesketh, Mileta Miletic (Cockburn City), Robert Cibesku (Dianella White Eagles), Tomislav Crnkovic (Floreat Athena), Michael Basilio (Fremantle City), Daniel Arias, Shaun Kilkelly, Brad North (Inglewood United), Sam Miller (E.C.U. Joondalup), Admir Mehic, Robert Monterosso, Miki Vujacic (Perth S.C.), Chris Ritson (Sorrento) and Kostadin Manolev. In addition up to four over-age players can be selected from the Perth Glory senior squad.
The Under-17 squad that will play in the reserves competition is made up of Blake Greathead, Michael Smerill, Vince Nizic (Cockburn), Jordan Conti, Colin Gilchrist (Inglewood), Adam Gangemi (Joondalup), Adam Quinn (Kings Academy), Saul Contera, Damir Kuduzovic, Jan Zablocki (Perth), Sasa Kilibarda (South West Phoenix), David Atkins, Stjehan Beretovac, Adam Calleja, Linden Pywell and Kevin Sica. The squad for Glory’s Under-16 side that will take part in the Under-18 League consists of Alex Crooks (Ashfield), Scott Bushby, Scott Patterson, Alex Vrtski, David Whiteside (Kings Academy), Ashley Otte, Ben Rogers, Daniel Simcox, (Swan I.C.), Jonathon Mathers (Balcatta), Andrew Brand, Timothy De Suza, Goce Dilevski, Dzenin Dzenic, Michael Park, Marlon Ramirez, Wesley Ryder, Laze Taneski, Sebastian Trim and Steve Worthy.
BIG JOB AHEAD FOR ASHFIELD
Having taken Ashfield to the First Division play-off title last season, coach Tom Kilkelly is well aware that he’ll face a tough task over the next eight months in keeping the club in the Premier League. The club’s last excursion into top flight football wasn’t a joyous occasion, relegated after finishing season 2000 in tenth place. Kilkelly worked his squad hard the following season and turned the club’s fortunes around, taking Ashfield to third place after the home-and-away season before they stormed their way to the Major Series play-off title.
Much of that promotion winning squad is still at the club. Steve Goff, club Fairest and Best and leading scorer, will once again lead from the middle of the park where he is partnered by the likes of Karl Atley, David Mayers and captain Steve Gillibrand. Goalkeeper Phil Jackson has become a regular fixture between the posts since he left Morley Windmills in 1998, while in front of him the defence is held together by experienced campaigner Gene Wyllie. Youngsters Oliver Cook, Brad Pochroj and Alen Havic should all feature for the first team as the season progresses.
Over the off-season Kilkelly has added some much needed depth to Ashfield’s playing stocks, starting with former Floreat Athena pair Adrian Spinelli and Jamie D’Arcy. “We’ve also had two young boys from the Western Knights, Mark Donnelly and Luke Pavlos, join us in the past few days,” said Kilkelly. Other new faces in the Ashfield squad include former Leeming Strikers attacker Darren Yates and Jamie Kumkar (ex-Bayswater City). “But we’re still in the market for big defenders, if there are any out there!,” the coach added. Defender Nathan Salisbury is the only summer departure of note, although reserves players Sam Danesh, Lee McEvoy, Damien Krebs and Daniel Taylor have all been released.
WOULD YOU BELIEVE …
Just five weeks before the proposed start date of the 2002 First Division season and Soccer West Coast are considering a late submission for the re-entry of Dianella White Eagles into the competition. According to sources the local body have provisionally accepted have the clubs application pending they meet a couple of conditions. The first is that the club pay a $14,000 up-front fee to S.W.C., while the second is that all existing First Division clubs vote in favour of their re-entry. It is believed the club will have no trouble coming up with the required funds, but they may come unstuck on the second condition with a number of clubs voicing strong opposition to the proposal.
KNIGHTS AND JOONDALUP TO MEET IN FINAL
E.C.U. Joondalup will meet the Western Knights in the decider of the inaugural B.G.C. Cup this Friday night after downing Inglewood United and Perth S.C. respectively in the semi-finals. After a scoreless first half, Joondalup striker Andy Mason pounced upon some hesitancy in the Inglewood defence six minutes into the new half to net what would turn out to be the only goal of a largely uninspiring semi-final clash. In an at times spiteful match which saw several players spend time in the sin-bin, Andy Cornmell had a golden opportunity to put Inglewood back in the contest but fired his shot wide of the up-right after racing clear of the defence late in the piece.
The opening half of the late fixture between the Knights and Perth was an even-handed affair in which neither side were able to take command courtesy of some solid defending at both ends of the pitch. The periods’ only talking point came after 18 minutes when Perth goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo was somewhat harshly sent off for mistakenly handling the ball outside his area. And the Blues were lucky not to go down to nine men a few minutes into the second half after Peter Vukmirovic’s crunching tackle from behind on Claus Neilsen saw the Danish import take no further part in proceedings. The resulting free-kick was played wide to the left from where Leon Russell, 24-metres from goal, hit a scorching shot which curled into the far top corner of the net to give the Knights the lead.
Realising they now had nothing to lose, Perth responded by pushing forward at every opportunity which had the unfortunate effect of also leaving them badly exposed at the back. Not long after Russell’s opener Knights striker John Nicolaou should have doubled the margin but was unable to convert from close range after confusion reigned inside the Perth 6-yard box. Perth didn’t find their rhythm until mid-way through the half, Mark Pottier meeting Robbie Gaspar’s far post cross but directing it just inches too high. It wasn’t until the 56th minute that they got their reward, Tommi Tomich parrying Andres Oliveira’s powerful shot and Gaspar was on hand to tuck away the loose ball. But if another shoot-out was to determine this match then someone forgot to tell the Knights. With barely two minutes remaining Eugene Singeorzan drew the defence as he ran the ball to the by-line before pulling it back into the path of teenager Ivan Zuvela who slammed the ball past Gianni Papalia from 7-metres for a deserved match winner.
GULLS NEW-COMERS SECURE VICTORY
Premier League champions Sorrento have defeated Cockburn City 2-0 in a mid-week friendly. The northern suburbs team should have taken the lead in the 11th minute after Jared Love won Sorrento a soft penalty but goalkeeper Dino Pacella guessed the right way to keep out Ryan Jeans’ spot-kick. 38 minutes into what was developing into a scrappy match, Jeans made ammends for his earlier miss when he netted at the second attempt. Off-season recruit Mark Cox fired a low cross into the area after 58 minutes to triallist Sean Fallon whose explosive shot cannoning into the body of the ‘keeper before finding the net. Both coaches made full use of their respective benches as the match came to a sedate end.
REGISTRATION LEVY LOOKS LIKELY
After weeks of speculation it appears that Soccer Australia’s controversial plan to hit all players with an annual registration fee - $6.50 for juniors, $12.00 for seniors and $35.00 for contracted players and coaches - will come to fruition. Over the weekend it was revealed that officials from the powerful Victorian and New South Wales federations publicly agreed to support the plan which is hoped will help the national body out of what is believed a debt in excess of $2 million. The levy will be brought in this season and is expected to remain in place for the next five years.
The local controlling body, the Soccer Association of Western Australia, have written to Soccer Australia requesting more information before committing to the registration fee. “S.A.W.A. is seeking a five-year financial business plan, an independent audit report, and information on where are the initial funds raised going to be spent,” said President Louis Prospero this week. “Once we have received this we will inform the local stakeholders and ask for their views before a decision is made.”
ENGLISH TRIALS FOR SORRENTO PAIR
Two of Sorrento’s youngsters, Ben Coppack and Brodie Martin, left for England this week to take up trial offers with Leeds United and West Ham United. The pair, both 14, head overseas with the blessing of the seagulls academy boss Peter Butler, himself a former West Ham player. Butler said that while the youth programs in Europe were more advanced that those in Australia, young players had good reason to try their luck overseas. “If any player gets the chance to go, he must at least try it,” he told Jonathon Cook of the “West Australian” this week.
Butler, who made over 450 appearances at senior level in England, believes that even if young players - like Coppack and Martin - return home with nothing more than additional knowledge and experience, the trip would have been worthwhile. “I felt the boys had the potential to catch the eye over there,” Butler said. “It’s down to the boys now, there’s an opportunity there … they are going over with a view to the clubs maybe offering a scholarship in the future. It’s a trip of a lifetime. Leeds and West Ham have probably got two of the best academies in England. I just hope the boys grasp it with both hands. But if they don’t, it will have been a good experience anyway.”
RIVALS TALK UP KNIGHTS CHANCES
The Western Knights have been the topic of much discussion amongst their Premier League rivals over the past month with many speculating that the club could well add to their trophy cabinet this season following some impressive performances in the pre-season B.C.G. Cup. After taking the club to fifth place on the ladder last season coach Ronnie Campbell has been selective in who he brought to the club over the off-season, a move which is bound to see them finish amongst the front runners in 2002.
Long-serving Fremantle City centre-half Evan Wallace is new to the club, along with striker Stuart Montgomery who finished as one of Kingsway Olympic's leading scorers last season despite spending a lengthy period on loan to E.C.U. Joondalup. After a year out of the game former State midfielder Raymond Marinovic returns to the Knights camp. A handful of the club's youth players are also expected to taste first team football before the year is out, amongst them Luka Jukic, Joe Reale, Erik Kuzmar and Robert Pedri. Former Macedonia (nee Stirling Lions) and Floreat Athena player Jamie McGettrick has been appointed coach of the Under-21 team.
There is a distinct possibility that Paul McVittie, formerly with Fremantle City, and Tommi Tomich (Bassendean Caledonian) may re-join the Knights after trialling during the pre-season competition at Inglewood. Ric Antunes, a former championship winner with the Knights and Inglewood, is looking to make a comeback after two seasons out of the game, and current Fawkner Blues midfielder Joe Vaz may also return at the completion of the Victorian Premier League season. On the injury front Michael Roki is making good progress from a recent knee operation, but things aren't so good for Darren Williams and Carl Medica who are expected to be sidelined for some time.
In the debit column, former State defender Gavin Tait has decided to hang up his playing boots at the age of 37, Andy Lawson has returned to Scotland, and well-travelled Shane McNally has been released and was most recently spotted training with Cockburn City. Michael Vaz, part of the State Under-19 squad last year, has returned to Fremantle City for whom he has been playing in the B.C.G. Cup, and youngsters Tom Radic and Sydney Blunsdon have opted to spent time out of the game.
MRDJA’S GOLDEN QUARTET
Former Perth S.C. striker Nick Mrdja has put himself in the frame for a trip to Sydney with Perth Glory this weekend after a brilliant second half performance in Monday’s nights 5-1 friendly win over Inglewood United at the National Stadium. After a scoreless first half, Inglewood coach Steve Parkinson stuck to his pre-game plan and fielded a virtual youth side for the second period in which Mrdja stole the show. The 23-year old striker set-up Future Glory youngster Kosta Manolev for the games’ first goal early in the new half, then set the game alight with four spectacular strikes of his own. Mrdja drilled home his first after making a weaving run into the area, and shortly after sent a free-kick from the edge of the area rocketing into the back of the net. Mrdja’s third came via a stunning right-foot volley which he followed with a rasping left-footer from 27-metres to complete his haul. Talented 15-year old Michael Michael Bascynski was the lone scorer for the home side with a well-taken second half goal.
