ANNUAL ALL-STARS NAMED
It's a bit later than we had planned but www.soccerwa.com is pleased to honour those players that impressed us the most over the winter months with the announcement of our 2004 Premier League All-Star team and shadow squad.
KNIGHTS DOUBLE GETS THE NOD
Western Knights double trophy capture has been voted the most remarkable achievement of 2004 in the end of year www.soccerwa.com poll. Finishing well out in front was the Knights Premier League and Champion of Champions double which scored 29.7% of the vote cast. A distant second was Shamrock Rovers' claiming of the WAASSA Premier League despite being deducted 18 points (18.7%). Just a single vote behind was Armadale's First Division championship which was achieved with only a single loss in 28 games (18.3%). Swan I.C.'s back-to-back Boral Cup wins (9.6%) ended level with the West Australian Schoolboys second placing at the national championship (9.6%). In fourth place was Nick Ward's runaway victory in the Gold Medal count (7.8%), with the stellar season of David Rodgers, the First Divisions' Player of the Year and leading goalscorer, not far behind (6.3%)
BANKS GLAD TO BE HOME
Sorrento have welcomed back club stalwart Stuart Banks after a two-year absence. Banks, who captained the Gulls to the Premier League title in 2001, has spent the past couple of years working in Sydney. But now he's back in the west there's only one club on the 28-year old's mind. "There was never any doubt over which club I was going to join," said Banks. "Being part of Sorrento is like being part of one big family and everyone who is part of the club is very passionate about seeing the club succeed both on and off the field. I'm looking forward to a new season with Sorrento and as always we'll be out to win as many trophies as we can."
Banks, who first played for the Gulls at the age of twelve, has figured prominently in every one of Sorrento's trophy successes. He was part of the squad which started 1999 by spectacularly winning the Night Series, and at the other end of the season Banks was outstanding in the 5-1 Champion of Champions Grand Final defeat of Western Knights. He captained Sorrento to their first and only Premier League title in 2001 and within twelve months had made his State debut in a friendly with Perth Glory. During his two years in New South Wales Banks turned out for Premier League outfits Manly and Canterbury.
SIX SHORT-LISTED FOR GLORY COACH
Former England internationals Terry Fenwick and John Hollins are in the frame to lead Perth Glory into the inaugural A-League season. The pair are understood to be amongst a group of six managers technical manager Mich d'Avray will put to the board for its consideration. "I've got six names and it's now a question of taking it to the next level," d'Avray told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "I'll speak to the chairman in the next few days and see what time frame we have to work with." Glory want the coaching job filled before the club's official re-launch in February but d'Avray believes there is a danger that some of the contenders might be tempted to take offers elsewhere if the club don't act quickly.
SWAN BANK ON YOUTH
Back-to-back Boral Cup winner Swan I.C. are aiming to build on their successes of the past couple of seasons through the implementation of a strong youth development policy. First team coach Gary Marocchi, a former Australia international, was delighted with the progress made in the area of youth development this year which saw the likes of Danyal Bennett and Daniel Knox step up to senior ranks. "I've always said if they're good enough they will play in the first team whatever their age," commented Marocchi. "We work closely with the Under-18 and Under-21 coaches and bring on players we believe can step up to the first team."
Marocchi singled out for praise the black and whites youth team which last year ended the regular season in fifth place then edged their way past Fremantle City, Perth S.C. and table toppers E.C.U. Joondalup to make the play-off decider. Unfortunately, the mountain proved too high for Swan to climb and Sorrento took out the Grand Final in a penalty shoot-out by 5-2. "Mauro Marchione and the boys performed well to reach the top five and were the only club to go through the finals without conceding a goal in open play," said Marocchi. "A number of those players have since been rewarded with places in Swan's inaugural youth development squad."
With Swan about to commence their pre-season, Marocchi is hopeful of further strengthening his squad by welcoming up to four newcomers to the Swan Valley. "We've been professional about our talks with number of players," explained Marocchi who was coy when it came to naming names. "They are all quality Premier League players which I believe will greatly improve our squad." The Swan coach is also looking forward to the return from long-term injury of versatile defender Christian Marocchi (knee reconstruction) and former State midfielder Gary Andrews (oestitus pubis).
GLORY SIGN EUROPEAN GOALKEEPER
Perth Glory has signed an international goalkeeper capable of replacing Jason Petkovic. Although Petkovic remains the clubs prime target, chairman Nick Tana yesterday announced Glory had secured Serbia and Montenegro youth international Milan Jovanic at the recommendation of former Socceroo coach Frank Arok. Tana expects Jovanic to be a reserve goalkeeper but was inclined to believe Arok's claim that the 19-year old had the ability to be a first team regular. "We've secured a back-up ... we're in a safety position now," Tana said. "We've got a player who can go to the next level." Arok, who was Glory's development coach for two years, said Jovanic was just 17 when he started playing for second division side Veternik. "Never in my life have I seen a kid as cool as him," Arok said. "I think he's going to be something." He said Jovanic had been a reserve keeper at first division Obilic and had played about twenty games for Serbia and Montenegro's national under-17 and under-20 teams.
DANZE DEBUTS FOR DONS
Milton Keynes Dons have completed the signing of Anthony Danze on a one month loan from fellow Londoners Crystal Palace. The 20-year old midfielder made his debut for the Dons in yesterday's 0-3 loss to Doncaster Rovers. Danze signed for Palace following the Athens Olympic Games and over the past three months has featured regularly for their second string. The former Perth Glory player hopes to gain valuable first team experience while with the struggling Football League One club.
SURVIVAL THE TARGET SAYS BIRMINGHAM'S LAZARIDIS
Stan Lazaridis is insists securing Premiership survival is the Birmingham City's primary goal this season. While Blues manager Steve Bruce remains confident his side can improve upon last season's tenth placing, Lazaridis is adopting a more cautious approach. "I don't want to be talking about Europe now to be honest," said the Australian international. "I think we need another couple of wins to consolidate mid-table and then we'll make a decision after that about our goals. Realistically we've probably under-achieved a little bit in terms of the fans expectations and the two last games with Villa and Albion are more like what the fans want to see. At the moment our expectations are just to consolidate mid-table and then how quickly you can get up to that 40-point barrier. Once you can get up to that, basically make sure you are safe, then you can see what games you've got left and go on from there."
The 'staff' of www.soccerwa.com would like to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas, a joyous New Year and most importantly a safe holiday period. We'll be taking a short break over the next couple of weeks but will be back early in 2005 with all the latest on soccer in Western Australia.
FARIA HOME TO ROOST
Gary Faria's career has gone full circle with his signing for Cockburn City. The dynamic midfielder played his junior years at Dalmatinac Park before embarking on a successful career that took him into the national league with Perth Glory. "It's great to have Gary back at the club," said vice-president Frank Da Silva. "He's is a quality player and will be a very good acquisition for Cockburn." After graduating from Cockburn's junior set-up Faria spent three years at Fremantle City with whom he won the 1998 Rookie of the Year. Two years later he signed for Glory and over the next four and a half seasons made 79 appearances at national league level. His ability to play in defence, central midfield or wide on the right made the 25-year old an integral part of Fremantle's first eleven over the recent winter months.
PLAYER CONTRACTS REMAIN BINDING
Player contracts signed prior to the formation of the Western Australian Soccer Association will remain valid into next season and beyond. WASA chief executive officer Michelle Phillips recently wrote to all clubs confirming existing contracts are binding under the new administration. "The contract is between the club and the player," explained Phillips. "However, the standard terms and conditions on the back of the contract refer to the Professional Soccer Federation. As such all references to the previous association must be replaced by WASA who will run all competitions in 2005."
To facilitate this WASA requests both player and club sign a Deed of Variation which replaces references to the PSF (trading as Soccer West Coast) with the new association. "WASA wants to ensure the organisation and soccer in WA is professional and transparent hence the Deed of Variation is required," continued Phillips. "WASA asks that all clubs and players sign this deed at their earlier possible time." Copies of the Deed of Variation document have been distributed amongst local clubs.
A player who does not complete a Deed of Variation will still remain contracted to his club under Clause 5.3.1 of the Standard Terms and Conditions found on the back of playing contracts. This states "The player agrees that he must ... use all reasonable endeavours to play to the best of his skill and ability in all soccer matches or PSF fixture matches in which he is selected to play for the club." WASA scheduled games fit within the term 'all soccer matches' which does not limit fixtures to only those of the PSF.
DANSKIN BECOMES PERTH'S THIRD MAJOR RECRUIT
Australian youth international Matt Danskin is the latest addition to the Perth S.C. camp. Danskin, who returned to Fremantle City last season following two years with German club Werder Bremen, this week signed a two-year contract with the Blues much to the delight of coach Graham Normanton. "He's a quality player whose represented Australia at under-20 level and we are delighted to secure Matt's services through to the end of 2006," said Normanton. "The squad is taking good shape at the moment, although we haven't finished recruiting just yet." 19-year old Danskin is the third player to join Perth in recent weeks behind former Perth Glory midfielder Antonio Naglieri and lively left-sided midfielder Jeff Bright.
CARLO SCALI SIGNS OFF
The phrase 'legend' is often bandied about, but when it comes to Swan I.C. stalwart Carlo Scali never has a more fitting term been applied. The 33-year old this week announced his retirement from the game after a seventeen, 450 plus game career. Swan were in the Third Division when Scali joined and in the intervening years he's experienced the joys of promotion and despair of relegation in addition to two magnificent Boral Cup final victories. His crowning achievement arrived in 2001 when Scali was awarded the Gold Medal, an honour he added to the First Division Player of the Year awards he collected in 1998 and 1999.
Scali began his career as a junior for Swan United and represented West Australia at Under-14 level. Although it was half his lifetime ago, Scali still remembers fondly the first time he wore Swan's familiar black and white strip at senior level, against Whitford City in 1987, at the age of sixteen. "I was nervous and only touched the ball five times in the whole game," he reminisced. "But my shot wasn't held by the goalkeeper and we scored from the rebound. I was awarded man of the match but I think they were just being nice to a young kid."
There have been plenty of highs for Scali in seventeen seasons at Swan. "I have a lot of great memories," he commented. "Looking back I think winning back-to-back Boral Cups is up there amongst the highlights, and winning the Gold Medal as the Premier League's fairest and best in 2000 also stands out". When asked about his the most memorable game Scali was hardly hesitated in answering. "The Boral Cup final last year against Perth S.C. was magnificent. We were down to ten men and under the pump, but it was a great spirited team performance and first major trophy for the club".
Scali laid the groundwork for his ongoing involvement in the game last year by assisting Swan coach Gary Marocchi, a role he'll continue into 2005. "I'm definitely looking forward to working with Gary," Scali commented. "His experience, level of professionalism and results speak for themselves." And while he won't be running out with the team every Saturday, Scali plans to remain part of the Swan squad. "I aim to remain fit and contribute at training were I can. I'll miss is being part of the side and playing with a great bunch of guys, but hopefully I'll pass some of my experience on to the younger guys."
STAR STRIKER LASHES GLORY
Just hours after being unveiled as one of four 'new' signings by Perth Glory, star striker Bobby Despotovski has lashed out at the national league champions. The former Socceroo labeled Glory's handling of contract negotiations with Scott Miller, Jamie Harnwell, Matt Horsley and himself as unprofessional and questioned why the club deal with the quartet as a group and not individually. "I've been playing professionally for sixteen years and I've never been dealt with like this," he said. Despotovski was also incensed by the fact he had not been given the opportunity to discuss the terms of his new deal one-on-one with chairman Nick Tana. As a consequence he feels he had not got the best deal, "I don't think any of us got what we deserve," he stated.
Tana was surprised to hear that Despotovski had been unhappy with the dealings and said the striker was entitled to his opinion. "At no stage did I refuse to speak with anyone individually," said the chairman. "We can't be mind readers ... if they have an issue they need to bring it up." But Tana said further negotiations would not have resulted in a better deal for Despotovski. "It's what we can afford," he said. "The salary cap is a mongrel that we have to work with." The Australian Soccer Association have imposed a $1.5 million salary cap for the inaugural A-League season to prevent clubs from getting into financial difficulties. Salaries in the old National Soccer League were not restricted and Glory were amongst the competitions biggest spenders.
HARNWELL WITHIN DAYS OF MOVING ON
The offer of a new Perth Glory contract almost came too late for Jamie Harnwell. The popular defender said the club's delay almost saw him move elsewhere following interest from interstate and Singapore. "I was seriously considering moving on - a day or two either way and things might have been different, but that is the way things work in soccer, or football I should say," he explained. Harnwell was one of four players to re-sign with Glory yesterday, the others being Scott Miller, Bobby Despotovski and Matt Horsley. "The three other players that we have signed are the heart and soul of this club, and have been (part) of the best team in the old national league for the past three or four years. These signings are the most significant the club has made so far."
COACH NEXT ON D'AVRAY'S AGENDA
With eleven players signed up Mich d'Avray's focus will now turn to finding a coach to mould the new-look Perth Glory squad. "I am hoping to have a shortlist of four or five names early in the New Year. I would hope (the decision) would be made sooner rather than later," said the clubs' technical manager Mich d'Avray. "It is important to get your coach sorted out because he might have different ideas."
LOCAL HEROES CONTINUE WITH GLORY
Crowd favourites Scott Miller, Bobby Despotovski, Jamie Harnwell and Matt Horsley have each committed to continuing their careers with Perth Glory when the A-League kicks off next year. "They are heroes, they are leaders and I see them playing a very important role in the upcoming A-League," said technical manager Mich d'Avray of the quartet. Miller, Despotovski and Harnwell have been key figures in the club's three regular season National Soccer League titles as well as the back-to-back Grand Final successes of 2003 and 2004. Horsley, who signed for Glory in 2001, is a national league legend with close to 350 appearances to his name. The quartet take to eleven the number of players signed by Glory so far.
For Miller and Despotovski, sole surviving members of Glory's inaugural squad, next season will be their ninth summer with the club. Miller spent time with Morwell Falcons before joining Glory in 1996. The 32-year old defender has 260 outings in the national league to his name and was voted the clubs Most Glorious Player for season 2002/03. Through spells with Heidelburg United, Morwell Falcons and Glory Despotovki has played 236 games in the domestic competition. The 33-year old striker is Glory's highest ever goalscorer and record appearance maker, and on three occasions has won the Most Glorious Player award.
Harnwell has been the cornerstone of the Glory defence since he stepped up from State League ranks in 1998. The big 27-year old has chalked up 146 appearances for the club, a tally which includes both Grand Finals wins over Sydney Olympic and Parramatta Power. A veteran of fourteen seasons in the national league, Horsley's total of 347 games for Wollongong Wolves and Glory make him one of the Australia's most experienced players. A fans favourite on both sides of the continent the tireless 32-year old has tasted Grand Final victory on four occasions, twice with each the Wolves and Glory.
HOWELLS HELP MARTYRS TO TOP
There's been no let up for Lee Howells since his recall to the Merthyr Tydfil line-up at the start of the month. The veteran midfielder, absent for much of November through injury, has been a key figure for the Martyrs who extended their lead in England's Southern League Premier Division on the weekend. Howells' made his return to duty in the 2-0 home defeat of Hitchin Town which was followed four days later by a surprise away loss to Aylesbury United. Next up was an away trip to Hednesford over whom the Merthyr triumphed 2-1, while on Saturday they extracted revenge on Aylesbury by 2-0. At the halfway stage of the season the Martyrs top the table five points ahead of nearest rival Chippenham Town. In a English league career Howells, born in Fremantle, made over 450 first team appearances for Cheltenham Town before joining Merthyr in February.
PETKOVIC CONSIDERS OPTIONS
The future of Australian international Jason Petkovic could well be decided later this week. In town for the mid-season break in the Turkish Super League, the former Perth Glory shot-stopper will meet with manager Simmon Sardelic to discuss playing options for next season. It is understood Petkovic has before him offers to play in the A-League with Glory and Adelaide United while a contract extension from Konyaspor, for whom he's played the past four months, is also expected to be on the table. Petkovic made over 300 appearances for Glory and Adelaide City in the old national competition in which he kept a record 115 clean sheets and was on three occasions named Goalkeeper of the Year.
SOCCER, A THING OF THE PAST?
The state's governing body, the Western Australian Soccer Association, are considering a change of name. Last week the Australian Soccer Association announced that, as of 1st January, they will become known as the Football Federation of Australia. And WASA are prepared to follow suit should the move meet with the approval of local stakeholders. "We would be looking to move in the same direction as the ASA," said Michelle Phillips, WASA chief executive officer. "We've had a lot of conversations ... there seems to be a push in favour of changing the name."
PLAYERS UNION ACTS FOR SACKED GLORY SKIPPER (by Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian")
The Australian Soccer Association has been asked by the players union to investigate Perth Glory's dumping of former Socceroo Shaun Murphy midway through a two-year deal. The 34-year old defender played just one season with Glory, who he captained to the national league title, before being told recently he did not feature in the clubs plans for the new A-League which kicks off in August. Though player contracts relating to the now defunct National Soccer League were generally considered void, Murphy's deal was believed to contain a clause relating to a new competition.
Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Rob Anderson said ideally the situation would be resolved between Murphy and the club but the matter had been referred to the governing body. The PFA sent a letter to the Glory a week ago, asking the club to reconsider its position, but is yet to receive a response. "We've forwarded the matter to the ASA for their consideration," said Anderson, who would not reveal details of the case. "We believe a dispute committee needs to be constructed in order to deal with this matter. Preferably, we would've liked Shaun to have the opportunity to sit down with the club to negotiate but as it stands at the moment, he hasn't had a response."
Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis said the club intended acting on the letter from the PFA but he would not elaborate. Anderson said yesterday that the absence of a collective bargaining agreement relating to the new competition made it difficult to know how the case would progress. If a resolution is not reached, the matter could end up in court. Murphy was considered too old to play a role for Glory in the new eight-team competition, in which squads will be limited to twenty players. But Murphy, who played twenty times for Australia and also represented the nation at the 1992 Olympics, was ready to play on for another season, at least.
WASA OVERWHELMED BY CLUBS’ RESPONSE
Michelle Phillips, chief executive officer of the Western Australian Soccer Association, has been pleased by the rate at which clubs have become affiliated with the new controlling body. “The response we’ve received from the soccer community to be honest has been overwhelming,” commented Phillips this week. In the five weeks since clubs were supplied affiliation packages over eighty individual clubs - comprising men’s, women’s and junior teams - have signed up for season 2005. Amongst this number are all twenty-four men’s teams who competed this year in the top flight competitions of Soccer West Coast and WAASSA.
“Clubs want soccer to become a leading sport in Western Australia and have recognised how important unification and affiliation are to achieving this goal,” added Phillips, who looks at WA’s entry into the Rugby 14 competition as a perfect example of what is possible. “I was inspired last week when I witnessed the incredible power of unification and community that culminated in a win for rugby. The power of a single, strong and united community is something to be reckoned with. As a united force soccer too can look toward fantastic opportunities for players, for competition, for the game and for the future.”
“The big items for WASA in 2005 are organising competitions and then the formulation of a state development and education plan,” continued the chief executive. “Based on the information available and the number of teams who competed last season, the majority of clubs have already affiliated. Based on available information and teams fielded, we already have 80% of juniors, 90% of semi-professionals, 75% of women and more than 60% of amateur, of social and of masters. However, there will be little reprieve over the Christmas season as we’ll continue to work on affiliation, and focus on getting ready for the new season.”
In order to accommodate those clubs who are yet to decide where their futures lie WASA have extended their affiliation deadlines. “It’s most important clubs have sufficient information to make an informed decision,” explained Phillips. “They need to be well informed and so we have extended the deadline for those clubs that need a little more time. Accordingly, team entry for the Sunday State League and Premier League is open until 22nd December; women’s, social and masters until 10th January ; and youth until 14th February. We’ll work one-on-one with any clubs that still have queries over the next few weeks because its important we achieve the unification that is fundamental in taking the game forward.”
PERFECT END TO MEMORABLE TWELVE MONTHS FOR WARD
A place in the Australian squad for next years World Youth Championship qualifiers is the icing on the cake of a fantastic year for local youngster Nick Ward. The gifted 19-year old is the only West Australian in the 20-player Young Socceroo squad for next months qualifying series in the Soloman Islands. However, Fremantle City midfielder Matt Danskin was named as one of four standby players and may yet join Ward in Honiara. The Australian Under-20's are scheduled to meet New Caledonia, Tonga and Vanuatu in Group A with the top two teams progressing to the round of four. The tournament winner will represent the region at June's FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands
It's been an amazing twelve months for Ward who this time last year was without a club. Fresh from a spell at the Australian Institute of Sport, the teenager joined with Perth Glory in January and not long after made his national league debut in the home win over Northern Spirit. After agreeing to spend the winter with Stirling Lions Ward headed to Europe with the Young Socceroo's where his strong work ethic captured the attention of national selectors. At club level his inventiveness earned Ward the prestigious Gold Medal as the state's best and fairest player for 2004. Last month he was again traveling with the national Under-20 squad, this time to South America, and earlier this week Ward inked a new contract with Glory to become their first local recruit for the inaugural A-League season.
SPONSORS GET BEHIND ARMADALE
First Division champion Armadale are taking all the right steps to ensure their stay in the top flight goes well beyond next year. BGC Blockpave, Harvey Norman and Collex are just some of the big name companies to pledge their support to the Reds in the past few weeks for season 2005. "We are delighted with the response that we are receiving from the community," explained development manager Anton Coates. Recently confirmed as the clubs major sponsor, Blockpave will once again provide all on and off field equipment for the first team. "Blockpave had no hesitation in renewing their sponsorship with us as support from our members was beyond their expectations. Record donations were received by the club for season 2004 and we are well on our way to fulfilling our budgeted target for 2005. We have been planning for promotion to the Premier League for sometime and have outlined our objectives and how they can be achieved through implementation of our Development Plan." Armadale City Council have also come on board by pledging support for the club primarily in regard to ground improvements.
FIRST DIVISION INVITED TO JOIN WASA COMMITTEE (courtesy www.wasa.org.au)
The Western Australian Soccer Association would like to hear from representatives from the First Division interested in sitting on the Interim Standing Committee for semi-professional men. Two positions exist on the committee for individuals with experience in and knowledge of the First Division. The role of the committee includes the provision of advice to WASA on measures to promote, develop and improve soccer in WA as well as the application of rules, programs and competitions. The two new appointees will join Jason Charles, Don Evans, Peter Koulizos, Denis McInerney, John Quigley, Kerry Slater and Nick Rotondella on the committee. Expressions of interest must be received by 30th December and sent to Administration Co-ordinator Angela Murphy by faxing 9271 7299 or post to WASA, PO Box 214, Maylands, WA 6931.
FRESH CHALLENGE AWAITS ZUVELA
One of the state's best young defenders, Ivan Zuvela, has agreed terms with Victorian Premier League club the Melbourne Knights. The talented 22-year old has been a regular fixture of the Western Knights rearguard since making his first team debut in 2001 and feels the time is now ripe for a new challenge. "I'm out of contract with the Knights and was keen on trying my luck in Melbourne," explained Zuvela. "I called the club up and they asked me over to trial a few weeks ago. The coach liked what he saw and asked me back for the new season which starts at the end of January." A product of his clubs youth system, Zuvela twice travelled to France with the State Under-19 side and in 2002 gained senior State selection for the first time.
NORMANTON ADDS BRIGHT TO PERTH STABLE
Graham Normanton's plans to return Perth S.C. to the top of the Premier League continued to take shape this week with the signing of highly-rated teenager Jeff Bright. The 19-year old agreed terms on a two-year contract to become Perth's second major recruit of the off-season after midfielder Antonio Naglieri. "I believe Perth are going to be a force again within the next five years and I really want to be apart of it all," said Bright. "My goal is to be part of a championship winning team at Perth and with the players we have I think we'll be real a contender in 2005."
Bright's philosophy is simple - "To be the best you have to play with the best. The set-up at Dorrien Gardens is fantastic, their coaches are superb and it's going to be an honour for me to play alongside some of the state's most talented players." Bright is expected to fill the left midfield role vacated recently by Todd Howarth who departs early in the new year for England. A State junior representative, Bright has been a regular fixture on the local scene since making his first team debut for Cockburn City in 2001. State Schoolboys and senior honours followed before he sought greener pastures last season at Fremantle City.
JUNIORS INVITED TO SUMMER CLINIC
The Junior Soccer Association's annual Harvey Fresh Summer Development Program swings into action early in the new year. The six-week program, conducted each weekend at locations across the metropolitan area, is open to male and female players aged seven to ten. The focus of the course is on general skill development and the $85.00 registration fee ($92.00 for non-JSA members) ensures all participants receive an Umbro soccer ball and a Harvey Fresh t-shirt. For more information or to register for the Harvey Fresh Summer Development Program visit the Junior Soccer Association website or contact the organisation on 9271 7677.