BORAL CUP ROUND ONE DRAWN
The 2002 Boral Cup gets underway on Monday 4th March with the pick of the round being Stirling Lions and League new-comers Future Glory at Macedonia Park. Other intriguing fixtures will pit a young Inglewood United side at home to Leeming Strikers, while South West Phoenix travel to Dorrien Gardens to play Perth S.C. Elsewhere Armadale host Fremantle City, Ashfield are home to Wanneroo City, and Jubilee reserve will be the venue when Bassendean Caledonian play Queens Park.
The remainder of the opening round takes place the following Saturday (9th March) when only two top flight clubs will be involved in the action. Cockburn City host Rockingham City in the local derby south of the river, while at the opposite end of the city E.C.U. Joondalup are home to Morley Windmills. Mandurah City start their time in the state’s professional ranks with an away trip to Bayswater City and, in another derby, Olympic Kingsway host Perth City. Balcatta play Stirling Suns and Southside United take on Canning City in the remaining fixtures. Four Premier League clubs - Sorrento, Swan I.C., Western Knights and Floreat Athena - have been given byes into the second stage of the knock-out competition.
MURPHY LOANED TO PALACE
Socceroo Shaun Murphy has joined English First Division side Crystal Palace on a month’s loan after failing to win back a place in Sheffield United’s defence. The centre-half, who played every minute of every match for the Blades last season, has been out of the club’s line-up since their New Year’s Day clash with Manchester City and has had an interrupted season following his spell with the Socceroos in November.
The former Sorrento and Perth S.C. defender made his debut for Palace on the weekend, helping the club to the 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday which lifted them into sixth place in the League. Shortly after the game Murphy revealed he would like to secure a permanent transfer from United at the end of his loan to Palace. “It’s a club with ambition and I’d like to be a part of that for sure.”
Palace boss Trevor Francis, a long-time fan of Murphy, was pleased with the 31-year-old’s debut at Hillsborough. “He gave an assured performance in difficult conditions and I’m pleased to see him with Palace for the next month,” said Francis. “I don’t know why he is not in the Sheffield United side at the moment but that is our gain, although he won’t be available for our match against the Blades.” Part of the loan agreement was that Murphy would not play for Palace against United later this month.
HAMMERS BOSS PRAISES GARCIA
West Ham United manager Glenn Roeder is tipping Perth-born attacker Richard Garcia to be the next player to graduate from the youth ranks at Upton Park. The 20-year old former Perth S.C. player was on the bench last week when the Hammers lost 2-0 to Southampton and, although he didn’t make it onto the pitch, Roeder predicts a bright future in which patience will play it’s part.
“Some (players) make the jump in their teenage years but sometimes it takes longer to come up to the standard because there is such a high level expected. Richard Garcia played in the F.A. Cup youth winning team, the same as Joe (Cole) and Michael (Carrick), and he is a player we still have got high hopes for. He has certainly improved in the last six months and we have kept him with the first team - come this time next year hopefully he will have played a few games for them.”
Roeder feels it is just a question of Garcia, who is out of contract at the end of the season, just biding his time. “That is the way it is going to be for Richard, but it is certainly not a problem for me, and not for him. I have got the patience to wait, and as long as progress is shown that is the main thing - a lot has been made, and he very rarely has a poor game for the reserves. When he trains with the first team he never looks out of place, and I’m sure it is only a matter of time before he starts for the first team.”
COCKBURN HIT FOUR
Cockburn City have continued their good pre-season form by hitting four goals past newly promoted Ashfield on the weekend. In a match which saw both teams squander some golden opportunities, Dragan Ngecic opened the scoring when he controlled an inch-perfect Scott Bailey cross before tucking it away. Miguel Ortin got his head on the end of Christian Alvarez’s cross to double the margin, and the match was put beyond Ashfield’s reach when Scott Bailey netted after his initial shot was parried by the ‘keeper. Big striker Branimir Mikulic did all the hard work to round two defenders only to be brought down inside the area, the referee waved the advantage and Dragisa Volarevic made no mistake in making it 4-0.
TRIO LINKED WITH KINGZ
Out-of-contract striker Sean Fallon made his National Soccer League debut on the weekend when he came on in the 82nd minute of the Kingz 1-0 loss to Perth Glory at Perth Oval. 25-year old Fallon, who played for E.C.U. Joondalup last season and looks likely to join Sorrento for the coming winter, was a late addition to the Kingz squad after midfielder Mark Burton was ruled out through injury. Coach of the Auckland-based club Kevin Fallon - Sean’s father - sought and received clearance to play his son, saving the club money it would otherwise have spent on flying in an emergency replacement.
Meanwhile, the Kingz coach took the opportunity to run his eye over two local goalkeepers during his stay in Perth. Inglewood United’s Oliver Taseski, who was between the posts for the Western Australian Under-19 side that travelled to France last year, trained with the side on Thursday, while State Under-15 representative Michael Smirelli is believed to have joined the squad the following evening. Both youngsters are members of SportsGroup Soccer International who are negotiating an alliance with the Kingz.
STRONG ARMADALE SOUND WARNING
Billy Russell’s plans to make Armadale a force to be reckoned with this season appear to be coming to fruition if Thursday nights friendly with fellow-First Divisioner’s Queens Park is anything to go by. In an entertaining first half which saw some promising moves carved out by both sides, Armadale snatched the lead after 29 minutes when Dennis Lee took possession well inside his teams half and went on a weaving run that took him past five before finishing truly.
It was 2-0 a minute into the second half when new signing Lawrence (surname currently unknown) headed his first touch in an Armadale shirt past the opposing ‘keeper. Ten minutes later Greg Newcombe found the target with a stunning shot from the top corner of the 18-yard box, and the match was over as a contest when Lee raced clear of the defence to bag his second of the night. Armadale were also convincing winners of the reserves clash, doubles from Joe Clarke and Steve Sauzier and a single by Darren Ingham handing the reds a 5-0 victory.
Russell’s team were brought down to earth with a thump on Saturday when they met the top flight’s Bassendean Caledonian. A revitalised Caledonian side won both encounters by comfortable margins, 5-0 at senior level and 3-0 in the reserves.
KNIGHTS AND INGLEWOOD MAKE UP FOUR
Western Knights went through to the semi-finals by defeating Floreat Athena in the final group stage fixture. Neither side wasted any time settling into this make-or-break fixture and the scene was set for a physical meeting early on when Jason Smith and Scott Devine clashed heavily in midfield. Both sides went into the interval happy with the nil-all deadlock, although it was the Knights that had the better of possession courtesy of hard working flank players Ray Marinovic and Claus Nielsen who made several penetrating runs from deep.
The Knights took the lead shortly after the re-start when striker John Nicolaou collected a through ball, calmly turned his marker then dispatched the ball into the back of the net. Athena responded by picking up the pace and forcing their opponents on to the back foot. Smith’s well taken free-kick produced a superb save from Tommi Tomich, but there was little the ‘keeper could do as Manuel Arapis slid home the equaliser from close range. The match was eventually settled by Eugene Singeorzan, now in his eighth season with the Knights, who calmly slotted home from the penalty spot after Arapis was judged to have handled the ball inside the area. With the clock ticking down both teams were reduced to ten men in separate incidents - Singeorzan was dismissed for retaliation while Arapis received his marching orders for a crude two-footed tackle on Devine.
In the early game Swan I.C. surprised group leaders Inglewood United 1-0 to record their first win of the tournament. Teenager Tom Lasnavick, on loan to Swan from Inglewood, was the scorer of the games only goal. Wednesday nights semi-finals will see the youngsters from E.C.U. Joondalup take on Inglewood United from 6.45pm. The late fixture, which kicks-off at 8.00pm, will pit Western Knights against Perth S.C. Both games will be played under lights at the National Stadium.
SIMMONS LOOKS TO GET BALANCE RIGHT
Entering the professional ranks in 1995, success came quickly for E.C.U. Joondalup who rocketed their way into the top flight in three short years before picking up the inaugural Boral Cup in 1998, and 12-months later the Premier League championship. While the club have not lifted silverware at senior level since, coach Paul ‘Geordie’ Simmons says all the signs are there that Joondalup are on the cusp of being championship contenders once again.
“We are quite exited about this coming season,” Simmons said this week. “We have a good mix of experience and youth at the club and, as can be seen from our games in the B.G.C. Cup, teams are finding our passing game and pace out wide hard to play against. As I said the mix is really good … all I have to do is get the balance right. It is still early days but we will, be happy with a top five finish.”
Amongst the young players that Simmons hopes to see step up to the first team this winter are goalkeeper Peter Stewart, and out-field players Dwayne Sajda, Nick Ward, Craig Cheeseman, Craig Simpson, Ben Yates, Mark Ristofski and Daniel Webb. The Joondalup coach has added depth to the squad with the signing of two former English League players in Lee Stratford, who spent six years on the books of Nottingham Forest, and Paddy Rooney, formerly with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Other new faces in the camp are Kevin Griffiths, returning from a years’ loan to Bassendean Caledonian, and Ryan Underwood who will be on loan from Perth City.
But it’s not all good news for supporters of the northern suburbs club. They look like missing out-of-contract State representative Steve White for much of the season due to a pelvic injury. Goalkeeper Gareth Deeg has joined Sorrento and could well be joined there by Sean Fallon, while striker Joel Peacock has been in dispute with the club and appears to have played his last game for Joondalup. There is also some doubt over the playing future of talented youngster Andre Sarpe who is currently in Romania.
INGLEWOOD TO HOST GLORY
Inglewood United’s young guns will get the opportunity to strut their stuff against National Soccer League outfit Perth Glory when the two clubs meet in a friendly early next week. United play the breakaway N.S.L. leaders under lights at the National Stadium in Inglewood on Monday (4th February) night with the match scheduled to kick-off at 7.00pm.
LAZARIDIS LINKED WITH NEW ADELAIDE CLUB
Adelaide-based millionaire Con Makris is beleived to have targeted several overseas-based Australia players, including Perth-born Stan Lazaridis, for a newly proposed National Soccer League team. The news came just hours after it was confirmed that Makris will bid to enter a team in the 2002/03 N.S.L. season under the Adelaide Galaxy banner. It’s been reported that Lazaridis’ Socceroo teammate Kevin Muscat, who has recently been linked with a move to either Glasgow Rangers or West Ham United, has also been contacted by Makris.
TWO THROUGH TO CUP SEMI’S
Perth S.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup are through to the last four of the B.G.C. Cup despite less than convincing performances in their final group stage matches. Perth striker Andres Oliveira had a golden opportunity give his side a 4th minute lead against Fremantle City only to knock it wide with only the ‘keeper to beat. With both teams putting on a quality display, Perth were reduced to ten men mid-way through the half after goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo hauled down Dale Wingell just outside the box and was duly red carded by referee Wayne Oldham. Michael Mirco (Fremantle) and Aaron Cole (Perth) tried their luck from distance in the minutes leading to the interval with their respective shots narrowly missing the target.
The second half was barely 30 seconds old when teenager Josh Kamasz, fresh from a stint with the Australian Under-16 side, scored with a splendid shot from 22-metres which flew over Gianni Papalia and dipped under the bar to give Fremantle the lead. With the port side threatening to run away with the game, Daniel Trim was unlucky after side-stepping the defence only for his shot on the run to whiz wide of the up-right. Throwing everything forward in the hope of accumulating enough goals to make the semi-finals, Joe Liguan doubled the margin in the 51st minute when he nipped to make the most of some hesitant defending and head the ball home. Dale Wingell sealed Fremantle’s first win of the tournament with a header of his own in the 55th minute before, just two minutes later, Robbie Gaspar pegged a goal back for Perth from the penalty spot.
Joondalup went into Wednesday’s late match safe in the knowledge that their spot in the semi-finals was assured no matter what the outcome, while for Stirling Lions victory would have seen them leap-frog Perth into second place and into the last four. It was not surprisingly then that the Lions came out with all guns ablaze, Bobbi Klenkovski, Adam Kostencic and Toby Wright all going close in the opening stages of this do-or-die fixture. But it was their opponents that scored first, highly rated teenager Mark Ristofski hitting a well-placed shot from the top of the penalty area after 18 minutes. Two minutes later Klenkovski equalised by beating goalkeeper Peter Stewart to a bouncing ball and nodding it into the net. And four minutes from the interval Joondalup’s lead was re-stored by Nick Ward after Andy Mason’s initial shot was cleared off the line.
An action-packed, free-flowing second half opened with an inch-perfect cross by Wright finding John Wiltshire streaming into the box at the far side, the winger volleying sweetly only to find Stewart well positioned to make the save. Joondalup controlled play for the middle part of the half and both Ristofski and Derek Cooke should have finished off their opponents but sent the ball off-target. A constant menace on the counter-attack, the Lions were back in the hunt six minutes from full-time when Klenkovski combined effectively with Joe Cinquina to bag his second of the night. Joondalup eventually took out a tense shoot-out 3-2 with goals from Cooke, Carl McDarby and Ward, Klenkovski and Luke Buktenica converting for the Lions.
ATHENA MOVE ON ALL FRONTS
Floreat Athena coach John Hunter has strengthened what was already an impressive squad with some astute off-season signings and promotion within the clubs ranks. Kingsway Olympic pair Jamie Trandos and Kostas Kalavroutziotis have joined the Litis Stadium-based club along with young defender Anthony Jones (ex-Bassendean Caledonian). They are joined in the senior squad by two players that have risen through Athena’s youth system in 19-year old striker Renato Rechichi and 17-year old midfielder Josip Magdic. It is believed Hunter is also keen to secure the services of Cockburn City midfielder Joshua Pescud.
While Hunter has held on to many of last seasons players, there have been several departures from the squad which finished runners-up in three competitions. Jamie D’Arcy and Adrian Spinelli have both departed and were last spotted training with Ashfield. Winger Filippo Esposito has been playing in the B.C.G. Cup with Fremantle City, while Miguel Ortin has spent the pre-season with Cockburn City. Other players that have been released include youngsters Peter Nikoloski and Andrew O’Neill. Athena also stand to lose influential midfielder Doug Ithier who is currently recovering from an injury picked up in Malaysia before resuming talks with Sabah.
Contrary to what was reported at the end of last season, former State defender Dave Evans has not retired and will continue playing with Athena this winter. Evans has shaken off a persistent hamstring injury that plagued him throughout last season and that at one stage threatened to end his career. The news is not so good for defender George Tiniakos who also missed the latter stages of last season after damaging a knee against E.C.U. Joondalup. His time on the sidelines is expected to continue until half way through the coming campaign.
LONDON TRIALS FOR PARKINSON
Inglewood United striker Louis Parkinson will become the fourth Perth youngster to head abroad this year when he leaves for trials with an undisclosed English club next week. “I’ll be leaving on Monday but all I can say at this stage is that it will be a London-based club, everything else is being kept under wraps for the time being,” said the teenager this week. Parkinson’s departure comes hot on the heels of Matthew Danskin (to Germany), Tom Jones (to England) and Todd Harnwell (to Malaysia) who are all either currently on trial with or playing for clubs overseas.
It will be Parkinson’s second trip to England in the space of 12-months after a successful stay at Birmingham City last year. “I spent four months with Birmingham but had to come back home because I picked up an injury. I was meant to return there at the start of this year but I’m not sure what’s happening with that, I really enjoyed my time at the club but Birmingham have had a change of management and that’s thrown things into a bit of doubt.”
While the local season is yet to officially get underway, the State representative hasn’t been idly waiting for his time in England to arrive. “I’ve been training with Inglewood for the past month and I played in their first match of the B.C.G. Cup. But since then I’ve been taking it easy and basically been resting with the English trials in mind.” Parkinson showed in that pre-season match against Western Knights that he’d lost none of his sharpness over the summer months by scoring both goals in his clubs 2-0 win.
NEW SIGINGS GALORE AT ARMADALE
Coached once again by Billy Russell, First Division side Armadale are well into preparations for their new season which officially kicks-off on 4th March with the home Boral Cup fixture against Fremantle City. With plans for a red-hot go at the championship this year, Armadale embarked on a summer signing spree which has brought a number of new faces to the squad. Amongst the new recruits are former Rockingham City quartet Robert Crerer, Lee Hallums, Graeme Matthews and Luke Morris, Craig Anderson (from Cockburn City), Mark Craft (Inglewood United) and Greg Newcombe (Leeming Strikers) with the distinct possibility of more additions before the season starts. The only notable absentee from the training ground has been youngster Peter Lord who is rumoured to have joined the Future Glory squad. Bryan Wood has been appointed reserves coach for 2002 with Jim Loveless and Dave McKean sharing under-18 responsibilities.
SORRENTO STRENGTHEN ASIAN LINK
The Sorrento enclave in Singapore was strengthened this week with confirmation that two more former players - Simon Harland and James Morgan - have joined Marine Castle United. The pair join midfielders Tony Carbone, Todd Harnwell, defender Danny Hill and coach Trevor Morgan in the Dolphins camp. Perennial strugglers in the S-League, United commence their 2002 S-League campaign with an away fixture at Gombak Untied on 20th February.
Carbone is one of the longest-serving members of the current Dolphins squad. He was installed as club captain last season and has chalked up 46 League outings over the past two seasons. Appointed coach in July last year, Trevor Morgan has the task of building a squad capable of finishing outside the bottom two, something United have failed to do in each of their four S-League seasons. That goal will hopefully be made all the more easier thanks to the recruitment of Harnwell and English-born Hill, who both signed on the dotted line earlier this month, Harland and James Morgan.
NIGHT SERIES CONFIRMED
The fixtures for this years Night Series have been confirmed. The competition, which is once again being staged at Litis Stadium, kicks-off on Friday 15th February with games between reigning Premier League champions Sorrento and Fremantle City. That same night Cockburn City meet E.C.U. Joondalup. Two days later (Sunday 17th February) it’s Floreat Athena against Western Knights followed by the debut appearance of Future Glory when they take on current Night Series holders Perth S.C.
ROCKINGHAM BACK ON TRACK
There’s good news from south of the river with word that Rockingham City have commenced their pre-season. This comes after much recent speculation which suggested the club might not start the coming Soccer West Coast season. After some initial training sessions under the watchful eye of State junior coach Steve Duckworth, former Cockburn City boss Laslo Kornkai has taken over the reigns with the expressed aim of taking the club back into the top flight.
INGLEWOOD RECORD SECOND VICTORY IN B.C.G. CUP
Spurred on by a cool summer's evening, another healthy crowd turned up at the National Stadium on Friday night to watch the second round of Group Beckham matches in the B.G.C. Cup. But there was little to get excited about in the opening half of the clash between Floreat Athena and Inglewood United with neither side able to successfully break down the opposing defence. All that changed as the home side went on the attack after the interval, their reward coming six minutes after the re-start when a low ball from the left by Elton Holmes was lashed home by Rory Mouttet at close range. Athena waited only six minutes before replying, Jason Smith chipping a free-kick over the defence and, with the United backline waiting for the off-side flag, Peter Coci chested the ball down before hitting it diagonally across Oliver Taseski and inside the far corner. This had the desired effect on both teams and the final quarter of an hour produced some free-flowing football with chances at both ends. Taseski saved superbly to deny Coci, Kostas Kalavroutziotis and Costa Socratous, while down the opposite end Mouttet shot narrowly high and Vasco Vujacic raced off his line to smother at the feet of Philip Smiljanic after he raced clear of the defence. The match was eventually settled in a shoot-out, United winning 2-0 with Mouttet and Boni Botha the scorers.
Western Knights dominated the late against Swan I.C. from the opening kick and took the lead after just 4 minutes when Stuart Montgomery slid the ball past goalkeeper Corey Hugo from 5-metres. With Swan putting themselves under unnecessary pressure at the back, Claus Nielsen almost doubled the margin in the 20th minute with an audacious shot from out wide which Hugo tipped onto the bar. Then, in quick succession, Scott Devine and Eugene Singeorzan both saw their shots knocked wide of the target. As the half came to a close the Knights won a quartet of corners, the last of which Swan defender Justin Everley had the misfortune of turning past his own 'keeper. 14 minutes into the second half and any hopes Swan had of coming back into the game evaporated when Dean Nicolaou rammed home a goalmouth scramble. Tom Shepheard injected some bite into the Swan attack when introduced late in the game, while Knights youngster Erik Kuzmar almost added to the tally with a spectacular long-range effort that dipped just the wrong side of the bar close to the final whistle.
KAMASZ SCORES IN FINAL AS AUSTRALIA WIN PACIFIC CUP
Australia have won the inaugural Oceania Football Confederation Pacific Cup and Fremantle City youngster Joshua Kamasz played his part in the side lifting the trophy. Played at Valentine Sports Park in Glenwood, New South Wales, Australia kicked-off their campaign late last week with victories over the Solomon Islands (1-0) and the Cook Islands (4-0), before thrashing Samoa 11-0. The Australian boys then went one better by demolishing Tonga 12-0, a haul which included one goal from Kamasz. After cruising to victory over New Zealand (4-1) in the semi-finals, Australia then trounced Vanuatu in Thursday's decider courtesy of a Matthew Hilton hat-trick with the final nail in the coffin of the islanders coming from the boot of Kamasz just minutes after he was introduced off the bench.
LIONS TO MAKE ALL-OUT ASSAULT ON CHAMPIONSHIP
Stirling Lions have one just aim this winter - to win the First Division championship and re-claim their place amongst the state's top flight. The only non-Premier League side invited to take part in the B.C.G. Cup, the club has been very active over the past few months in which coach Wayne Thorpe has bolstered his playing squad courtesy of some shrewd off-season recruiting.
Amongst the new faces at the club are former State player Vladimir Beretovac (ex-Fremantle City), defender Luke Buktenica (Western Knights), skillful striker Bobbi Klenkovski (Stirling Suns) and one-time Sorrento teammates Toby Wright and Leo Harman. In addition, they plan to utilise the youngsters that have come up through the youth ranks and include teenagers Johnathon Wiltshire, Christian Debarro, Mike Philipou, Joe Pugliese and Gareth Banfield who have all been part of the B.C.G. Cup squad. "We've not had such a blend of youth at the club in many years and we're keen to keep it going," said Lions assistant coach Basil Lenzo this week.