MARINERS REEL IN MRDJA
Grand Final hero Nick Mrdja signed a three-year deal with Central Coast Mariners after knocking back an offer to re-join Perth Glory. Mrdja, whose extra-time goal against Parramatta Power secured the final National Soccer League championship for Glory in April, was trumpeted yesterday as a major piece of arsenal in the Mariners title ambitions. "We see him as the main striker here," Laurie McKinna, Mariners coach, said yesterday. "There's a limited amount of strikers going around and he is one of the best in Australia." Although used only sporadically by Glory last season, Mrdja found the net on thirteen occasions during the regular season to claim third place on the leading goalscorer charts.
Mrdja said unlike Glory, the Mariners had considered him a high-priority target which was reflected in the offer put before him. "It made me feel that's where I should be," he said of the offer. "At the end of the day, my heart's still in Perth, but I'm looking forward to playing for Central Coast." Another factor in Mrdja's decision was the impressive squad the Mariner's are currently assembling which he feels will have the club challenging for honours in its first season. "They are building a good squad and as a striker you need the service if you're going to score goals," he said. Amongst the Mariners recruits are Mrdja's former Glory teammates Tom Pondeljak and Andre Gumprecht who'll be run the midfield for the Gosford-based club.
WARD SNAPPED UP BY GLORY
Australian youth international Nick Ward and experienced defender Ante Kovacevic and have been unveiled as Perth Glory's latest signings. 19-year old Ward played locally for E.C.U. Joondalup and Future Glory before coming to the attention of national selectors last year while at the Australian Insitutute of Sport. He made a couple of appearances for Perth Glory last season and on his return to the local scene during the winter took out the Gold Medal while wearing the colours of Stirling Lions. "We are delighted to have signed such a talented player that is a product of the local system," said Glory's technical manager Mich D'Avray.
Kovacevic, 30, amassed 244 National Soccer League games in spells at Melbourne Knights, where he won two championships, Adelaide City and South Melbourne. He spent the past season in Malaysia where he featured regularly for Selangor. The recruitment of Ward and Kovacevic, who both put pen to paper on one-year deals, takes Glory's new-look squad to seven players. Stuart Young, Wollongong Wolves' all-time leading goalscorer, became the clubs first signing for the upcoming A-League season last month ago. Since then Glory have added Hiroyuki Ishida, Daniel Vasilevski, Henry Fa'Arodo and Naum Sekulovski.
ROCKINGHAM RE-APPOINT RUSSELL
The familiar face of Billy Russell will lead Rockingham City into season 2005. Russell was part of the successful Rockingham squad of the late 1990's which culminated in the club gaining promotion to the top flight in 1999. "We're really pleased to have Billy back with us," said club president Brian Hallums today. "He's got a great track record in the First Division. He was player/coach of Rockingham when we gained promotion to the Premier League in 1999 and for the past few years has been with Armadale who he lead to the First Division championship this year. With Billy at the helm we're looking forward to a solid 2005 campaign and, with someone of his calibre in charge, maybe we can even lure a few more players to our club."
NEW TEAM PART OF MANDURAH'S PLANS
First Division high flyers Mandurah City have some big plans for 2005 in celebration of their 35th birthday. Work will commence on new facilities at the clubs home ground of Peelwood Parade Reserve, they'll compete in the league's of the Western Australian Soccer Association as the game enter a new era, and there are plans for their on-field endeavours to take them all the way in to the Premier League. Club president John Fitzmaurice this week gave Mandurah a flying start towards meeting that final goal with the announcement of a new look coaching team for 2005.
Dual premiership player and Mandurah City stalwart Sean Kearns will take over the reigns as first team coach and club. Kearns' has considerable experience in the game having achieved league and cup glory with Mandurah and Murdoch University as both a player and coach. Russell Plowman has been appointed reserve team coach, while Paul O'Brien and Chris Platt will be in charge of the clubs under-18 side. This group will be complemented by specialist goalkeeping coach Del Clayton who experience includes spells in the junior academies of London clubs Milwall and Queens Park Rangers. Bruce Donaghy will provide logistics support to the coaches for season 2005.
END NEARS FOR SWC
Soccer West Coasts' days running the semi-professional game are drawing to a close. Last Wednesday the organisation's board took the dramatic step of agreeing to immediately suspend trading of SWC. "This decision has not been taken lightly, however the board has a duty to ensure our trading capacity," explained vice-president Jason Charles in a letter to club presidents. Early next year the member clubs will be asked to vote at an Extraordinary General Meeting on whether the organisation, who've run the semi-professional game since 1996, should be wound-up. With the majority of clubs having already aligned themselves with the Western Australia Soccer Association, the motion is expected to receive close to unanimous support.
PARTICK FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL SAYS MADASCHI (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Adrian Madaschi says Partick Thistle's players are determined to wipe out last week's 0-4 thrashing by St Johnstone with victory over Clyde this Saturday. "We've discussed our situation this week at training," said the Australian defender. "The lads know we've put the jobs of Derek Whyte and Gerry Britton on the line after our disappointing run and we're determined to put things right this weekend. Every player here wants to stop this free fall - it might be ugly on Saturday, but we're not going to leave the pitch without having given absolutely 100 per cent ... Hopefully the Saints result proves a watershed. We have to get our heads down and fight for this club to get ourselves out of this mess." Partick are currently placed eighth in the ten-team Scottish First Division.
MAGPIES SIGN PETTERSON
Journeyman Andy Petterson has signed non-contract forms with English League Two outfit Notts County. The 35-year old goalkeeper will act as cover for regular shot-stopper Saul Deeney and back-up Wayne Henderson, an Under-21 international for the Republic of Ireland. Fremantle-born Petterson has worn the club colours of Portsmouth, Charlton Athletic, Ipswich Town and Luton Town amongst others in a professional career spanning sixteen years.
MATASSA LASHES OUT AT GLORY
Goalkeeper Vince Matassa has fired a scathing parting shot at Perth Glory after rejecting an offer to stay with the club for the inaugural A-League season. Matassa, a former Australian youth international, blasted the clubs poor treatment of players. "The club must realise that success is reliant on making players feel valued, and time and time again over the years the club has got it horribly wrong," said Matassa. He was particularly critical of Glory's decision not to fly injured stalwarts Scott Miller and Matt Horsley to Melbourne to watch last seasons grand final after they had contributed so much to the club.
But the proverbial straw which broke the camels back for Matassa was the club's hesitancy in offering players loyal to Glory new contracts. "The offer from the club to me is too little too late in a sense," said Matassa who spent four years on Glory's books. "I needed to make a decision two months ago and it has just dragged on for too long." Matassa's departure leaves Glory searching for two goalkeepers, although they have not given up hope of re-signing Turkey-based Jason Petkovic. The club are reportedly talking with four players in regards to the two vacant goalkeeping positions.
CLUBS VOICE SUPPORT FOR UNIFICATION
Several prominent members of the local soccer community have voiced their support for the work being undertaken by the Western Australian Soccer Association. In the six months since WASA came into existence, the state's new governing body have been responsible for a major overhaul of the game's administration with the end result being the various associations - men's, women's, juniors, futsal, referees and coaches - all joining forces under the one umbrella organisation. The process of unification has received a resounding thumbs up from the majority and, by adopting a coordinated approach to marketing and publicity, WASA aim is to lift the profile and standard of the code in WA.
One of the first teams to put their hand up for a place in the new league were WAASSA Premier League champion Shamrock Rovers. "The league structures look good," commented first team coach Nik Silsby. "Shamrock have applied to go into the Sunday State League as I want my players to compete at the highest possible level they can, and with University of WA, Hamersley Rovers and Spearwood Dalmatinac already committed the high standard of the 'amateur' league will continue. WASA seem to be very organised and forward thinking - unlike previous administrations - and I have to admit to being impressed by Michelle Phillips and her attitude towards making football (soccer) the number one sport in WA. The benefits of having one organisation look after the clubs and players is obvious, the opportunity for ambitious clubs to progress is great, and an FA Cup style competition is fantastic. We are very happy with the direction being taken by WASA."
Under no illusions that the way forward is through WASA is Bill Easton, president of First Division champion Armadale. "To be honest I've not had as much time as I'd like to look over what has been put forward by WASA," said the Reds president. "But as a club we are in favour of reformation and unification and for us there really wasn't much of a decision to make. WASA are the FIFA representative in Western Australia and for Armadale not to join WASA would have been unthinkable. There are so many benefits to be had by bringing together all the associations and I find it difficult to believe some clubs are fighting so strongly against what is happening. This should be a time when all the clubs are pulling together to work towards the common good and ensure the future success of our game ... and that is a future that Armadale want to be part of."
John Fitzmaurice, president of Mandurah City, is another impressed by the action's of WASA. "It's a breath of fresh air and has been a long time coming," said Fitzmaurice. "It is so good to see people at the top level of soccer who haven't got a vested interest in any club and therefore can be more objective with where we're at as a sport and the way forward. There is no doubt that the new regime has given a more professional look to our administration and the flow-in effect of this is increased potential for funding from State and Federal Governments as well as local sponsors. The league structure as outlined by WASA looks like a good starting point and one from which the game can progress. It would be fantastic if the set-up was perfect from day one but the reality is there are always bugs to be ironed out and I hope WASA and the clubs are flexible enough to accept and work through any teething problems."
Perth S.C. coach Graham Normanton is a long standing critic of previous administrators and sees WASA as the way forward. "It is has been a long time coming but the unification of the game can only be a huge boost for it," he said. "One body running the whole game means that the game can move in a direction that will benefit all the members and stop clubs from making negative decisions in order to protect their own interests. With previous administrations decisions were made on the run, then they'd be changed and rules broken with the Board unwilling to step in. My hope is the new WASA Board will raise standards and make clubs think and adopt a more professional approach. Any organisation needs quality leadership which has the strength, determination and vision to it to the next level in spite of pressures from those who may be adversely affected by change. This should be an era to which all the participants and supporters can look forward with pride. We have a good product and we need to market and promote it as such."
BLUES MISS LAZARIDIS (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce is looking forward to the return of Australian international Stan Lazaridis. The talented left-sided player has been plagued by injury over the opening months of the English season but is now ready to go, much to the joy of Bruce. "Stan is one of the players we have missed this season and since I have been here I think he has been responsible for more assists than anyone else," he said. "He was not even a regular in the side in the promotion season but has developed into a consistent performer for us over the last two or three years. Stan has been unfortunate with the injuries he has sustained this season and it seems that every time we have an international week one of our players gets injured - and last time it was Stan." Lazaridis' latest injury was picked up while representing Australia against Norway last month.
SOCCEROOS BOUND FOR PERTH?
The Australian Soccer Association visit town tomorrow to discuss the possibility of Perth hosting a full senior international early next year. John O'Sullivan, the ASA's manager of commercial media, will meet with representatives of EventsCorp to consider Perth as the venue for the Australia-Iraq friendly in March. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are also in the running to host the fixture which will feature a full strength Socceroo line-up. Perth has not hosted a senior international since 1995 when Australia met Ghana at the WACA Ground. Should the game go to one of the cities on the eastern seaboard, Perth will then be considered for a Socceroos match in October, most likely against China.
THREE SIGN ON FOR GLORY
It's been a busy week for Perth Glory who've added midfielders Daniel Vasilevski and Naum Sekolovski along with Soloman Islands international Henry Fa'arodo to their ranks. Vasilevski, a former Australian Under-20 representative, has 103 national league appearances to his credit for Melbourne Knights and Carlton. Sekolovski played on 67 occasions for Morwell Falcons, Wollongong Wolves and Parramatta Power while Fa'arodo, eighth in the 2003 Oceania Footballer of the Year, played on 32 occasions for the Knights.
The national league champions are also confirmed they are in discussion with five of their longest-serving players. One-time Australian internationals Bobby Despotovski and Scott Miller, midfielder Matt Horsley, defender Jamie Harnwell and shot-stopper Vince Matassa - who have a combined total of 646 appearances for Glory - have been offered terms by the club. However, the quintet are understood to be far from pleased with the one year deals put before them and may be chose to pursue offers from interstate and abroad.
ARMADALE GIVE COACHING REIGNS TO MURPHY
Recently promoted Armadale have named former State representative Peter Murphy as first team coach for 2005. Murphy joins the Reds only days after championship winning coach Billy Russell shocked the club by tendering his resignation. "Billy Russell did an outstanding job in his four years at the club," said Armadale president Bill Easton this week. "What he achieved for Armadale will never be forgotten, he was the best motivator and coach we've ever had and Billy will always be welcome at the club. But when it became apparent we wouldn't change his mind we had to move fast and we believe Peter Murphy has the credentials and desire to ensure Armadale's future success. Everyone at the club is delighted that Peter as accepted the coaching position and we're looking forward to working with him."