"Our main objective has been to grow the squad as that was our big problem last year, when we had injuries and suspension we found that we didn't really have the back-up needed," Lenzo added. "But the success of the reserves last year and the chance to play some of the younger guys in the B.G.C. Cup is all the better for our squad and it helps develop our depth. The goal this year is to win promotion - two years running we have come in second after being the most consistent side in the competition, and there is no doubting that our facilities are one of the best in the state. The players want to go up in the right manner and that is by winning the Championship."
With the First Division season running a marathon 30-weeks in 2002, the Lions have opted to rest several first team regulars over the opening weeks of the pre-season competition at Inglewood, including Ashley Keegan, Rob Peruzza, Roko Skender and Andy Wright. They will be joined by Jimmy Mekurois and Daniel Corrs, who both sat out last year due to work commitments, in the Lions squad which starts its campaign with a First Round Boral Cup fixture on 4th March. The First Division season is believed to kicks-off on the weekend of 16th March.
SIGN UP FOR SORRENTO'S JUNIORS
Sorrento's annual registration for all junior players is on Sunday 3rd February from 10.30am until 2.00pm at Beddi Road in Duncraig. All new players must provide two passport size photographs and a copy of their birth certificates. A second registration day will take place on Sunday 10th February from 10.30am and lasting until 1.00pm, but the club stress that they are unable to guarantee players a position at this date. Sorrento are proud supporters of the Salvation Army's 'Can of Food' project and they invite members to donate a can of food towards this worthy cause. Players are encouraged to bring their can of food on either registration days and place it in the appropriate container.
CARBONE TALKS ABOUT LIFE AS A STRIKER (by Amanda Atherton)
Amanada Atherton of the Brisbane Strikers Supporters' Association caught up with one-time Australian Under-17 representative John Carbone recently to get his views on football, the Brisbane Strikers and himself. Atherton started by congratulating Carbone on the goal he scored in Perth from a free-kick. "I was pretty happy about it, as it was the equaliser for 2-all. People have told me that I looked shocked, but that wasn't what I was thinking. I was just really happy to get the equaliser, particularly with Jason (Petkovic) in goal."
The former Perth S.C. and Floreat Athena midfielder has settled in well at the Strikers, both on and off the field. "Everyone in the squad gets along with each other, and has a lot of respect and confidence in the other players. They really make you feel welcome." On the field he has been substituted a number of times around the 60-80 minute mark. "I have struggled to put in a whole game and Kossie (coach John Kosmina) has said that is an area I need to improve in. But as long as I am doing my job for the time I am on the field and I know that I am improving my endurance, then I'll be happy."
"The last three years in Perth I only got three or four games a season and I have already played ten this season. I want to continue to go out there and do the job I have been given to the best of my ability. During the off season I had surgery to fix a wear and tear problem, and I am really feeling a lot sharper now."
Carbone has fitted in well with Shane Steffanutto at left back. "Shane is great, he loves to get forward but then he is always back there in defence." This combination was at the heart of the second goal against Kingz. He obviously has a lot of respect for the other players and coach. "It was fantastic that Kossie picked me up for the season. I just want to continue to play the best that I can and contribute to the success of the team. The squad has a good mix of youth and experience. It surprised me to look at the average age of the boys and compare that to Perth. Over there I was one of the youngest. Here younger players get a chance to step up, and are respected and supported by the rest of the team."
In Carbs' own self-effacing, reserved way, he praised the rest of the team during an interview about himself and want to make sure that he spoke about the captain. "Stuey (Stuart MacLaren) is a brilliant captain. He is excellent with helping the boys off the park and on. He is one of the best captains I have ever had, which is great as he is only 26."
Atherton wondered how Carbone was coping with the change in climate, particularly Queenslands' recent hot spell. "The humidity is hard to get used to, it really takes it out of you a lot quicker. But it has to be harder on the visiting team than on us. At least we know what it will be like."
Carbone played for Australia in the Under-17's in 1993, and was then selected to go to the Australian Institute of Sport in 1994. So what was it like to live on the other side of the country at 16? "It was hard, I really missed my family. In the end I went home six months early. It was a lot easier for the boys from New South Wales, they got to go home every second weekend."
So what is the best football attribute he has. "That's the hard question. I guess it would have to be playing on the ball. Crossing, and sharp passing and when I'm switched on getting into good positions. But it definitely isn't defending, I just don't enjoy it. I am more comfortable running with the ball than at it."
In the short term what are his ambitions? "I want to keep on playing well and contribute to the team doing well. I think we can make the finals and hope we can make the top two. But there is a lot of season to go an we will have to work just as hard to get there. Long term I want to keep playing as long as I can, and enjoy it. I don't want to look too far ahead, just play this game and then look to the next. Hopefully I won't sustain any injuries and can continue the form I have started this season."
JOONDALUP INTO B.G.C. SEMI'S
E.C.U. Joondalup powered their way into the semi-finals of the B.G.C. Cup by comprehensively thumping Fremantle City 4-0 last Wednesday. After a scrappy opening period in which neither side was able to gain the upper hand, Andy Mason opened the scoring with a stunning scissor-kick from a well-rehearsed corner. Both sides then stepped up a gear in a free-flowing match that saw some good chances come at both ends without success. Joondalup seized control of the match in the second half courtesy of a converted penalty by Scott Bulloch three minutes after the re-start. Mid-way through the period Ben Yates made it three-nil, and a long-range strike by Garin Collins rounded out a successful visit from the northern suburbs for Geordie Simmons and his players.
Perth S.C. bounced back from last weeks' lacklustre performance by hitting Stirling Lions for six in the late fixture. In an entertaining match, Perth turned on the style from the opening kick and goals inside the opening ten minutes from Tony Cumace and Christian Marocchi really put their opponents on the back foot. But to their credit the Lions continued to press forward in search of a way back into the match only to be turned away time and time again by a well-drilled backline. Toby Wright had the Lions best chance of the period but his effort was well-saved by goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo. Shortly before the interval Perth were awarded a dubious corner from which Robbie Gaspar bagged his sides' third of the night.
The Lions started the second half strongly with Wright again forcing Scarparolo into making an excellent save. The match was ended as a contest in the 45th minute when Michael Icanovski's spectacular shot from 40-metres swung wildly in the back of the net in what must certainly be a contender for goal of the year. Wright could have added some respectability to the scoreline at this stage when his side were awarded a penalty, this time it was substitute 'keeper Gianni Papalia that denied the Lions striker. The blues continued to go on the attack, almost at will, with Peter Vukmirovic and Andres Oliveira adding to the tally before Vlad Beretovac netted a late consolation for the Lions.
STEADY IS THE PERTH SHIP
Winners of four of the past five trophies decided in this State, Perth S.C. are shaping up for another strong season. Coach Graeme Normanton benefited from being able to call upon the same core of players of the past few years and 2002 looks like being no different. The only confirmed departure from the Perth camp over the off-season has been nippy striker Boni Botha who has taken up an offer to join local rivals Inglewood United. But the club also stand to lose midfielder Jamie Coyne, currently on trial in England.
Perth have a long history of unearthing gems in their own backyard, and it is to their youth ranks that they will once again turn. Last season the likes of Rhys Graham, Scott White and Dino Djulbic broke into the senior squad and Normanton will be expecting them to step up and feature more prominently this winter. The only 'new' faces in the squad are former-Perth players Christian Marocchi and Tony Cumace who both return to the club after spells with Swan I.C. and Sorrento respectively. Well-traveled utility player Peter Vukmirovic is currently training with the club.
JONES GIVES IT ANOTHER CRACK
Leaving for England during the week was E.C.U. Joondalup teenager Tom Jones who's decided to have another go at landing a contract abroad. The striker will spend seven days in Brunei with recently departed Saints Academy director Mike Lyons before going on to London where trials are lined up with several clubs. "I'll be at Exeter starting February 4th, they'll have a two-week look at me and from there I'll go to Plymouth for another two-week period," Jones said this week. "If both clubs are interested I'll have to make a choice, but if neither appeal I'll trial with Bristol City."
Late last year Jones spent time with the Premier League's Bolton Wanderers where he impressed the coaching staff and was unlucky not to be offered terms. "I said to Gary Williams that I didn't want to go back to a Premier League club at this stage," explained Jones. "I used to live down around Cornwall and Devon way and I've got family there to stay with so that would be the ideal location. That's why I'm trialling with clubs in that area."
GLORY DOWN ATHENA
A goal apiece from local products Nick Mrdja and Alistair Edwards enabled Perth Glory to defeat Floreat Athena 2-0 at Litis Stadium tonight. With both side slow to come out of the blocks, Glory took the lead mid-way through the first half when young defender Shaun Kilkelly, making a guest appearance for the club, played an inch-perfect ball over the Athena defence and Mrdja rounded John Xigas before slotting home. Athena's Peter Coci had a couple of good opportunities to level the scores before the break, his first he steered wide of the target while the second brought out an instinctive near-post save from Vince Matassa.
Glory went on the attack after the interval only to often be caught on the counter-attack by their State League opponents. As the final whistle neared both sides began to relax with some sloppy passing presenting opportunities at both ends but with little end product. Five minutes from full-time Alistair Edwards' header came back off the crossbar and the striker was quickest to react to the rebound and bag Glory's second of the night. Overall the 2-0 scoreline was a fairly reflection of a game in which David Tarka, Brad Hassell and Edwards were Glory's stand-out players, while for the home team it was Costa Socratous, Jason Smith and Adrian Sutton.
CADDIES PROVE TOO STRONG FOR SORRENTO (by Kerry Slater)
Sorrento hosted an interesting clash of sports on Tuesday evening when an 'Old Players' XI took on a side representing the International Golfing Caddies Association. The Caddies are currently in Perth for the Johnny Walker Classic which is being staged at Lake Karrinyup Golf Course. The Caddies team surprised the local supporters by putting on a great showing of teamwork skills with the bigger round white ball. Encouraged by a reasonable crowd of locals, visiting golfers and officials, the Caddies shocked the home team by winning 4-3 in a very even contest that was played in a competitive, but friendly manner.
Sorrento started the match in control as their opponents, more used to an individual game, struggled early to find cohesion. But some poor finishing by the home side early on early, particularly from Paul Stott, Duncan Hill and Derek Harnwell, allowed the Caddies to survive. Then with a swift decisive move, the Caddies took the lead when Ken Herring shot into the bottom left corner pass Enzo Monastra. Sorrento took a while to recover and it was only after the introduction of Rita Berry that Sorrento got some width into their play. Berry swung in an inviting cross from the right that Willie McNally met at full stretch to head pass Steve Rowlinson for the equaliser.
Early in the second half a very fluky goal put Sorrento in front, Stott's shot taking a cruel deflection off Dom Bott and, with Steve Rowlinson completed stranded by the change of direction, the ball bounced onto the left post and spun cruelly over the line. Sorrento went further ahead when a good run from the middle of the park by Eddie Hodginson took him clear of the defence and he comfortably slotted home to put Sorrento two goals clear of their opponents. However, the Caddies were not lying down and they struck back almost immediately. A long ball by Peter Butler caught the Sorrento defence pushing up, and Herring stepped inside and netted his second of the match. This was followed by the goal of the match from Mick Doran whose powerful header into the top right corner brought the crowd to their feet and had the teams once again level. A further surprise came when the Sorrento defense seemed all 'in the water' as they failed to clear the danger and Eddie Stretch benefited by firing truly pass Monastra. The Caddies held out a determined Sorrento for the final nine minutes to record a well-deserved victory.
GLORY LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Future Glory - that is the name Perth Glory have christened their youth teams that will compete in this season's State League competition. Speaking at the launch of the Future Glory, chairman Nick Tana said it was perhaps the most important development in his club's short but already successful history. The way was cleared for Glory to enter a team in the local competition after a unanimous vote of Soccer West Coast clubs late last year. Future Glory will field an Under-19 team in the senior Premier League senior competition, Under-17s in the reserves and an Under-16 side in the Under-18s.
"It has taken enormous hard work and great goodwill from the soccer community in Western Australia but now the Future is here and the Future is bright," said Tana at the launch of the new venture. "Future Glory offers young players a chance to play soccer in their home State under the nose of the coach of their State's National Soccer League team. With the Under-16s, 17s and 19s system we now have a direct career path for young soccer players who want to reach the top of the Australian game without having to head to the eastern states. It is a very exciting time for soccer. The cooperation and goodwill which was required to make this possible is exactly what soccer needs in Western Australia. It will help us make the code stronger from the grass roots up and it will make us a much stronger, more marketable code. I want to thank the Soccer West Coast clubs and administration for this opportunity."
Future Glory will play all its games away from home and Tana said he hoped Perth Glory supporters would follow the team's fortunes and help return the crowds to local soccer. "This offers a great chance for the best supporters in the land to have an interest in the code all year round. I hope many of them follow the Future Glory to cheer on our youngsters and to see some of the older squad players in action. That will be great for the State League and great for soccer in Western Australia."
Frank Arok, formerly coach of the Australian national team and now in charge of Glory's youth set-up, said he has been impressed by the talent on show at recent trials for Future Glory. "We are not looking for miracles here but for good, solid development of young players, to groom young players for the top levels of the game. Western Australia has many fine young players and the development work being done here has worked well. What Future Glory will do is complement that work and offer a career path for the very best young players. The Glory Development Program for Under-11s through to Under-14s has now been operating for six months and has been highly successful. There are a number of youngsters in that program who have great potential. Now instead of leaving home for the east or even going to the other side of the world to gamble on making it as a footballer they can stay at home, complete their education's and still get top class coaching and a clear road to the top. That has to be good for the game."
COCKBURN CLAIM VICTORY OVER ARMADALE
With newly appointed coach Mark Jackson in charge, Cockburn City had their first competitive hit-out of the pre-season on the weekend when they took on First Division side Armadale over three 30-minute periods. Cockburn started strongly with Dragan Njegic tucking away a Branimir Mikulic cross to give them an early lead, Armadale replied through Jason Goodwin but a stunning left-footer from just outside the area by Robert Colalillo restored Cockburn's lead. In an even second period in which both sides strung together some good passages of play, an unfortunate own goal by Cockburn defender Boza Erakovic saw the two teams go in level at the final break. Cockburn stepped up the pace in the last 30 minutes with Njegic bagging two more to complete his hat-trick, while new recruit Miguel Ortin chimed in a sweetly struck right-footer from 18-metres to make the final score 5-2 in Cockburn's favour.
SORRENTO LOSE KEY TRIO
Plans for Sorrento to make it back-to-back Premier League championships are well underway in the northern suburbs, but the club will be doing so without several players that played key roles in the successes of 2001. Danny Hill, the seagulls Fairest and Best player last season, has signed with Marine Castle United where he'll join former coach Trevor Morgan. Star midfielder Michael Garcia joined Perth Glory at the end of last winter, while midfielder Peter Butler has all but hung up his playing boots to concentrate on junior development duties.
Former State striker Kevin Corriera has re-joined Fremantle City while Luke Croxall, Toby Wright and Tony Cumace are negotiating to join Bassendean Caledonian, Stirling Lions and Perth S.C. respectively. Goalkeeper Neil Young may also be on the move with plans to return to England early in February where he'll continue trials at Crewe Alexandra.
Steve Neville, who replaced Morgan towards the end of the 2001 home-and-away campaign, has been appointed senior coach and is looking forward to meeting the challenge ahead. To date his only signing of the summer has been Caledonian attacker Mark Cox, although E.C.U. Joondalup pair Sean Fallon and Gareth Deeg have recently joined the training squad. Neville will be assisted on the bench by reserves coach Vince Radcliffe. Eddie Hodgkinson, formerly with Olympic Kingsway, will be in charge of the club's Under-18 team.
PLAYERS WANTED BY BALGA
WAASSA Premier League club Balga commence pre-season training from 6.30pm this Thursday (24th January) at Liddell Park, which is located on the corner of Beach Road and Wanneroo Road in Girrawheen. Training will return to Brian Burke Reserve near the completion of the cricket season. The club invite new players to come down for their Reserves and Senior teams.
ATHENA TO PLAY GLORY
Premier League club Floreat Athena continue their preparations for the season ahead by taking on the leaders of the National Soccer League, Perth Glory, under lights at Litis Stadium on Tuesday night (22nd January). The friendly kicks-off at 7.00pm.
ATHENA, INGLEWOOD GET THE POINTS
A saw-seeing tussle between between Floreat Athena and Swan I.C. on Friday night produced six goals and kept the large crowd on the edge of their seats for the duration in the B.G.C. Cup. In an entertaining contest, a converted penalty by Ryan Newhill gave Athena the lead but Brian Robertson replied shortly before the interval so see that the sides went in to the break on a even footing. Swan grabbed an early second half lead through Eddie Mura only to see Athena's Troy Bernard again level the scores. With ten minutes remaining Newhill restored Athena's lead but the black and whites refused to give up, scoring with a quick counter-attack two minutes from full-time to take it into a shot-out. Goals from Anthony Jones, Newhill and Costa Socratous eventually gave Athena victory 3-2, while for Swan it was Damian Scali and Robertson that found the target.
Inglewood United defeated Western Knights 2-0 in the early match. A double by young striker Louis Parkinson gave the hosts the points in the only match of the week to be settled in normal time.
KINGS ACADEMY CALLS FOR TRIALISTS
The Kings Soccer Academy, who are currently competing in the Junior Soccer Association's summer academy league, are looking to strengthen their playing stock for the winter season and will be holding trials in the week starting 18th February 2002. The northern suburbs academy based at the Kingsway Sporting Complex has proved a success in unearthing young talents and the recent announcement of the Perth Glory Development Squads saw 18 Kings players included in the plans of the National Soccer League club.
Speaking with the local community newspaper, the Kings coaching director Alf De Bono said he was thrilled with the progress being made by the academy and it's teams last season. "We did not set out to win anything. Our target was to develop a program that will enable all players to progress to play at elite levels. The fact that 10 out of 15 boys from our under 12's team have also made the cut for the Perth Glory Development program is vindication that we are on the right track. The fact that we also collected three major trophies is just a bonus and not an end destination for any of our players. Our boys are proving to be technically superior to the opposition, because that is what we are working on with all players. The individuals' progress is of greater importance than the team"
The 18 Kings players named in Glory's development program are - Tyron Pottier, Keith Cleveenenger (Under-11/12 squad), Tom Quinn, James Quinn, Ludovic Boi, Stephen Whitehead, Scott Patterson, Sam Doherty, Joe Hodgson, Lee Mackie, Sean O'Neil, Matthew Italiano, Jerome Vallet (Under-13/14 squad), Scott Bushby, David Whiteside, Alex Verski, Adam Quinn and Jarrod Smith (Under-15/16 squad).
For further information on the Kings academy and the up-coming trials please contact Mitch Doherty on 9300 8654, or send an email to email@example.com
RADIO FREMANTLE THIS WEEK
Newly appointed Soccer Association of Western Australia president Louis Prospero will be interviewed by the crew from the Saturday Morning Soccer Show on Radio Fremantle (107.9FM) this week. The hour-long program, hosted by Martin Wells, Dennis Gedling and Penny Tanner, goes to air from 10.00am.
… AND SWAN MAKE TWELVE
Swan I.C. have finally been given official notification of their Premier League status for the up-coming season after Monday night's Soccer West Coast meeting. The black and whites got over the line courtesy of a vote that went in their favour 4-3 to edge out Stirling Lions. Rockingham City were also in the running for the top flight berth, but Perth City opted not to make a formal presentation to the local controlling body.
Swan president Tony Scali said he was pleased the club would be staying in the Premier League despite a disappointing 2001 campaign when they finished in last place. "The decision is the right one because it is not just for Swan I.C., it's for the benefit of the whole region," he said this week. "We have a pretty sound junior development program and being where we are out on the fringe there are no other clubs close by. I would've been very disappointed if we had been relegated." Lions president Don Evans said his club asked at short notice to prepare its proposal but accepted the decision which means the club will spend 2002 in the First Division.
SIX LOCALS NOMINATED
Western Australian soccer has seven players, six of which were either born or raised in Perth, in the running for the 2001 West Australian newspaper / ANZ Sports Star of the Year award. Representing the world game are Craig Deans, Bobby Despotovski, Jamie Harnwell, Jason Petkovic and Damian Mori (all Perth Glory), Stan Lazaridis (Birmingham City, England) and Shaun Murphy (Sheffield United, England). The Roll of Honour, published this week and including 213 sportsmen and women, will be trimmed to 12 finalists before the winner is announced on 31st January.
LIONS, JOONDALUP SURPRISE ON OPENING NIGHT
First Division outfit Stirling Lions pulled off a shock victory over the top flights Fremantle City in the opening round of the B.G.C. Cup at the National Stadium in Inglewood in Wednesday night. Cheered on by a crowd of around 400, the Lions dominated the opening period and deservedly took the lead after 11 minutes when a sensational long-range strike by Vlad Beretovac flew past City custodian Sam Tomeo. A minute later City should have been back on level terms but Cisco Jorquiera side-footed the ball wide of the target from close range. Mid-way through the half a superb cross from the right by Leo Harman found Victor Bogos who headed narrowly wide. It wasn't until close to half-time that City again threatened to score, a fierce drive by new signing Michael Vaz finding goalkeeper Chris Velios alert on the line.
City pushed hard to make the most of their numerical advantage early in the second period after Harman was sin-binned. But the closest they came was when Dale Wingell teed-up Anthony Pereira who blazed wide from a narrowing angle after 36 minutes. It was a case of all is forgiven eleven minutes later when Pereira produced a little bit of magic, cleverly flicking the ball over an opponent before centring to Jorquiera who knocked it home from 6-metres. The goal sparked the Lions back into life and in quick succession Toby Wright and Harman came close to restoring the lead. The closing stages saw some great end-to-end action as both sides sought the match winner. A final minute free-kick to the Lions on the edge of the 18-yeard box saw Tomeo produce a truly world class save to deny a dipping shot by Adam Kostencic. To a shoot-out it went and Wright, Bobbi Klenkovski and Tony Paulino made no mistakes for Lions while defender Vaz was the lone scorer for City.