Murphy, born in Scotland, made his State League debut in 1984 for East Fremantle Tricolore and quickly established himself as a lethal goalscorer. A couple of seasons at Floreat Athena preceded his signing for Perth Italia where, in 1990, he equalled the state record of nine goals in his clubs 10-1 defeat of Kwinana United. At the age of 33 Murphy became the first Swan I.C. player to take out the Golden Boot courtesy of a 17-goal haul in 1995, and the following year he netted twice in Stirling Macedonia's D'Orsogna Cup Final win over Sorrento. Murphy ended his playing career in the late 1990's with a couple of seasons at Fremantle City. His first coaching appointment was with Canning City while most recently Murphy was in charge of the State Under-19 side that twice defeated the Victorian Institute of Sport earlier this year.
WILSON STARS FOR YOUNG ADDICKS
Former Sorrento junior Fred Wilson was the star performer when Charlton Athletic's Under-18's defeated Millwill on the weekend. The 19-year old's silky skills gave the Addicks academy team the advantage in midfield and proved crucial in the sides sixth consecutive victory. Having gone close to scoring twice himself, Wilson provided the cross for teammate Onome Sodje on nod in the games only goal after 71 minutes. Since joining Charlton in mid-2002 Wilson has made close to seventy youth and reserve team appearances for his club.
GLORY 'FISHING TRIP' FOR LOCAL PRODUCTS
Perth Glory are hoping to lure Jamie Coyne and David Tarka back home in time for the start of the A-League. Chairman Nick Tana confirmed the club were interested in the pair despite Coyne and Tarka being under contract to ADO Den Haag (Netherlands) and Nottingham Forest (England) respectively. However, the likelihood of either player re-signing with Glory is remote as long as the opportunity exists to pursue a professional career in Europe exists.
A dual championship winner with Glory, Coyne inked a two-year deal with Den Haag in August. While he's made only scattered first team appearances, the versatile 23-year old is rarely out of the match day squad and features regularly for the reserves. It's a similar situation for Tarka, 21, who left Glory after two seasons to link up with Forest in late 2003. The Australian youth international is yet to make his first team debut but is a regular fixture at the back for the second string.
INTEREST SOUGHT FOR AMATUER'S COMMITTEE (courtesy www.wasa.org.au)
The Western Australian Soccer Association are seeking expressions of interest for three positions on their amateur men's Interim Standing Committee. While experience and skills at club and amateur levels will be considered, membership of the committee is open to the wider community to ensure it is well rounded. The role of the standing committee includes the provision of advice and recommendations to WASA on measures to promote, develop and improve the amateurs game in WA, and the consistent application of rules, programs and competitions. For more information on the Interim Standing Committee for amateur men visit the WASA website.
ON THIS DAY ... 1992
The Australian Under-20 team defeated the might of Brazil 1-0 in the D'Orsogna International Cup in front of a full house at Fremantle Oval on Saturday 5th December, 1992. Balmy conditions and a carnivale-like atmosphere created by the 10,000 plus crowd tended to point towards a win by the South Americans, but instead they played second fiddle to a stylist Young Socceroo line-up for whom victory was orchestrated by man-of-the-match Tony Carbone. In fact the Australian line-up had a very strong local flavour with Carbone, Vince Matassa, Marc Wingell and Vas Kalogeracos all playing major roles in a superbly disciplined performance.
Australia came out firing on all cylinders and quickly showed the visitors that they meant business. Early on Kalogeracos looked set to open the Young Socceroo's account only to be thwarted by Dida who is regarded as the best international goalkeeper to emerge from Brazil in the past twenty years. The Brazilians were stunned at Australia's attacking start and for much of the first half produced of the skill or creativity that they are renown for. The hosts continued to go on the offensive and their next chance came the way of Jim Tsekinis who was quickly closed down the by the 'keeper after breaking clear of the defence and shot wide of the target. Later in the half Dida spread himself to again deny Kalogeracos and keep the two sides on level terms at the interval.
It was a dream international debut for Richard Alagich who entered the action at half-time. Urged to get forward early and try to expose a tiring Brazilian defence, the South Australian teenager scored with his first touch less than a minute after the re-start. The South Americas dug deep in an effort to get back on level terms only to be thwarted time and time again by the defensive quartet of Carbone, Wingell, Craig Moore and Kevin Muscat. Only substitute Savio managed to wriggle through and get in a shot at goalkeeper Matassa who little more than a spectator for much of the contest. "It was a disciplined performance and we stuck rigidly to our game plan," said an elated coach Les Scheinflug after the game. "We kept them under pressure in the first half and our defence coped magnificently when the Brazilians tried to get back in the game."
MURPHY HOPES TO PLAY ON
Shaun Murphy wants to continue his career in Australia's elite competition. The former Perth Glory captain initially thought his playing days were over when told he was not required by the club on Thursday. But less than 24 hours later the one-time Socceroo defender said he was not done yet. "I think I can still offer something to the new league and it may that I consider my options over east," Murphy told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian." The 34-year old said he was disappointed with Glory's handling of his axing which came via a late-night phone call from technical manager Mich d'Avray. "It could have been handled better, it shows a bit of a lack of respect I think."
Murphy ended a 400-plus game career in England with Notts County, West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace to return to Perth last year. Having captained Glory to championship and grand final success in his first season, the veteran defender is now considered too old to lead the club when the A-League kicks-off in August. "There's only twenty places in the squad and we want to give younger players a chance," commented d'Avray. But that claims laughable given Glory's first signing was soon to be 32-year old striker Stuart Young, while negotiations have commenced with locally-based players Bobby Despotovski (33), Scott Miller (32), Matt Horsley (32), Vince Matassa (31) and Jamie Harnwell (27).
PETTERSON CLOSES IN ON DEAL (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Fremantle-born goalkeeper Andy Petterson will give English football one last tilt before possibly coming home for next year's A-League season. According to player agent Dan Fletcher the journeyman shot-stopper is very close to securing a short-term deal with Notts County. "Petterson's been without a club since Walsall were relegated last season and, although he's been training with Alan Knight at Portsmouth, you can't beat the offer of something more permanent," Fletcher said. "It's probable that Andy will return to Australia for the inaugural A-League in 2005 but that doesn't commence until August so hopefully this move, albeit short-term, can put Andy back in the shop window as he can certainly do a job for someone."
GLORY WON'T SEEK MARQUEE PLAYER
Perth Glory will buck the trend and not chase a marquee player for their inaugural A-League campaign. Mich d'Avray, the clubs technical director, said Glory would adopt a walk-before-you-run approach due to the introduction of the $1.5million salary cap. "I don't believe at this stage that we'll have the money for a marquee player," said d'Avray whose preference is to build a solid 20-player roster. "The marquee player falls outside the salary cap, but at the end of the day it comes down to economics. Personally I think it's slightly on the low side, when you take superannuation off that and bonuses off that you start to work backwards. We're not finding it easy but I can understand the rationale. It was necessary."
CLUBS QUICK TO GET ONSIDE WITH WASA
The number of clubs to become affiliated with the Western Australian Soccer Association has swelled in the past week. As of late yesterday the vast majority of clubs who had previously come under the Soccer West Coast banner had aligned themselves with WASA. Close to half those which competed in the amateur leagues of WAASSA have affiliated with the state’s new governing body along with a growing number of women’s, junior and social clubs. As deadlines for affiliation near it is expected more clubs will choose to join WASA for season 2004. WASA are affiliated with the Australian Soccer Association who are the nations sole member of FIFA.
The clubs to affiliate with WASA are AEK Football Club, Armadale, Balcatta, Balga, Bay City Saints, Beckenham Angels, Beechboro Eagles, Brighton, Canning City, Cockburn City, East Fremantle, Floreat Athena, Forrestfield United, Fremantle City, Gosnells City, Gwelup Croatia, Gwelup Garda, Hamersley Rovers, Heathridge, Infant Jesus, the Jacks, E.C.U. Joondalup, Kalamunda United, Kingsley, Kwinana United, Mandurah City, Melville City, Morley Windmills, Noranda, OLA, Olympic Kingsway (juniors only), Perth Azzurri, Perth S.C., Phoenix Knights, Queens Park, Rockingham City, Shamrock Rovers, Sorrento, South Perth United, South West Phoenix, Southern Saints, Spearwood Dalmatinac, Stirling Lions, Subiaco City, Subiaco United, Sutherland Park, Swan Districts, Swan I.C., Tuart Hill, University of WA, Wanneroo City, Warnbro Strikers, Wembley Downs, Western Knights, Westside, Whitford City and Yanchep United.
MURPHY STUNNED BY GLORY AXING
The career of one-time Australian international Shaun Murphy appears to be over after he was axed by Perth Glory last night. Murphy, who captained Glory to Grand Final victory earlier this year, was one of three players to be informed by technical manager Mich d'Avray that they did not figure in the club's future. Midfielders Brad Hassell and Gary Faria were also recipients of the news which d'Avray delivered by telephone. Hassell, who is recovering from a knee reconstruction, hoped to return to the national league. However, Faria, a stand out for Fremantle City during the winter, said the news signaled the end of his career in the nation's elite competition.
A stunned Murphy said he was disappointed with Glory's decision given that his original contract provided for a second season with the club. "I really wasn't expecting it but I've just got to move on," said the 34-year old. Murphy cut short an eleven year career in England with Notts County and Sheffield United in order to return to Perth last year. He conceded Glory's decision was likely to end his playing career which included 18 'A' appearances for Australia. "It could well be," he commented. "Its something I'll have to decide. But I can't see myself going over east."
WAVES WILL ONLY GET STRONGER SAYS OXTOBY
Western Waves have every right to feel proud of their achievements in their debut Women's National Soccer League season. With a squad that was largely inexperienced at national league level the Waves' competitive spirit, team comraderie and never-say-die attitude earned them fifth place with one win and two draws from six outings. Along the way the side gained the respect of the competition's established teams as well as the adulation of hometown supporters to prove that the future of the women's game in WA is indeed very bright.
For Waves captain Tanya Oxtoby there are two games particular that stand-out. "Our second away game in three days was probably my season highlight," she explained. "After going a goal up against Northern New South Wales Pride we had a player sent off with 60 minutes to go. In 39 degree heat all the girls worked hard for eachother as we fought tooth and nail to grab a 1-1 draw, everyone was exhausted by the end and to us it felt as though we'd won. The other game was our first at home when Stacey Woodfin gave us a one-nil win over Canberra Eclipse. The crowd were right behind us and going absolutely nuts - it was a wonderful experience and one that I won't ever forget."
Under the watchful eye of coaches Alistair Edwards, Scott Miller, Jessine Bonzas, and Tracey Wheeler the Waves were put through their pre-season paces with matches against the Under-19 teams of Australia and China as well as local club sides. These friendlies served to not only to gel the team but also sharpen their skills for the campaign ahead. "These games showed us how important it is to play the ball around and make the opposition chase us," said Oxtoby. "At training we worked hard on keeping possession and not giving it away cheaply. In our last few games we were showing big improvement in that area and it's one aspect of our game that will get stronger as we play more often."
For much of the season the Waves were forced to make do without three key players, namely Collette McCallum (international commitments), Lisa Devanna (personal reasons) and Hayley Crawford (knee injury). "Players of that calibre are hard to replace," said Oxtoby. "It wasn't only their on the ball ability that we missed but they are experienced players who have competed in the national league before and are part of the national teams. There is no doubt in my mind that our results would have been much different if we had our full squad available. Collette, Lisa and Hayley hold down key positions in our team and their composure in tight situations would have changed a few things for us."
Even so, the absence of this trio opened the door for several players who may otherwise not have featuring in the starting line-up this year. "Everyone who stepped on to the pitch gave nothing less than 100%," continued the team captain. "Some girls wouldn't have got so much game time had Collette, Lisa and Hayley been available, but for those that did stepped up it was a great learning experience. It's extremely difficult to adapt quickly to the pace and intensity of the WNSL and all the girls have had their eyes opened to the level at which you are required to compete in the national league. We're now looking forward to next season and as a team know where we need to improve in order to become more competitive."
Hometown interest in the Waves earned them crowds averaging around the 1,000 mark and the deserved tag of the best supported team in the league. "We were blown away by the support we received, especially from the Glory boys," commented Oxtoby. "The atmosphere they create at Members Equity Stadium is electric and it lifts everyone out there wearing the blue and white. When you're feeling tired and there's ten minutes to go they're cheering the team on you do find they little bit extra. I hope everyone continues to come along and watch us next season - drums and all! We're so grateful for all the support that we received this year from the Perth fans, it's been more than we could ever have dreamed."
Football has played a big role in the life of Oxtoby who started out as a junior with Wickham. She developed her game at Fremantle United before proving herself at senior level at Stirling Vasto. It was during this time that the talented defender captained the State Schoolgirls and gained selection for the Australian Schoolgirls in 1999. Senior State honours followed as Oxtoby joined the all-conquering Northern Redbacks on the local scene. Last summer she stepped up to national league level with Northern New South Wales for whom she made eight appearances, and at the conclusion of another successful club season Oxtoby was named captain for the Waves inaugural campaign.
REFEREES COME ON BOARD
The State Referees Commission and its affiliated branches will provide match officials for Western Australian Soccer Association competitions in 2005. The Commission today confirmed they will supply referees across the full range of WASA competitions - semi-professional and amateur men's, women's, junior and social games - next season. "Our referees are looking forward to working closely with WASA and to a fantastic soccer season in 2005," said State Referees Commission chairman Frank Moretti.
GLORY PLAYERS LEFT IN THE DARK
Perth Glory stand to lose several star players to interstate and overseas clubs. Seven locally-based players met with Mich d'Avray earlier this week hoping to find out if they figured in Glory's plans for the inaugural A-League season. But the news wasn't what Bobby Despotovski, Gary Faria, Shaun Murphy, Jamie Harnwell, Brad Hassell, Matt Horsley and Scott Miller had hoped with d'Avray telling them not to count on offers from the current Australian champion. "The players know they must do what they have to do," d'Avray told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian." "They must not hold out and hold out for something that may not materialise. They are professionals and they have got to look after themselves." D'Avray expects the players would be informed by next week as to where they stand.
Though most players are reluctant to peak publicly, off the record it's a different story with some fuming that Glory are yet to make concrete offers to local players. At the current time Glory's squad consists of just two players - Stuart Young and Hiroyuki Ishida - both recruits from the eastern seaboard. Some players have also been baffled by Glory's general inactivity in a transfer market which has been dominated by Central Coast Mariners, Sydney F.C. and Newcastle United. Glory recently missed out on re-signing Tom Pondeljak, Jade North and German import Andre Gumprecht, while several other former players are believed to have attracted interest from rival A-League and Asian clubs.
FIFA SET RECORD STRAIGHT ON AFFILIATION
FIFA have confirmed the Australian Soccer Association as the games governing body in this country and the FIFA member for Australia. Jerome Champagne, FIFA deputy general secretary, confirmed these details in writing to the ASA earlier this week. Champagne's correspondence was in response to claims made by Oceania representative Dr Sahu Khan, chairman of the Fiji FA, that the ASA were not affiliated with FIFA.
Khan's letter has been circulated amongst a number of local clubs with the clear intention of undermining the unification process being undertaken by the Western Australian Soccer Association. Michelle Phillips, WASA's chief executive officer, has made a copy of Champagne's letter available to the local soccer community along with a correspondence between FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Frank Lowry, chairman of the ASA.
BLUES GET TO NAGLIERI
Perth S.C. have wasted little time strengthening their playing stocks with the addition of 21-year old Antonio Naglieri. The inventive midfielder recently agreed terms with the Blues on a two-year contract to bring to an end a long association with Cockburn City. "I am delighted to have someone of Antonio's obvious quality join the Perth squad," said coach Graham Normanton. Naglieri, a creative ball-player with a keen eye for goal, has long been recognized as one of WA's star players. He shot to prominence during the winter of 2000 when, while wearing Cockburn colours, he was named the top flight's Rookie of the Year and gained State representative honours. He joined Perth Glory the following year but found opportunities to break into the side scarce and after eighteen months he parted company with the club. Naglieri returned to Cockburn and was one of the local scene's star performers over the recent winter season.
PLAY-OFFS UNPOPULAR WITH SOCCER PUBLIC
There were several surprises revealed by the latest www.soccerwa.com poll which asked "Should WASA persist with the Night Series and the Top Five play-offs?" Of particular interest was that 55.3% of the overall vote was in favour of axing the annual Top Five series completely. By contrast just 14.0% of respondents wanted to do away with the pre-season Night Series. And 40.8% of the vote cast wanted both competitions to be retained under the new administration.
The raw poll figures had 10% of the vote going to 'No, neither competition necessary so let's get rid of both of them both'. 'Keep the Night Series but dump the play-offs' garnered 45.3%, with 'Dump the Night Series but keep the play-offs' collecting 4.0%. The 'Yes, both competitions are still relevant so let's keep them' option came in with 40.8% of the count.
SENSATIONAL MOVE FOR MCCALLUM
Adelaide Sensation have signed Australian Under-19 international Collette McCallum for the remainder of the 2004/05 Women's National Soccer League campaign. Having missed the Western Waves shortened debut season due to international commitments, the teenage midfielder was back in the thick of the action as Sensation featured twice on the weekend. On Saturday McCallum played a full game in her teams' scoreless draw with New South Wales Sapphires, and two days later she again saw out the full 90 minutes as Sensation went down 1-2 to Northern New South Wales Pride whose winner arrived in the final minute of play.
GARCIA IN THE THICK OF THE ACTION
Within the space of four days Richard Garcia has doubled his season goal tally for Colchester United. Garcia bagged his sides' opening goal in mid-week as Colchester swept aside Mansfield Town 4-1 in an F.A. Cup First Round replay. On Saturday the 23-year old again got himself on the scoresheet courtesy of a 78th minute header to put the icing on a 3-1 win over Torquay United. The win elevates Colchester to thirteenth on the Football League One table after nineteen games. Garcia has made 16 League and Cup appearances, and scored on four occasions, since joining Colchester in late August.
DANZE DETERMINED TO BREAKTHROUGH
Perth-born midfielder Anthony Danze is determined to break into Crystal Palace's senior side. Since joining the Eagles in September the 20-year old has featured regularly for the club's reserves and last month tasted first team action for the first time when he started the League Cup clash with Manchester United. "I came here with a goal to play first-team," said Danze. "I wouldn't have come here otherwise. I just have to keep doing well. You just have to look at people like Ben Watson, when I first signed he was in the reserves along with me, he got a chance and he took it with both hands. I hope to do the same, whenever that comes I don't know. I hope it is sooner rather than later. It is a matter of getting an opportunity and taking it."
LENNIE BLOWS FOR FULL-TIME
Local whistle blower Eddie Lennie will retire from the game at the end of the month One of the nations most respected referee's, the 45-year old has decided to hang up his whistle after almost three decades as a match official. Lennie will automatically be removed from FIFA's referee list next month because of age restrictions and is entitled to continue running the rule over national league and local games. However, he's opted to turn his attention to improving refereeing standards and has already accepted a role with the Oceania referees committee.
Born in Glasgow, Lennie arrived in Perth in 1991 and by the end of the following year was involved in the National Soccer League. As his reputation grew so did his standing, NSL Referee of the Year awards in 1994/95 and 1995/96 were followed by appearances at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996. The following year he was in charge of several World Cup qualifying matches and, come 1998, Lennie refereed two games at the 1998 World Cup Finals in France. Lennie's calm manner and firm hand earned him a third NSL Referee of the Year award in 1999/2000.
FIRST DIVISION TEAMS GET A VOICE
The Western Australian Soccer Association has accepted the first recommendation made by the Men's Semi-Professional Standing Committee. As a result representatives of First Division clubs will hold minimum of two positions on the new committee, a move welcomed by WASA chief executive officer Michelle Phillips. "The committee will now have a wide representation of business, premier and division one members to ensure the committee works toward the vision of making soccer the leading sport in Western Australia," she said. "I look forward to working with the committee in launching soccer into this stage of development."
GLORY REJECTS OFFER FROM ASIA
Perth Glory have knocked back a lucrative offer to play in Asia. The reigning national league champions were invited by the Football Association of Singapore to take part in a knock-out cup competition starting April 2005 and with an October grand final. But Glory were unable to accept the offer as it clashes with the start of the A-League, Australia's new domestic competition, in August. Had they taken their place in the Singapore Cup Glory would have been playing for upwards of $80,000 in prize money, pitted their skills against teams from China, Japan and Cameroon, and fostered stronger links with the Asian soccer community.
PUNISHING SCHEDULE FOR DESPOTOVSKI (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Bobby Despotovski will go to great lengths to play a game of football. This weekend that means travelling four hours by car then five hours by plane in a trip of more than 3,500 kilometres on the eve of a match. The Perth Glory star has been guesting for New South Wales Premier League club Bonnyrigg White Eagles and each weekend flies from Perth to Sydney. But getting to the Eagles home game against Sydney Crescent Star this Saturday night has proved to be a logistical nightmare. "I'm used to all the air travel with Perth Glory in the national league, but this trip is going to be something different!" said Despotovski.
Despotovski is conducting a coaching camp at Northcliffe, near Albany, 360 kilometres south of Perth today. He'll spend the day helping 500 kids enjoy a football experience, before his trip starts at 5.00pm. "I have a drive of at least four hours to get back to Perth, grab my bags and then head to the airport for the last flight to Sydney at 11.15pm," he explained. "So I can relax and have a good sleep, I've bought a book to read on the plane, the SBS Encyclopedia of Soccer. At least I can learn a few things on the way!"
Upon arrival in Sydney on Saturday morning, Despotovski will have another car trip to Bonnyrigg where he'll skip breakfast and instead grab some more sleep. A late lunch will need to revive the weary traveller for the Saturday night game. "I wouldn't be doing this, except that I'm really excited about playing with Bonnyrigg in the NSW Premier League," he said. "There are so many top players from the old national league, it's a real challenge and Bonnyrigg is very ambitious."
VALE ALAN HENDERSON
The West Australian soccer family has been plunged into mourning for the second time this year with the passing of E.C.U. Joondalup player Alan Henderson. The fun-loving 23-year old was holidaying in Bali with close friends Dale McCulloch, Jamie Trandos and Michael Setcoff when he was tragically killed in a jetski accident on Wednesday. Henderson's death comes three short months after Floreat Athena defender Troy Bernard was electrocuted while working for Western Power.
"Everyone associated with the club are absolutely devastated," said an emotional Paul Simmons, coach of Joondalup. "This year's squad was a particularly tight-knit group and Alan was one of the most popular players. He was one of those rare people that would light up any room he walked in to with an infectious smile and a laugh that, if you didn't see who was laughing, you'd think it was coming from someone over 30-stone not from a waif like Hendo. It wasn't only his footballing talents that made him so popular, his sense of humor was superb and he could both dish out and take the jokes."
A product of Kingsway Olympic's youth system, Henderson honed his skills in a talented squad alongside the likes of McCulloch, Jamie Kuzmanovich and Andreas Oliviera. As a teenager he stepped up to senior ranks and in next to no time had established himself as a regular member of the senior side. Henderson's versatility and strong work ethic made him a popular figure on the field, while off it it was his bubbly personality that him earned the respect of teammates and opponents alike. With several top flight clubs chasing his signature Henderson joined Inglewood United in pre-season only to move to Joondalup shortly before the season proper.
"When Alan first arrived at Joondalup he was quite apprehensive about making the transition to the Premier League," added Simmons. "But with his old mates around him and new friendship made Alan slotted into the side and had an outstanding 'debut' season. He was over the moon at playing in the top flight and after almost every game Joondalup won he'd text me either very late Saturday night or very early Sunday morning with 'A rib a dee dib a dee dob', which is the last line of the Joondalup song of victory. Alan was very special and I'll miss him greatly, not just as a player but more so as a friend."
CLUBS UNITE WITH NEW PEAK BODY (courtesy www.wasa.org.au )
The number of clubs to come under the Western Australian Soccer Association umbrella is growing by the day. The game's new governing body are pleased by the rate at clubs are getting behind the restructure of the local game with over two dozen clubs becoming affiliated last week alone. "The clubs that are affiliating are leading the way toward unification of the sport," said Michelle Phillips, chief executive officer with WASA. "We are really pleased with the response and I'd ask that clubs help us put together a top season by working with us and getting your club affiliation forms in as soon as possible."
"We have spoken to many clubs over the last two weeks as they prepare for their approaching annual general meetings and committee meetings, and we are confident that they will affiliate," Phillips added. "We are excited about the season and the WASA team is extremely enthusiastic and wanting to do their best for the greater soccer community. I remain optimistic that all soccer enthusiasts are with me on this one." Clubs are urged to urged to contact WASA with their queries or to request a member of the WASA team attend a club meeting.