In the nights' early game, a very young E.C.U. Joondalup line-up defeated last seasons treble winners Perth S.C. 4-3 in a tense shoot-out. Joondalup defender Andy Brown picked had the dubious honour of becoming the first player sin-binned in the Western Australia when yellow carded after just 5 minutes, and late in the piece Jamie Kuzmanovic and Mark Pottier became the first players sent off this season as tempers became frayed. In between the match never reached any great heights although Joondalup looked the better after the interval only to be continually thwarted by Robert Scarparolo. Joondalup eventually took out the points courtesy of shoot-out goals by Garin Collins, Derek Cooke, Nick Ward and Ryan Underwood. For Perth Robbie Gaspar, Andres Oliveira and Dino Djulbic found the net.
YOUNG MATILDA HOPEFULS SHARE FOUR GOALS
Perth's two representatives in the Young Matildas training squad helped their chances of making the cut for the Oceania Under-19 Women's World Championship Qualifiers this April. Collette McCallum scored two goals while Lisa De Vanna came off the bench to net once as the national team defeated Canberra Eclipse 11-2 in the opening match of their training camp. In the starting line-up a few days later, De Vanna scored the Under-19 sides second goal in the 3-0 win over a New South Wales Select side a few days later, while neither was able to find the target in the 6-0 defeat of Victoria Vision. Both girls are believed to have impressed national selectors, McCallum making the starting line-up for all three fiendlies while De Vanna started once and came off the bench in the remaining two.
GARCIA TURNS DOWN LOAN OFFER
After scoring a spectacular goal for West Ham United's reserves earlier in the weekend, attacker Richard Garcia says he is enjoying the English season despite the fact that he is yet to secure a regular spot on the first team bench. Bournemouth recently enquiried about taking the young West Australian on loan but Garcia was happy to stay in the hammers camp for the time being. "If you go on loan you are playing with men, but if you are training with the first team every day I am sure you are going to pick up good habits. Hopefully that rubs off and I can become a first team player," he told the official West Ham site this week. "If the gaffer is just happy for me to stay I'm happy to stay - I am just waiting for my chance, really. There are a lot of young lads and even the players that are making the first team are playing really well. Everyone is fighting for that first team spot. Hopefully I can push up onto the bench and get a game as I have been in the squad for most of this season."
The former Australian youth international bagged a wonder-goal in the reserves' 4-0 triumph over Wimbledon on Monday, his fifth goal of the current campaign. "It was a strike from outside the box and I was pretty pleased with it. All the boys played really well and I think 4-0 was a deserved result," said Garcia. Reserves boss Roger Cross has been impressed with the way Garcia has applied himself this season. "He is making solid progress and we are pleased with him. It is important he plays well in the reserves because that is where the first team manager sees him, and he has a good attitude," said Cross. And what did the coach think of Garcia's strike? "It was the third, killer goal and it was fantastic. Omer Riza made the run, played Richard in, and he drove it in from a tight angle at a distance of 23 or 24 yards at the near post."
ITHIER CLOSE TO MALAYSIAN MOVE
Floreat Athena look like being without the services of experienced campaigner Doug Ithier when the local season officially gets underway next month. The former State amateur captain is set to don the colours of Sabah who compete in the Malaysian League after turning out for the club in Sunday's friendly with Brunei. Speaking after the match, Sabah coach Ken Worden said that after a slow start Ithier showed that he'd be a worthy addition the clubs defensive stocks.
"Ithier is strong in the air and can give Sabah great strength as a centre-back. But his fitness is suspect and that was why he wasn't comfortable playing the midfield role," said Worden. "He will be very useful when he gets fit. What we really need now is a midfielder and I should say he is worth serious consideration … Now it is left to the management to decide on Ithier." The 28-year old is something of a journeyman with prior spells at Perth Glory, Sarawak (Malaysia) and Marine Castle United (Singapore) as well as locally with Athena.
LEE HOWELLS, A ONE CLUB WONDER
Fremantle-born Lee Howells must qualify for some sort of record as far as Australians playing overseas are concerned. It's been 11 years since he left Queensland and Brisbane United to try his luck in England. Cheltenham Town, then a run-of-the-mill Conference club, was Howells' first destination - and he's been there ever since. From relegation to the Dr Martens League in his first season, to promotion to the Football League and an FA Trophy victory at Wembley in between, Howells has managed to fulfill many of his ambitions by staying loyal to the one club.
"Yes, I had a couple of chances to leave," Howells told tribalfootball.com this week. "But the reason I stayed at one Australian club (Brisbane United) for three seasons was because I was happy there and it's the same with Cheltenham. I got a feel for the place, got to know the people and became comfortable here. I think if you are happy at a club then that shows in what you do on the pitch."
As he and Cheltenham have moved up the divisions, Howells has seen plenty of changes - but is quick to highlight that the club's atmosphere is one aspect that has remained constant. "It is a family club and quite happy-go-lucky, but even now they are still quite ambitious. Four or five years ago they were happy just to be in the Conference, but now they are looking at the chance to go higher than Division Three."
Rejection from his family's hometown club, Bristol City, forced a teenage Howells to return to Australia and try to establish himself with Brisbane United. But it wasn't football that took Howells back to England a second time. "I left Australia because my mother was very ill so I came back to be with her. She passed away 18 months later, and by then I had settled back into the English way of life - and football."
Howells remains a key factor in Cheltenham's ambitions. Anchoring the midfield this season, he's rated the fittest player in the Third Division and many observers believe he is playing as well as ever. Under boss Steve Cotterill, Cheltenham look genuine promotion candidates and Howells says the club certainly has the wherewithal to compete in the higher reaches of the Football League. "The main aim is to remain a Football League club, but there is no reason why we cannot go higher than Division Three. It was a big jump up from the Conference, so to go into Division Two may not be much bigger. When I first joined, the standard was similar to what I had been used to in Australia. But the big difference now is full-time training, which has benefited all the players at the club over the last few years. Off the field, the club has made a lot of progress. Over 11 years the ground has improved immensely."
Howells also notes the difference between Cotterill and his previous managers - most of whom he worked with while a part-timer in the Conference. "Cotterill is very different. He's the first manager I've had in full-time football and he is very professional in all things. In part-time football in Australia we used to drink four cans of XXXX after the game, the climate was very different and it was much more casual. Steve expects us to be professional on and off the field in everything we do."
Howells has been an ever-present on the popular 'Aussies Abroad' list, which was first put together almost four years ago by New South Wales Soccer Federation marketing chief Binesh Mudaliar. Now part of Soccer Australia's marketing effort, Howells' name is networked right around the country - something which he admits is a surprise. "No, I didn't know about that (Aussies Abroad), although occasionally I run into somebody who remembers me from Australia. Last season at Leyton Orient somebody called to me out of the crowd and it was someone I knew from my time there, who was living in London. When I left Australia, football was popular but didn't seem to get much publicity. But now that Australia have done well in the World Cup qualifiers and there are so many top players in the Premiership it can only make the game bigger. I should imagine that the standard of football and facilities has improved since I left."
Howells also admits to being in the dark over the number of countrymen he's faced since Cheltenham's promotion to the Third Division. "No, I didn't know anyone in Division Three and it is surprising how many Australians are here in both the top level and lower divisions. It just shows how big football is getting in Australia now."
Having bounced back so well from that failed trial with Bristol City, Howells is in a good position to advise any young Aussie lad aiming to make a career for himself in the game. "I left Bristol Rovers at 18 when I was told I wasn't wanted. I had the chance to join an English club on trial, but I went to Australia and it just shows there are lots of possibilities in football. It wasn't until I was 29 or 30 that I played in the Football League. I would just say never give up, keep trying and you never know what might happen." With Cheltenham Town well placed in this season's promotion race, you get the feeling that same mantra applies to a 33 year-old Howells even today.
LILLY JOINS A.I.S.
16-year old Canning City player Liam Lilly last week left behind family and friends in Perth to take up a one-year scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. The talented centre-back is one of eight players selected nationwide for the prestigious scholarship that combines intensive training and top-level competition with the demands of Year 12 studies. Lilly will train twice daily, play for the A.I.S. team in the Youth National Soccer League and participate in interstate and overseas tours during school holidays.
The defender came to the attention of A.I.S. selectors at last years National Talent Identification Championships where he was named player of the tournament. A week-long trial at the institute followed before Lilly spent a further month playing for the A.I.S. reserve side after their regular centre-back broke his leg. "The month was pretty hard at the start but now I know everybody there so it will be different this time," Lilly told the "West Australian" newspaper. "I plan to work as hard as I can to achieve as much as possible and hopefully get a permanent position in the A.I.S. side and just become a better player."
Having taken up the game at the age of seven, Lilly has been part of the set-up at Canning City since he was eight and has graduated through the clubs' junior development program to represent the State at Under-16 level. Steve Coppack, president of the Junior Soccer Association, said Lilly not only had the physical ability to become a top player but also the right attitude. "He's a sensible lad, mature for his age and he's a good example to other young players of where hard work can get you," he said. "It's a big stepping stone because most kids from the A.I.S. go on to bigger and better things."
TIME TO MOVE POSITIVELY SAYS BUSY PROSPERO
Louis Prospero, recently appointed president of the Soccer Association of Western Australia, has just one thing on his mind - getting the code back on track so that everyone associated with it can go out there and enjoy themselves unhindered. Over recent years the game in this State has been plagued by a seemingly endless series of set-backs and internal problems, but Prospero is not about to look back before pushing forward.
"The way I look at it is that you forget the past, that's been and gone, now we've got the future," Prospero said this week. "Let's move forward and let's move positively. What's the plan for the future, how are we going to fix the problems, where are the compromises - that's what we're tackling. Once you've found all that out you put it in the mix and thrash it out with respectful discussions. You may have disagreements but at the end of every problem I believe there is a solution. Once you can enhance that solution, then we unite and go forward. That's the way I see it."
It was a hectic first week in office for Prospero who, by his own admission, was run off his feet. "Last Monday night at the S.A.W.A. board meeting it was mentioned that some members of the Soccer Australia board would be arriving shortly. So first thing Tuesday I contacted S.A. and tried to set-up a dinner meeting for Friday night between the two boards as well as requesting the delegates visiting schedule. By this time news has started to spread about my appointment and I started to receive phone calls of congratulations from clubs, individuals and associations. And the phone's been running hot since, a lot of punters and stakeholders are coming up to me and saying finally we've got somebody there that wants to get on with doing the job and unite the game."
"On the second day of my presidency I went to the Department of Sport and Recreation and spoke to the director general Ron Alexander and some of his staff. The main reason I went there was to introduce myself, to see what they were looking for and to let them know what my personal ideas are. And in listening to the conversation going both ways I am now able to report back to the S.A.W.A. board the fruitful discussion that we had. I meet with Nick Tana on Thursday to find a solution that would bring Perth Glory back under the S.A.W.A. umbrella. I will be reporting back to the S.A.W.A. board what was discussed and hopefully we can have Glory back in the soccer family as soon as possible. And on Thursday night I chaired the Referees Commission meeting."