Amongst the clubs to sign-up with WASA last week were Armadale, Canning City, Cockburn City, East Fremantle, E.C.U. Joondalup, Floreat Athena, Gosnells City, Hamersley Rovers, Heathridge, Kalamunda United, Perth Azzurri, Perth S.C., Phoenix Knights, Rockingham City, Sorrento, South Perth United, Southern Saints, South West Phoenix, Stirling Lions, Swan I.C. (women's), Tuart Hill (juniors), Warnboro Strikers (juniors) and Whitford City. The list of clubs to expected to increase significantly as the deadlines for affiliation draw nearer.
CHEERIO, CHEERIO, CHEERIO
Retirement is inevitable and a part of the game with a handful of familiar faces deciding that the recently completed season will be their last. What makes five of this years leavers stand apart from the rest is that between them they take more than seventy-five years playing experience at the top level. The quartet in question are Western Knights captain Carl Medica, shot-stopper Robert Scarparolo and his Perth S.C. teammate Mark Pottier, and former Perth Glory teammates Alan MacKenzie and Craig Naven. And there could be a few more names added to that list with a number of other familiar faces still contemplating whether or not they'll play on for another season.
It really is the end of an era at the Knights where Medica, 32, has been an integral part of the senior list for over a decade. The attacking midfielder joined the Knights in 1994 following spells with Fremantle and Floreat Athena, and in the years that followed established a reputation as one of the scene's most feared opponents. Medica spent much of his career operating down the right flank but his ability to consistently find the net resulted in him adopting the role of an out-and-out striker in recent years. In eleven seasons with the Knights Medica won numerous awards, helped the club to eight trophies - including captaining this year's double winning side - and gained State representative honours.
Scarparolo, 32, is the one of the best goalkeepers not to gain a senior State call-up. In 1998 he left Bayswater City for Dorrien Gardens where his razor-sharp reflexes and command of the penalty area made him one of the first names on the teamsheet, not to mention a favourite with the Blues faithful. Over the course of the next seven years Scarparolo would help the club to no less than twelve trophies, a tally which includes two Premier League titles and four play-off crowns. Thirteen clean sheets in 2002 allowed Perth to claim four of the five trophies on offer, while twelve months later Scarparolo received the ultimate honour when named the Goalkeeper of the Year.
The driving force behind Perth S.C.'s dominance of the local game over the past few years was midfield general Pottier. A tireless performer and an inspiration to those around him, there wasn't a trophy he didn't get his hands on before calling it a day at the age of 34. Time with Balga preceded his joining Swan Cracovia where Pottier's non-stop approach earned him successive First Division Player of the Year awards and State honours for the first time. In 1997 he moved to Dorrien Gardens where, over the course of eight season, Pottier would play in almost every position and provide the backbone to a side that managed to sweep all before them.
Spells in Scotland with Cowdenbeath, Berwick Rangers, Raith Rovers and Clyde preceded MacKenzie's arrival in Perth in the mid-1990's. His ability to dictate play in combination with a keen eye for goal at Bayswater City earned MacKenzie State selection and a place in the inaugural Perth Glory squad where he scored the then fledgling clubs first ever national league goal. MacKenzie continued to produce the goods on his return to the local competition with Bayswater which culminated in him taking out the 2000 Gold Medal. For the past three seasons he has worn Inglewood United colours where, even at the age of 38, his tireless workrate often put to shame that of players many years his junior.
Having originally retired this time last year, 35-year old Naven was convinced to pull on his boots for one more season by Bassendean Caledonian. The hard-working defender sharpened his skills as a teenager at Bayswater City for whom he represented Australia at youth level. In early 1988 Naven commenced what would be the first of thirteen seasons with Perth S.C. whom he'd help lift every trophy on offer. His time at Dorrien Gardens was interspersed by a season as captain of the short-lived Perth Kangaroos and eighteen months in the national league with Perth Glory. The last three years of Naven's career were spent at Caledonian where he added experience and muscle to the backline.
NEW NIGHT SERIES LAUNCHED
The Western Australian Soccer Association today launched an exciting new format for the pre-season men's night series competition. The McInerney Ford Night Series has been designed to have broad appeal and will be the first competition run by the state's new peak body. "We are up and running with our first competition of 2005 and we are all enthusiastic and totally committed to making it a top class series," said Michelle Phillips, WASA's chief executive officer. "We have experienced staff, a terrific advisory committee, a generous sponsor and great clubs, so I am looking to good crowds from across the soccer community and top quality games to make it a real winner."
The competition will be played at four central metropolitan venues and is scheduled to commence in late January with the finals one month later. The preliminary round will involve sixteen teams drawn from the First Division and amateur ranks who'll play-off for four places in the group stage. The format of the second phase will be four groups of four teams who'll play double-headers across a three-week period. The group winners will meet in the semi-finals where they'll meet for a spot in the series decider. For more details on the McInerney Ford Night Series visit www.wasa.org.au .
MRDJA SCOUTED BY MARINERS
New A-League club Central Coast Mariners are understood to be closing in on former Perth Glory striker Nick Mrdja. The Mariners have already secured the services of former Glory stars Tom Pondeljak and Andre Gumprecht and have now turned their attention to Mrdja whose been playing in Sweden's top flight for AIK Solna for the past few months. Glory are understood to be one of four clubs chasing the 25-year old striker, the others being Newcastle United Jets and Sydney F.C., but have reportedly baulked at the $140,000 price tag placed on Mrdja.
WASA STRUCTURE GETS THE THUMBS UP
As the wheels of reform gather momentum, the competition structure's for next season have been received warmly by the local clubs. Unveiled earlier this month by the Western Australian Soccer Association, all men's teams will compete in a 'pyramid' system whereby clubs are able to move from amateur to semi-professional status, and vice versa. In addition a new cup competition will be introduce which is open to all men's teams regardless of what league they compete in. As the state's new governing body, WASA have the task of bringing together the various local associations - men's semi-professional and amateur, women's, juniors, futsal, referees and coaches - in order to create a single organisation to administer the game.
A strong advocate of reform is Paul Simmons, team manager of E.C.U. Joondalup, who believes WASA's structure is exactly what is needed to get the game on its feet. "I have been involved in soccer here in WA for the past twenty years and I must say this is the most positive I have ever felt in regard to the wakening of the sleeping giant," Simmons commented. "The structure is fantastic. Clubs who want to turn semi-professional no longer have to wait on the outcome of politically motivated votes in order to step up - they simply have to develop through the pyramid structure. Like previous attempts at reform there are some who are firmly against, but the difference this time is the move has not only the State and federal governments behind it but also 99.9% of the football people of WA. WASA need to be congratulated for taking the hard line in their approach to unification, at last we have a body willing to take the difficult decisions which are going to benefit of the game as a whole."
University of WA coach Kevin Burton is of the belief the plan outline by the new controlling body is the way forward. "It seems that WASA have switched up a gear and the vision and pathway for clubs is becoming much clearer," Burton said, stressing this was his view and not necessarily that of his club. "Soccer has to support the new direction offered by WASA because, no matter what level you play or coach, the game will never again have opportunity to gain the credibility or funding from the government and the private sectors that it needs to succeed. I really hope that WASA and WAASSA can come together and work for the benefit of the game as if a split does happen then the standard of soccer will suffer in both organisations. As an amateurs club UWA want to be competitive in the highest standard possible, and to my mind if we aren't playing the likes of Shamrock Rovers, Hamersley Rovers and Spearwood Dalmatinac then it just will not be the same."
Canning City have also given their backing to the new structure. "We fully support all of the initiatives that have been proposed by WASA to date," commented Canning president Malcolm Watson. "As a club we are willing to accept some pain for the overall benefit of the game, and so will continue to support WASA even if we do not totally agree with what is put before us. The idea of twelve team leagues from Saturday Premier League all the way through to the Sunday amateur competitions meets with the approval of Canning. That said, we'd like to see a two up two down system of promotion and relegation similar to those used in England whereby one team is automatically promoted with the other place decided by play-offs. This would keep more clubs involved to the business end of the season, would provide extra excitement for the fans and generate additional income for the clubs. As a club we will continue to support the proposals put forward by WASA as we know that it is for the good of the overall game with no bias given to any club or association."
Another First Division club in favour of the work being done by WASA is Gosnells City. "We are very much in favour of WASA and the restructure of the game which they are undertaking," explained committee member Ann Deveraux. "It's clear that unification of all the local associations will have flow on benefits for everyone involved in soccer. By bringing the game under the one office there are benefits to the association, to the clubs and the players with one insurance fee, one registration fee, and so forth ... not mention that soccer will finally be able to progress. Gosnells City support the new structure which we feel is a definite step in the right direction."
According to Balcatta president Pat Luca it is vital that the WA soccer community grasp the opportunity presented by reform with both hands. "It's important that everybody involved in soccer cooperate and work together," said club president Pat Luca. "When the atmosphere is charged with enthusiasm, passion and encouragement, and consideration is given to others then a lot can be achieved. The development of the game must always be the main consideration when making decisions and each club must be willing to give and take a bit for the good of the game. At Balcatta we always look at the big picture and try to make decisions that are in the best interests of the club and that is why we support the unification process being co-ordinated by WASA."
The proof will be in the pudding for Steve Parkinson, coach of Fremantle City. "While I welcome reform, I think the soccer community will hold out for a clear sign that things are going to work and benefit the game," said Parkinson. "Most of us have heard these promises for many years, and for WASA to succeed they'll need to engage with the soccer public people who want to be involved. There's not been a great deal of transparency from WASA so far but if they can do things correctly and professionally rather making decisions ad hoc and behind paper walls then I think they will gain the credibility they desire. The new structure is similar to what we've played under previously with the welcome addition of an FA Cup style knock-out competition. Overall, my view of what WASA are doing is positive and I feel we have to give them the opportunity to prove themselves."
As one of the state's most experienced coaches, Mike Brennan cannot stress enough the importance that all aspects of the code work in unison. "Unification of the code will not succeed unless all parties work together for the good of the game," said the outgoing Hamersley Rovers coach. "In the past there have been too many instances of both individuals and clubs being motivated to do things only for their own benefit and not by what was best for the code as a whole. There has never been a more critical time to get it right as we will surely never have as good an opportunity as this again with what has to be said is pleasing Government support. Unfortunately, due to earlier failed attempts at restructure, our codes' reputation in the sporting marketplace has taken some criticism and we have appeared at times to lack leadership and almost in disarray. WASA will need to set guidelines that if clubs or individuals do step out of line they will be sanctioned." Brennan played professionally for Manchester City, Rochdale, Stockport County and West Adelaide before successful coaching spells at Floreat Athena, West Perth Macedonia, Perth Kangaroos, Perth Glory and, most recently, Hamersley who he lead to WAASSA championships in 2001/2002/2003.
WINDMILLS WELCOMES NEW UNDER 18'S COACH
Peter Cassar has been appointed the new Under 18's coach at Morley Windmills during the week, with a number of players already committing to join the squad under Cassar's helm, the team will be looking for a good season. Their first training session will start on 13th January at Wotton Reserve in Embleton. New players are welcome, for more information contact the club after 6pm on 9272 1109.
YOUNG MATILDAS DIP OUT TO USA
Australia have been eliminated from the Under-19 Women's World Championship at the quarter-final stage after suffering a 0-2 loss to reigning champion the United States of America. The Young Matilda's held their more fancied opponent scoreless in the first half, but in the end the experience of the American's gave them the edge. Megan Rapinoe made sure there was no rest for the Australian defence during the first half, the lively striker's best opportunity being pushed wide by goalkeeper Alison Logue. On the defensive for much of the half, the Young Matilda's pushed forward after the half hour as Collette McCallum's looping cross was met by Leena Khamis whose header from 10-metres flashed wide.
The United States took the lead nine minutes into the second half when a scorching drive from distance by Stephanie Logterman was parried by Logue and the loose ball fell to Amy Rodriguez who thumped it into an open net. McCallum wormed her way past three defenders a couple of minutes later but skewed her shot wide from 15-metres. The Australian defence did well to limit the number of shots on goal, but there was little they could do when Rapinoe unleashed a vicious swerving shot to make it two-nil after 68 minutes. The American's eased off the pace and in the closing minutes Australia went close to bagging a consolation goal as McCallum's cross was met by Catherine Cannuli who was steered the ball unfortunately wide.
SWC QUINTET INVITED TO JOIN WASA
Five members of the Soccer West Coast board have taken up the challenge of charting the way forward for the men's game at semi-professional level. Jason Charles, Don Evans, Peter Koulizos, Denis McInerny and John Quigley each accepted invitations to join the Western Australian Soccer Association's semi-professional men's interim steering committee as clubs begin to affiliate with the state's new governing body. The committee is the latest in a series established by WASA in recent times. The organisation has already formulated steering committees for women's and junior soccer, referees and coaches, while an amateurs committee is in the process of being set-up.