"Friday morning was spent with the members of the S.A. board - Ian Knop, Greg Woods and Graeme Bowker -, officers from the Department of Sport and Recreation - Ron Alexander, Rob Clements and Kevin Watts - and Nick Tana. Ian Knop discussed the financial mismanagement of the previous S.A. board and that a proposed financial plan will be presented in the next few days. He also told everyone at the meeting that the board of S.A. will support me in trying to reunite the code here in the west. Ron made the point that soccer would not receive further funding until all parties within the code wanted to unite as one and move forward. Over lunch on Friday Ian and Graham gave a presentation of how S.A. intended to fix the organisations finances."
"Saturday morning Ian and Graham spoke with the Junior Soccer Association board and clubs regarding the financial situation at S.A. That afternoon I attended the referees annual dinner where I presented Eddie Lennie and Patrick McCaffrey with their 2002 F.I.F.A. Badges. Then it was down to Perth Oval for Glory's pre-match dinner and to the watch the Glory-South Melbourne game. And to end the week I chaired the State conference for the referees on Sunday."
SOCCER AUSTRALIA COMPLETE FOUR-DAY VISIT
In town last week for a whirlwind four-day visit was a three-man delegation from Soccer Australia. Chairman Ian Knop, deputy chairman Greg Woods and director Graeme Bowker kept a hectic schedule while in Perth that included a number of meetings with various soccer and State authorities as well as taking in the National Soccer League fixture between Perth Glory and South Melbourne.
The trio met with the game's stakeholders at Wootton Reserve on Friday to discuss the introduction of a players' levy to help inject money into the national body. Soccer Australia plans to would like to see all players at every level pay a registration fee to generate revenue that would go towards the growth of the game nationwide. The delegation also met representatives from the State Government and a number of local soccer officials to discuss the state of the game and their plans for the future.
While in town Knop ruled out any likelihood of a second team from the west in the National Soccer League any time soon. "There will be no second license brought in in Perth in the foreseeable future. It's a market that's working, and why change something that's working when we've got so much work to do in the rest of Australia - why create another problem that we don't need?" The chairman also expressed his desire to see Socceroos play in Perth, hopefully against South Africa before the end of this year. "We have a moral responsibility to the supporters here to give them the best product at every level," Knop said. "I'd love to see a game of South Africa versus Socceroos based here in W.A."
COMPETITION FOR TOP FLIGHT SPOT
Little over four weeks out from the opening round of the 2002 Night Series and Soccer West Coast are yet to confirm the make-up of this years competition. It is believed the local professional body has requested four clubs to present submissions stating why they should be included in the pre-season competition and the Premier League. It is understood that a S.W.C. panel will consider the proposals on Monday night before voting on who will be the twelfth top flight club this year. The four vying for the single place are Swan I.C., who were controversially relegated from the Premier League last season, First Division North champions Perth City, First Division South champions Rockingham City and First Division Major Series runners-up Stirling Lions.
B.G.C. CUP STARTS NEXT WEEK
Next week will see the commencement of the inaugural B.G.C. Lightning Cup at the National Stadium, home of Premier League club Inglewood United. Organised by Karl Kramer, son of club president Siggy, the 8-team tournament will be staged every Wednesday and Friday night for the next four weeks with two games each night which kick-off at 6.45pm and 8.00pm respectively. "I think it's a good idea and something that should have happened some time ago," Kramer said this week. "We'd been talking for a couple of years now about holding some sort of tournament, either at the end of the season or prior to it. This time of year the weather is good and people want to go out and hopefully we can provide something that they will enjoy and that will capture their imagination."
In keeping with the pre-season feel, organisers have modified some of the games rules. "The basics are still the same we've made some changes which make the game a little more attractive from the spectators, and players, point of view," Kramer said. "Games will be played over two 30 minutes halves and there will be no draws. If at the end of 60 minutes the game is tied then we will go into a shoot-out situation with each team nominating three players who will go in a one-on-one with the 'keeper and have 10 seconds to score. Hopefully that will prove more entertaining than your standard penalty shoot-out. We've also introduced the concept of a sin bin, players that are yellow carded will be given 5 minutes on the sidelines to cool their heels. And to keep the game flowing we have given teams a six player bench with continuous interchange."
The B.G.C. Cup will feature a combination of Premier League and First Division club as Kramer explained. "We invited all the Premier League clubs but some turned down our offer to participate while others didn't get back to us to confirm they'd be playing before the deadline expired. So we asked a couple of First Division clubs and they were only too happy to take their place in the tournament. Unfortunately Perth Glory will not be playing either, when we sent out the invitations they hadn't been admitted to the League but there's always next year."
The tournament will see the eight clubs split into two qualifying groups of four. "For something a bit different we've named the groups after two legends of the game, one past and one present - Pele and Beckham," Kramer said. The top two ranked teams after the group stage progress to the semi-finals on Wednesday 6th February with the Final and Third/Fourth Place Play-off two days later. The club takes home the trophy will pocket a cool $4,000 while the three minor place getters also collect their share of the prize money.
The B.G.C. Cup gets underway on Wednesday night at 6.45pm when Perth S.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup meet, followed by Stirling Lions and Fremantle City. Friday's early match sees Inglewood United take on Western Knights, while in the 8.00pm game its Swan I.C. verses Floreat Athena. Admission prices are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children and concession card holders, while its free entry for those under the age of 16.
FREQUENT FLYER DANSKIN JETS OFF AGAIN
Bound for Germany today (Friday) is Fremantle City teenager Matthew Danskin. The 16-year old midfielder will spend three weeks with Werder Bremen on an all-expenses paid trip funded by the Bundesliga club who currently sit in third place, and are ranked the 24th most successful club in the world by www.soccernet.com. Danskin was part of the State Under-16 squad that took part in June's Lion City Cup tournament in Singapore, as well as being a key member of the team which competed in the National Identification Championships late last year. It was at this event that he was spotted by Werder Bremen's Chief Scout and invited to trial with the club.
It's been a busy period for Danskin who has only recently returned from England where he spent the four weeks leading up to Christmas on trial with Sheffield Wednesday. He impressed the Yorkshire club to the extend that they immediately lodged an International Clearance with the English F.A. which, pending the rubber stamp from Soccer Australia and F.I.F.A., will see him offered a two-year contract commencing this July. Unfortunately, due to a recently introduced F.I.F.A. ruling aimed to protect players under the age of 18 by restricting their international movement, this is not just a case of formalities.
Danskin learn his trade as part of the successful juniors set-up at Forrestfield United where he was a member of the Leeds United Development Centre. Over it's three years of operation the centre produced a number of outstanding prospects and provided twelve players who represented Western Australia at Under-15 and 16 levels at last years N.T.I.C. Amongst this number were Danskins' Fremantle teammates Dean Apelgren and John Migas, who both recently trialled for the Australian Institute of Sport, Australian Under-16 squad member Josh Kamasz and Sorrento youngster Wayne 'Fred' Wilson. Unfortunately Leeds withdrew their support for the for Forrestfield venture in September 2000, a decision which proved unpopular amongst the club's parent and player bodies.
NAGLIERI MAKES IT THREE
Former Cockburn City midfielder Antonio Naglieri became the third Perth raised youngster to make his National Soccer League debut this season when he turned out for Perth Glory in last weekends 5-2 thrashing of Brisbane Strikers. The 18-year old joins Glory teammate David Tarka (also formerly of Cockburn) and Wollongong Wolves' Greg Sharland (ex-Inglewood United) as debutants in the country's top flight competition.
Speaking to Bob Figg during the week, Naglieri said he didn't have a lot of time to process the fact that he was included in coach Mich d'Avray's starting eleven which was announced just an hour before kick-off. "I didn't know I would play until I got to the ground." And after running out in front of 14,592 Glory fanatics, the teenager admitted to having more than a few butterflies. "For the first ten minutes I was very nervous. But after about ten to fifteen minutes I thought I did alright. My passing got better and I started to enjoy it. I was confident enough to start playing my natural game."
CRISIS AT ROCKINGHAM CITY
According to sources close to the club, Rockingham City may not start the 2002 Soccer West Coast season due to a major loss of playing staff. It has been claimed that vast majority of the City's first team, along with the bulk of the reserves, have left the club over the off-season due to problems with match payments. Amongst those that have opted to strut their stuff elsewhere this winter are first team regulars Luke Morris, Robert Crerar, Lee Hallums, Graham Matthews and Stuart Francis. Neighbouring clubs Armadale, Mandurah City, Leeming Strikers and Canning City expected to benefit from the mass exodus.
HARNWELL JUNIOR JOINS MARINE CASTLE
Young Perth Glory wingback Todd Harnwell (right) has joined Singapore outfit Marine Castle United on a three-month loan. The one-time Sorrento player will link up former teammate Tony Carbone and coach Trevor Morgan in a move designed to give him valuable experience and match fitness. Harnwell was initially in two minds about moving the Singapore but after discussing the matter with his family and girlfriend he gave it the thumbs up. "It was a tough decision. Getting match fitness and playing games is the main thing but I was worried about being out of the loop if I went to Singapore," said the 21-year old who was assured by coach Mich d'Avray that he would not be a case of out of sight, out of mind.
LYONS LEAVES SAINTS ACADEMY
Mick Lyons has left his position as director of the Saints Academy at E.C.U. Joondalup to take up a lucrative three-year contract coaching the Brunei national team which compete in the Malaysian League. The former England international spent the past two years in Perth overseeing various youth development programs and will be a big loss to the juniors of this state. Having previously coached Marine Castle United (Singapore) and Canberra Cosmos (Australia), Lyons returns to take up the head coach position with Brunei six years after last coaching the state.
LA FIAMMA HOST PRE-SEASON CUP
The social, 7-a-side Iluka Corporate Cup gets underway this Friday night in the north-west city of Geraldton. Hosted by the La Fiamma Soccer Club and designed to attract new-comers to the world game, this years event will see 18 teams slug it out for right to call the trophy their own. The initial stage will see the teams split into three qualifying groups with the top two from each group progressing to what has been dubbed the 'Cup Winners group'. Teams finishing third and fourth in the group stage, as well as fifth and sixth, also get to play-off for prize money over the 10-week duration of the event. Competition rules stipulate that teams can have a maximum of three registered W.A.A.S.S.A. players on the field at any one time as well as at least one female. W.A.A.S.S.A. players are limited to four touches.
PROSPERO VOTED S.A.W.A. PRESIDENT
Soccer in Western Australia is set to move forward with a united approach to developing the game following the election of Louis Prospero as President of the Soccer Administration of Western Australia. Prospero, a delegate from the affiliates as the representative of the Soccer Australia Referees' Commission, was elected on Monday night and has pledged to lead the game to a new era of stability and unity.
"For too long we have had a divisive and fragmented approach," he said this week. "Using the State Government's Fielding Report as a model the intention is now to bring together the interests of Western Australian soccer into a new management structure which sees all elements of the code working together for the improvement of soccer in Western Australia. I also intend to hold a meeting of all the stakeholders within the code including the regional areas so that the soccer community can move ahead in unison to a revamped structure. As a referee I am used to being impartial and that experience will be very useful to move the game towards a new era of cooperation and mutual support."
The election of the new President will allow the State's soccer community to build on recent developments. "We have a proud history of soccer in W.A. stretching back over more than a century," Prospero added. "At a time when the new board of Soccer Australia is setting a new path for the game it is highly appropriate that Western Australian soccer will be doing the same. We will now seek support from the State Government in the form of a facilitator who can assist us in guiding the soccer community through the process of change, with the Fielding Report's recommendations as a basis for a new beginning."