ADELAIDE BATTLE GLORY FOR PETKOVIC
Perth Glory will compete with Adelaide United for the services of one-time Australian goalkeeper Jason Petkovic. Currently playing in Turkey with Konyaspor, Petkovic is understood to be weighing up his options but is expected to return to Australia for the inaugural A-League season. Both Glory and United are believed to have made contact with Petkovic's agent regarding his future. Widely regarded as one of the nations best shot-stoppers, the 32-year old is a two time Goalkeeper of the Year and has made 15 appearances for Australia. Petkovic played 155 times for Adelaide City before, in 1999, returning home to join Glory for whom he kept goal on 146 occasions.
CHILE OUT-CLASS YOUNG SOCCEROOS
The Young Soceroos completed their five-match tour of South America with a 2-3 loss to Chile in Rancagua yesterday. It was a flat display from an Australian side at the end of an arduous two-week trip involving matches in four cities and three countries. Three-goals down after just twenty minutes, the national youth team battled throughout the remainder of the game and could easily have snatched a draw in the dying minutes. Australia pulled a goal back from the penalty spot through Mark Bridge following a foul on Vince Lia after 39 minutes. The margin was further reduced ten minutes into the second half when a cross from substitute Nick Ward was spectacularly volleyed in by Chris Tadrosse. Both teams had further chances to score in an exciting finale with Tadrosse, Ward and Bridge all going close for Australia. However, Chile held on to emerge victorious by 3-2. Ward came on at half-time for Frank Lagana, while Matt Danskin was an unused substitute.
D'AVRAY TAKES UP TECHNICAL ROLE
Dual championship winning coach Mich d'Avray has accepted the newly created position of technical manager with Perth Glory. D'Avray, undoubtedly Glory's most successful coach in its short history, will oversee and be responsible for all football operations at the club for the next three years. "We see this new position playing a crucially important role for the club going forward, as a large part of it will include local talent identification and development," said chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. "We will now search the globe far and wide for a head coach and Mich will also start approaching local, interstate and international based players to complete the twenty player squad."
GLORY SQUAD DOUBLES!
Former Sydney Olympic favourite Hiroyuki Ishida is the second player to join Perth Glory this month. A former J-League player with Shimizu S-Pulse and Tokyo Verdy 1969, the versatile midfielder made 66 appearance for Olympic during his three seasons with the club. Ishida agreed terms with Glory less than a fortnight after the club secured the services of Wollongong Wolves stalwart Stuart Young.
WASA BOARD BECOMES EIGHT
The inaugural board of the Western Australian Soccer Association has swelled to eight members with the addition of former WAASSA director Rob MacKay. With fifteen years experience in soccer administration and coaching, MacKay's specialist knowledge of the amateur and social side of the game are expected to complement the existing board. “We are delighted that Rob has accepted our invitation to become a director and believe he will enhance the representation of the board as we chart the way forward to create a single and unified structure for soccer in Western Australia,” said Kevin Campbell, WASA chairman.
Commenting on his two year appointment, MacKay said he was honoured to accept the invitation to be a member of the leadership team charged with unifying the code in this state. “Soccer has been a part of Western Australia’s sporting heritage for more than one hundred years and now under a unified single structure we, as directors, have the opportunity and responsibility to launch soccer into a new and exciting phase of development and to set it on track to realise its potential,” he said.
“I am strongly motivated by our vision to become a leading sport in the State and to provide opportunities for all participants across the sport to excel,” added Mackay. “Our affiliation with the Australian Soccer Association, and through them to FIFA, opens the door for new and cohesive development pathways from grass-roots to elite, at a State and National level. This is unprecedented for soccer in WA, and good news, however you look at it. However, my immediate task is to work along side my fellow directors and along side clubs to unify soccer under WASA over the next few weeks, and that’s where I’ll be putting my energy in the short term.”
MacKay is the eighth member of the inaugural WASA board chaired by Kevin Campbell. It's seven directors are Steve Coppack (ex-JSA president), Jane King (one-time WSWA vice-president), Russell Goodrick (ex-SWC director), Mackay (former WAASSA director), and businesspeople Marcello Cardaci, Paul Kelly and Linda Wayman. Established in July 2004, WASA is recognised by State and Federal governments along with the Australian Soccer Association as responsible for the control and delivery of soccer in Western Australia.
NEW ERA FOR SWAN
The season may have just ended but for Swan IC it's the dawning of a new era for over a dozen of the clubs youngsters who've been given the opportunity to further their development. The clubs inaugural youth development squad consists of thirteen players who'll take part in a number of skills and fitness programs which includes a gym program tailor-designed by the Renaissance fitness centre in Midland. "The club believe that the youngsters are the future of the club, and a number of the youth development squad made their 1st team debuts during season 2004", commented senior coach Gary Marocchi.
Amongst the players chosen by Marocchi for the youth squad are first team regulars Danyal Bennett and Brendan Knox, State Schoolboys captain Daniel Simcox, David Perich and goalkeeper Chris Ramsey. The squad also features State junior representatives Daniel Agudelo, Stephen Bettella, Scott Lewry, Phillip Arnold and Jovo Pavolivic along with up-and-comers David Paone, Radi Pelemis and Ben Anderton. "These players have impressed me over the season and the clubs' committee backed my plans and funded the program," added Marocchi. "All the players have the opportunity to enhance their fitness and push for first team selection next season."
Swan committee member Darren Blankley believes the establishment of a youth development squad augers well for the club. "Gary's long term view for the club is the youngsters," he said. "We've given them the opportunity to work on their fitness with this program and they will take out what they put in. As a club we made great strides with the clubs junior teams last season, our Under-15 Junior Champions League side made the top five and our Under-18's reached the top five Grand Final before going down on penalties to Sorrento. Gary's views are if their good enough they will play senior football whatever their age."
DE VANNA THE FANS NO.1
Lisa De Vanna has been elected the Western Waves best player of their debut season by the clubs loyal supporters. The tenacious 20-year old collected 28% of the vote to take out this week's www.soccerwa.com poll. Not far behind in second place was experienced defender Kerry McGawley who tallied 22% of the count. Australian international Tal Karp and Stacey Woodfin, who scored the Waves first goal on home soil, ended level on 18%. And in joint fourth place with 7% each were Canadian midfielder Sarah Cunningham and the Waves inaugural captain Tanya Oxtoby. Close to 120 votes were cast over the eight day polling period.
AROUND THE CLUBS ...
The season is well and truly over for another year. In the weeks the since Premier League and First Division seasons came to a close the local clubs have been honouring their best players and achievements for season 2004. On the weekend the last of the club awards nights were held. We now take a comprehensive look at who won what at club level in the local game this year …
Double winners the Western Knights recognised Jason Williams as their Fairest and Best for 2004, the defender edging Daniel Trim out of top honours by just four votes. Williams was also the popular choice for the Players' Player of the Year. Teenager Andrija Jukic was named Most Improved with club captain Carl Medica the Leading Goalscorer. The Reserves Fairest and Best was accepted by Nathan Grego ahead of Sime Krsticevic while State Schoolboys defender Seb Trim went home with the Most Improved trophy. Goalkeeper Ante Ramic was a deserved winner of the Under-18's Fairest and Best award. Runner-up was Joe D'Ortona and Troy Sillis was named the youth teams' Most Improved.
Veteran defender Dusan Macura left Cockburn City’s annual awards night with the trophy as their Fairest and Best player for 2004. Antonio Naglieri was runner-up and also took out the Top Goalscorer with 13 goals. Australian youth international Liam Lilly was the popular choice as the Players’ Player of the Year. State Schoolboys representative Carlo Cardoso won the Under-21’s Fairest and Best ahead of goalkeeper Jeff Cargill. 11 goals gave Simon El Chami the Top Goalscorer. The Under-18’s Fairest and Best was taken home by Tom Langley with Andrew Keary runner-up. Dragan Milankovic was Top Goalscorer having hit the back of the net 11 times during the winter.
Sorrento held their annual awards ceremony three weeks ago when versatile big man Steven MacDonald (above) was named Best Player. The Gulls hard-working defender Richard Watson came in runner-up to MacDonald. The Golden Boot Award for the club’s leading goalscorer went to Under-18’s striker Michael Johnson who found the target on 23 occasions this year. 17-year old Brodie Martin went home with the trophy as the Gulls Most Improved Young Player. Recipient of the Reserves Best Player was Shaun Mooney with Will Kirkpatrick finishing in second place. Liam McCallum won the award as the Under-18’s Best Player and Ben Coppack came in as runner-up.
It was a night to remember for Pete Roberts when E.C.U. Joondalup distributed their annual awards. The hard-working defender was named the Club Fairest and Best, and for the second successive year picked up the Players’ Player of the Year award to end a memorable season for the 24-year old. Andy Brown, who made the transition from defender to striker this year, took out the first team Top Goalscorer with 10 goals. The Under-21’s Players’ Player of the Year was Scott Bushby, while the teams Top Goalscorer was John Greenwood who netted 13 times. Paul Wigley took home the trophy as the Under-18’s Players’ Player of the Year with Kevin Coroma the Top Goal courtesy of a 12 goal winter.
Teenage midfielder Nick Ward won Stirling Lions’ Players Player of the Year and Fairest and Best awards. Goalkeeper Vince Matassa was runner-up in the latter, and also collected the Erin Debarro Courage Award. The Coaches Award went to Riste Stefoski, Rob Crerar and Darko Ilomanoski shared the Presidents Award and Luke Pavlos was named Best Clubman. Muhamed Komaderic claimed the Golden Boot while Dennis McRoberts was honoured with the Rising Star Award. The Reserves Fairest and Best went to Michael Filippou, who also won the Golden Boot, with Alex Smith runner-up. The other Reserve team trophies went home with Steven Bozinovski (Coaches Award), Steven Hicks (Best Clubman) and Stefan Stoleski (Presidents Award). The Under-18’s awards were shared amongst Matthew Debarro (Fairest and Best), Michael Pugliese (runner-up), Ricky Filicamo (Most Improved), Sash Skoleski (Best Clubman), Mark Bentley (Presidents Award) and Marol Anur (Golden Boot).
Attacker Greg Sharland was recognised as Inglewood United's Player of the Year ahead of tough tackling defender Shaun Kilkelly. The Coaches Award was bestowed on goalkeeper Oliver Taseski, and one-time Australian international Bobby Despotovski found the net 13 times to claim the Top Goalscorer trophy. The honour of Inglewood's Rising Star went to James Duncan. The Under-21's Player of the Year was Demir Arslanoski with teenage striker Michael Baczynski runner-up. The sides highest goalscorer was Peter Petkov who netted 9 times during the winter. Adriano d'Adamo won the Under-18's Player of the Year along with the youth teams highest goalscorer. Jarrad Parks was runner-up in the Under-18's Player of the Year.
Perth S.C. reflected upon the season that was at their seventeenth Annual Ball on Saturday night. 18-year old midfielder David Micevski (above) commemorated a terrific debut season at senior level by taking out top honours, the Fairest and Best. One-time National Soccer League player Robert Puca was runner-up. The Reserves Fairest and Best went home with James Isaia who had Christian DeBarro as his runner-up. James Anderson claimed the Under-18’s Fairest and Best with the runner-up being Ralph Italiano. The Youth Development Player was Nikita Ruravytsya, while the 25th Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy wsa presented to yonng goalkeeper Tando Velaphi. Although no trophies were awarded, the leading goalscorers were Puca (first team), Rurvytsya (Reserves) and Chris Socratous (Under-18’s)
Swan I.C. celebrated a success season in which they captured the Boral Cup for a second successive time with a gala event at the Swan Italian Club last month. Summer signing David Foster collected the trophies for Fairest and Best player and Leading Goalscorer, while rookie defender Danyal Bennett was runner-up in the former. The Under-21’s Fairest and Best was Robert Shepheard with Kyle Greenaway in second place and 10 goals gave Matt Ullbricht the trophy as the teams Leading Goalscorer. Radi Pelemis received the Under-18’s Fairest and Best and Leading Goalscorer awards with State youth representative Phillip Arnold runner-up in the former. Committee member Victor Hugo was named Club Man of the Year.