Also new to the S.A.W.A. baord are Keith Jones and Peter Koulizus. Jones, a former State player, is also the current vice president of Soccer West Coast, while Koulizus' credentials include a stint as coach of West Adelaide Sharks in the National Soccer League, vice president of Floreat Athena and board member of S.W.C.
PERTH HOLD ON TO DRAW WITH SELANGOR
One of the most famous clubs in Malaysian soccer, Selangor, were in town during the week as part of their pre-season. The club nicknamed the Red Giants have lifted the Malaysia Cup a record 28 times along with four League Championships and three F.A. Trophy successes. On Sunday evening they played a young Perth S.C. outfit at Leederville Oval, coach Graham Normanton using the match to give his full 18-man senior squad a run.
In a scrappy encounter it was Selangor that had the better of play over the opening quarter of an hour but for all their possession the visitors never really troubled 'keeper Robert Scarparolo. For their part Perth relied almost exclusively on quick counter-attacks but there was little of great promise from last seasons treble winners. Perth won their first corner in the 18th minute and, totally against the run of play, made the most of the opportunity when Robbie Gaspar's kick was nodded to the far post where Mark Pottier brought the ball down and Andres Oliveira made no mistake from close range.
Selangor refused the let the set-back upset their rhythm and they pushed hard for an equaliser only to find Perth's defence up to the task. 15 minutes after taking the lead the margin was doubled when a hoofing clearance from midfield was collected by Oliveira, he made his way past two players and drew the 'keeper before squaring to Stephen Willey who side-footed the ball into an open goal. Six minutes from the interval the Malaysian side pulled a goal back through D. Surendran (7) when he curled a free-kick from 18-metres past Perth's defensive wall and beyond the reach of Scarparolo.
The second half got under way with some nastiness creep into the match as sloppy tackling lead to several players begin to fray around the edges with tempers fast nearing boiling point. Christian Marocchi was presented with a golden opportunity to kill off the match in the 62nd minute but shot straight to Malaysian 'keeper. After an even 20-minute spell, Selangor upped the pace and again controlled play only to be thwarted by desperate defending, poor finishing and pure bad luck. A 67th minute free-kick awarded when replacement goalkeeper Gianni Papalia picked up a backpass inside the area saw the ball rocket through the defensive wall but come back into play off the underside of the crossbar.
It wasn't until the final ten minutes that the game reached any great heights. Turning the ball over in midfield, a defence splitting pass sent Selangor's Asmawi Bakiri (14) through, his dipping shot clearing the 'keeper and kissing the underside of the bar before nestling in the back of the net. A tense finish ensued in which Perth defended staunchly and forced their opponents into trying their luck from distance. Perth had teenager Daniel Kovacevic to thank for the final 2-2 scoreline, the young defender making a superb goal line clearance after a Selangor striker sent the ball past an advancing Papalia in the 90th minute.
In Selangor's second and final match of the tour, four local youngsters were given the chance to impress the coaching staff of Perth Glory when included in the squad which defeated the Malaysian's 2-0 on Tuesday night. The quartet - Mileta Miletic, James Hesketh (both Cockburn City), Peter Lord (Armadale) and Admir Mehic (Perth S.C.) - all showed some quality touches and are rumoured to be named in the Glory Under-19 squad early next week. Former Fremantle City midfielder Gary Faria opened the scoring for Glory midway through the first half before recent signing Brad Hassell sealed the win.
CARBONE SHINES ON RETURN TO PERTH
A stunning goal from long-range by former Perth Glory midfielder John Carbone was enough to silence his home town critics at Perth Oval on Saturday night. Now playing in the National Soccer League for Brisbane Strikers, Carbone's winter move east has breathed new life into his playing career. With just ten starting appearances for Glory in his three seasons at the club, the 24-year old has wasted no time in enhancing his reputation to become one of the first names on coach John Kosmina's team sheet.
Kosmina, capped over 100 times for Australia, has utilised Carbone as a central midfielder but the former Perth Italia and Floreat Athena player attributes his change of fortune to getting a regular run with his new club. "I think playing week in, week out has been the main difference. At Glory you could play two or three games and then be out for four or five so it's hard to get back in and obviously when you're not playing with a youth set-up it's a lot harder to get back to match fitness."
"It would have been good to stay at home but I probably would have been sitting around on the bench and not playing," he told the folks from 990AM's International Soccer Program on Saturday night. "Obviously it wasn't my decision to leave but as it was I had to find new club and that happens with a lot of football players around the world. Brisbane is a good club for me to go to because I'm now playing regular football, which is what you want when you're a football player, you don't want to be sitting around. It's been good so far and we're doing well."
SOCCER AUSTRALIA ARRIVE
A delegation from Soccer Australia will touch down in Perth during the week to commence a review of the structure of soccer in Western Australia in the light of 1999's Fielding Report. The primary recommendation of the report was the abolition of the Soccer Association of Western Australia and to have it "replaced with a newly incorporated association to control and manage all aspects of the game in this State."
GARCIA MAKES PREMIERISHP DEBUT
20-year old Richard Garcia has started 2002 in promising fashion by making his English Premier League debut for West Ham United in their New Years' Day fixture with Leeds United. Wearing the No.33 shirt, the Perth-born striker came on with seven remaining as the Hammers went down 0-3. Since making his senior debut in September's Worthington Cup clash with Reading, Garcia has been a regular starter for his clubs reserves where he has found the net three times in their past five outings.
Speaking with the official West Ham website, Garcia said he was glad to finally make his Premiership debut for the club. "The gaffer saw there was no pressure on me so he gave me a run. It was just a little taste, and Toddy (Svetoslav Todorov) and I play together regularly in the reserves. Coach Glenn Roeder said just work hard and enjoy it. The pace was so much quicker than you actually realise and Leeds were buzzing at 3-0 up, and knocking the ball around well. I'd rather come on when we are winning heavily. I'd like us to be in the top half."
Garcia was used up front on his debut, but he is equally as comfortable playing in the middle of the park. "I think I prefer midfield. I still don't mind playing up front but the more I play in midfield the more I enjoy it and it would be nice to considered as Michael (Carrick) and Joe's (Cole) understudy. The three of us are all different players with different styles and it would be a case of matching their quality."
While an injury suffered during a loan spell to Leyton Orient robbed Garcia of a place in the Australia Under-20 squad at the Youth World Championship last year he has by no means given up on being selected for the national team. "My chance passed when I was injured," he says, "so the next thing is the next Olympics - hopefully I can make that squad. If you take Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka, they have established themselves as great players in the Premiership, and hopefully I can go on and do the same thing."
PLAYERS WANTED BY MORLEY
First Division club Morley Windmills commence pre-season training from 6.30pm this Tuesday (8th January) at Wotton Reserve, which is located on the corner of Embleton Avenue and Broun Avenue in Embleton. The club invite new players to come down and strut their stuff for the Under-18 and senior teams.
Founded in 1950, Windmills are one of the state's longest running soccer clubs. In a successful and proud history they have twice been crowned State champions (1961, 1973), twice won the D'Orsogna Cup (1974, 1975), twice collected the Night Series trophy (1969, 1976) as well as the 1980 First Division title. Some of the players that have had the honour of turning out in the clubs fabled orange shirt include four-times State Fairest and Best recipient Theo Papp, Dave O'Callaghan and John O'Connell, who together hold the record number of appearances for the State team, Ernie Hannigan and Dennis Barstow.
ARMADALE WELCOME NEW PLAYERS
Armadale Soccer Club kick-off their pre-season this Sunday, 6th January, from 10.00am with a work-out at Alfred Skeet Oval, Armadale Road in Forrestdale. Players currently without a club and interested in turning out for the Reds are invited to come down for trials. Regular training gets underway a few days later with Tuesday and Thursday sessions starting at 6.30pm. Armadale will spend the coming season in the First Division after claiming second place in the First Division Minor Series play-offs last year.
PHOENIX'S ALLEN TRIALS IN SCOTLAND
Having playing in all three grades for South West Phoenix last season, teenage goalkeeper Francis Allen is currently enjoying a spell in Scotland where he is on trial at Third Division Queens Park with similar offers from other clubs also on the table. While he is still working on getting back to full fitness as a result of the off-season in Western Australia, Allen has already made a positive impression on the clubs' coaching staff.
I CAN DO BETTER SAYS KAMASZ
Fremantle City striker Joshua Kamasz will celebrate his 16th birthday while on national duty with the Australian Under-16 team during the Pacific Cup tournament taking place in New South Wales later this month. Kamasz, son of former Spearwood Dalmatinac great Dave, is widely regarded as one of the state's hottest young talents. He came to the attention of national selectors during October's National Talent Identification Championship where he helped Western Australia's Under-15 team claim third place in the age group.
While he did obviously enough to impress the powers that be, an Australian call-up caught Kamasz off guard. "I was really surprised to get that phone call," he said. "I was happy with how I played at the Nationals but I really don't think I played to my full potential. I could have done better." And it wasn't just the authorities in Australia that Kamasz caught the eye of, he has also been approached by top flight English club Bolton Wanderers. "I was meant to be going over to England later this month for trials. But they are on hold at the moment, playing for Australia takes priority."
2001 was a successful year for Kamasz, who took part in six of the State Under-15's seven games during the Nationals. Fremantle's Under-18 side finished the regular season in third place before making their way to the Final of the Champion of Champions series. They also won the Boral Cup Final in a tense penalty shoot-out over Perth S.C. On a personal level, Kamasz walked away with the Under-18 leading scorer trophy courtesy of his 24 goal winter haul, and finished runner-up in Soccer West Coast's Under-18 Fairest and Best count.
Ange Postecoglou, National Youth Coach, has named a 20-man squad for the tournament which goes into camp at the New South Wales Soccer Federation's facilities at Glenwood on 12th January. The tournament gets underway three days later with Australia's opponents being Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tonga. Group B consists of Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, American Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand.
LAZARIDIS LEFT ON TREATMENT TABLE (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Stan Lazaridis' bid to establish himself with new Birmingham manager Steve Bruce has been thwarted by a hamstring injury. The Australian international has struggled to shake off the leg strain since returning from World Cup duty last month. Having finally returned to action before Christmas, Lazaridis limped off during the Boxing Day clash against Sheffield Wednesday and has remained on the treatment table ever since.
Bruce has raised doubts about the players' fitness at Birmingham, saying this week: "The number of muscle injuries that players here seemed to pick up does raise questions. I think we could be fitter, only a couple of per cent fitter, but that could be very important. So we will be looking closely at the way we prepare the players."
TWELVE IT IS
According to club sources Soccer West Coast have decided to go with a 12-team Premier League for season 2002. The top flight will consist of Sorrento, Perth S.C., Floreat Athena, Cockburn City, Western Knights, E.C.U. Joondalup, Fremantle City, Inglewood United, Bassendean Caledonian, Swan I.C., First Division play-off winners Ashfield, and the Under-19 side from Perth Glory. The remaining 16 S.W.C. clubs will fight it out for the First Division championship.
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This page was last updated on the 28th February, 2002