Floreat Athena’s presentation evening was a somber occasion following the death of much loved defender Troy Bernard in late August. Troy Bernard was posthumously named the clubs Best and Fairest player for 2004 with striker Andreas Oliveira runner-up and promising midfielder Paul Vlachou third. The inaugural Troy Bernard Memorial Trophy for the young player of the year was taken out by Julian Madaschi. Jamie Trandos was presented with the Frank Papas Trophy for Clubman of the Year. Phil Pakioufakis and Paul Vatistas won the Reserves and Under-18’s Best and Fairest awards respectively. Although no trophies were given, Athena’s leading goalscores were Andreas Oliveira (first team), Tiago Duque, Sasa Kilibarda and Matthew Novatsis (Reserves) and Jason Chatzopoulos (Under-18’s).
Scottish import Ross Barnes took out Bayswater City’s top honour, the Best and Fairest, in his debut season with the club. Defender Micheal Kovacevic was runner-up and Wes Mitchell came a close third. The Coaches Award went home with 21-year old goalkeeper Francis Allen who also collected the trophy as the Reserves Best and Fairest Player. James Bongiovanni was runner-up in the Reserves top award with David Formato recipient of the Coaches Award. Marc Bent was a worthy recipient of the Under-18’s Best and Fairest award with Julian Piromalli the runner-up. Although no trophies were awarded, Bayswater’s leading goalscorers were Barnes (first team), James Bongiovanni (Reserves) and Luke O’Neill (Under-18’s).
There was glory for Kevin Griffiths who claimed top honours at Bassendean Caledonian. Griffiths tireless contribution in midfield were recognised when he was named the clubs Fairest and Best player. Veteran Craig Naven was runner-up and defender Kevin Smith ‘second runner-up’. Erik Kuzmar won the Under-21’s Fairest and Best, the runner-up was Cosi Cavelero with Scott Cooper ‘second runner-up’. The Under-18’s Fairest and Best award went home with James Warner. Thomas Ions was runner-up, with Micheal Alessandrini and Geoffrey Mason tied for ‘second runner-up’. Although no trophies were given, the clubs’ leading goalscorers this season were Graeme Matthews (first team), Scott Cooper (Reserves) and James Warner (Under-18’s).
First Division champions Armadale celebrated winning a place in the top flight with a well attended presentation night at the end of October. 19-year old Matt Bennion made a clean sweep of the first team awards by taking out the Fairest and Best and Players’ Player of the Year awards. 18-year old Peter Taylor was recipient of the Young Player of the Year, and Greg Newcombe was the Reds leading goalscorer. The Reserves Fairest and Best ended in a tie between Darren Kingston and Troy Clarke. Kingston also collected the Players’ Player of the Year while his 35 goals made him the highest goalscorer for the second string. Cameron Richens was named the Under-18’s Player of the Year, Lee Ramm the youth sides Players’ Player of the Year, and Chris Hill their leading goalscorer.
20-year old midfielder Sam Miller was the deserved recipient of Wanneroo City’s Player of the Year award. Scott Bulloch took home both the Players Player of the Year and Top Goalscorer trophies, while the Sponsors Player of the Year went to State Schoolboys defender Chris Currie. The Reserve team awards were distributed amongst Ryan Tomaz (Player of the Year), Darren Jones (Players Player of the Year), Adam Windley (Top Goalscorer) and Gary Kent (Sponsors Player of the Year). Michael Hodkins was named the Under-18’s Player of the Year, while Austin Watkins picked up the Players Player of the Year and Top Goalscorer trophies. The Sponsors Player of the Year was Lee Thomas.
Canning City celebrated their best finish to a season with a well attended event at Willetton Sports Club last month. Top honours went to 21-yeard old midfielder Paul Van Dongen who was named the Player of the Year Paul. Summer signing Ross Posthuma collected the award as Players’ Player of the Year. Cornelius Nurimba made a clean sweep of the Reserve team awards by taking out both the Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year. The Under-18’s Player of the Year was Luke Doyle, while the youth teams Players’ Player of the Year was Tom Archer. 16-year old striker Daniel Trevisiol, who played at all three levels during the winter and scored 32 goals in total, went home with the Presidents Trophy.
It truly was a year to remember for David Rodgers who went home with South West Phoenix’ Player of the Year and Leading Goalscorer awards. Gary Mayers was runner-up Player of the Year, and Steve Suttie was recipient of the Coaches Award. The Reserves Player of the Year trophy went home with Gino Comito who also ended the winter as the teams Leading Goalscorer. Runner-up Player of the Year was Vion Garic, and the Coaches Award went to Jacob King. Greg Murray claimed the Under-18’s Player of the Year, while Stephen Anderson collected the Coaches Award.
Popular striker Christian Paschewitz went home from Mandurah City’s presentation evening last month with the awards for Fairest and Best and Players’ Player of the Year. The Coaches Award was taken out by classy shot-stopper Mike Green, while exciting young attacker Jake Loreto collected the Under-21 Player of the Year. Alex Agnew claimed the Reserves Fairest and Best, defender Damien Condo was named Players’ Player of the Year, and Michael Charlesworth received the Coaches Award. The Under-18’s Fairest and Best and Players’ Player of the Year trophies were taken out by Mark Brabazon. Tobin Steers was awarded the Coaches Award for Mandurah’s youth side. Pascherwitz (first team), Gary Attrill (Reserves) and Shane Connor (Under-18’s) were the clubs’ highest goalscorers.
The Grand Chancellor Hotel was the venue for Gosnells City’s presentation night at which goalkeeper Jayson Menhert took out top honours when presented with the Best and Fairest award. Andy Daffin went home with the Players’ Player of the Year, Ian Ingham won the Coaches Award, and Adam Bremner was recognised as the Most Improved player. The Reserves Best and Fairest went to Sam Cundall while the Players’ Player of the Year was Grant Williamson. Nigel Doherty collected the Coaches Award, and Jamie Carruthers the trophy as Most Improved. Andrew Carter picked up the Under-18’s Best and Fairest award, and youth team captain Alex Vo was named the Players’ Player of the Year. The Coaches Award was presented to Josh Kuhn, while Carlo Giancola took out the Most Improved.
The Perth Italian Club was the venue for Balcatta’s awards night last Saturday. Danny Carlino polled 62 votes to take out the Fairest and Best over runner-up Vic Bogos whose final tally was 37 votes. David Moscilla’s 24 goals gave him the trophy as the clubs Top Goalscorer as well as a share of the Players’ Player of the Year award in which he tied with Aleandro Di Nuzzo. Daniel Causerano did the Reserve team double by winning the Fairest and Best and Players’ Player of the year trophies. Joshua Mannella was runner-up Fairest and Best. The Under-18’s Fairest and Best Award went home with Domenic Calabro with Steve Corica runner-up. Joel Yip collected the trophy as the Most Improved.
Experienced campaigner Miladin Gugoroski was recipient of the Best and Fairest trophy, as well as the Highest Goalscorer award at Dianella White Eagles. Drazenko Saric claimed the Best Improved. Slobodan Njegic took home the Reserves Best and Fairest and 20-year Stevica Petrovic the Highest Goalscorer courtesy of an 8 goal winter. Teenager Milan Peric won the Reserve teams’ Best Improved along with the Under-18’s Best and Fairest. The Highest Goalscorer for Dianella’s youth team with 8 goals was Slobodan Blagojevic, while Best Improved player was Jorg Kacurkov.
Rydeen Botha came away from Morley Windmills’ presentation evening with the Fairest and Best player and Players’ Player of the Year awards. Hard-working midfielder Simon Messenger was runner-up in the former, while the Young Player of the Year was taken out by Ryan Fitzgerald. The Reserves Fairest and Best went to Justy Jensen with Mark Aldworth runner-up. The Coaches Award was bestowed on Matt Carruthers. Although no trophies were presented, Botha’s 13 goals made him the first team’s top marksman, while the honour of the Reserves highest goalscorer was shared by Mark Aldworth and Carlos Mazloomi.
Kingsway Olympic’s top individual honour, Fairest and Best, went to Michael Borremi. Danny Trandos collected the Players’ Player of the Year, the Most Improved was rookie Aaron Lickiss, and Clubman of the Year (George Euphemie Award) went home with 26-year old attacker Steve Bretti. John Quinn received the Reserves Player of the Year with Luke Armstrong named the Players’ Player of the Year and the Most Improved. There was double delight for Mohammed Zhody who won the Under-18’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year. Robert Gartside claimed the youth teams Most Improved award.
Alex Crookes and Wayne Culverwell shared the honour of Ashfield’s Player of the Year in which Joe Kendall was runner-up. Crookes also went home with the trophy as the Players’ Player of the Year. The Reserves Player of the Year was Daniel Grosso, Martin Kelly was runner-up and Michael Tunhla collected the Players’ Player of the Year. Andrew Pearse picked up the Under-18’s Player of the Year ahead with Hussain Athekis runner-up. Stuart Morton was the popular choice for the youth teams Players’ Player of the Year. Zac Jones was voted the Most Improved player at Ashfield, while Craig Highet was scorer of the Goal of the Year.
Marc Hornby will long remember 2004 as the season he won Rockingham City’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards. Danny Turner was runner-up in the former, Luke Rennie took home the Coaches Award, and Glen Hallums was the leading goalscorer. The honour of Reserves Player of the Year went to Andy de Bie with Alex Jones in second place. Carlos Almeida received the Players’ Player of the Year, and Gavin McIlveen the Coaches Award. Mark Boyham was named the Under-18’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year. Runner-up in the former was Jason Peacock, while the youth team Coaches Award went to Marc Jones.
UNDER-20’S CONTINUE SOUTH AMERCIAN ADVENTURE
Australia’s Under-20’s have had an eventful week in South American where they’ve meet the might of Uruguay and Argentina. The Young Socceroos week began on Sunday with a 1-3 loss to Uruguay in Montevideo, and in mid-week the national youth team squandered a two-goal lead to earn 2-2 draw with Argentina in a match broadcast live on local television. The Young Socceroos, who are in South America to prepare for the World Youth Championship qualifiers early next year, complete their five-match tour of South America with an international friendly against Chile on Friday.
Against Uruguay, Australia showed the more enterprise with Billy Celeski and Stuart Musialik both having early strikes on goal. Uruguay came back strongly to take the lead on 33 minutes through, and six minutes later that margin was doubled via a well placed header. Two minutes before the interval Australia pulled a goal back when Musialik placed his shot into the top corner following a neat attacking move. Uruguay secured the win in the 78th minute courtesy of an indirect free-kick from 20-metres. With ten minutes to go Australia were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of substitute Jay Lucas for a second bookable offence. Matt Danskin was replaced at half-time by fellow West Australian Nick Ward.
The first half of the clash with Argentina was a tame affair with neither team making many inroads into their opponents third of the field. Ten minutes into the second half Kristian Sarkies opened the scoring with a spectacular free-kick from 25-metres, and when Mark Bridge put away Australia’s second goal in the 76th minute the game looked over. However, just four minutes later the hosts reduced the gap by converting a deep cross played to the far post. Argentina then upped the pace and four minutes into stoppage time equalised with the ball being slotted home from close-range after a goalmouth scramble. Danskin and Ward started the game on the bench and came on in the 80th and 85th minutes respectively.
DEFENSIVE LAPSES COSTS AUSTRALIA AGAINST NORWAY
Australia has drawn 2-2 with Norway in this morning’s international friendly at Craven Cottage in London. While it was an encouraging performance by Australia the result was somewhat disappointing given both Norway’s goals were the result of sloppy defending and came against the run of play. It wasn’t until the closing stages of the first half that the game came to life, Norway prising open the opposing defence as Magne Hoset’s low shot was parried by Mark Schwarzer and an unmarked Steffan Iversen tapped in from 2-metres. Australia were not to be denied though as Marco Bresciano’s delicate chip into the box was brilliantly put away by Tim Cahill.
Right from the start of the second half Australia made its intentions clear as they went straight on the attack. Cahill should have had his second goal four minutes in when presented with a free header from 9-metres which he somehow nodded over the crossbar. But six minutes later Lucas Neill combined with Mark Viduka inside the penalty area and Josip Skoko drilled his low shot past goalkeeper Thomas Myhre. But just when Australia’s confidence was growing the Norwegian’s hit back through a Morten Pedersen free-kick which somehow evaded Schwarzer. A vicious dipping strike by Danny Tiatto was narrowly high, while in the final few minutes Harry Kewell forced a fine save from Myhre to ensure the teams ended level.
ANXIOUS WAIT FOR AUSTRALIAN GIRLS
Despite thrashing Thailand 5-0, the Young Matilda’s face an anxious two day wait before finding out whether there’s a place for them in the quarter-finals of the Under-19 Women’s World Championship. Australia started brightly with Collette McCallum’s speculative shot after 10 minute giving them the lead. McCallum doubled the gap in the 19th minute via a free-kick from 22-metres, and seven minutes later Thidarat Wiwasukhu turned a low centre by Selin Kuralay into her own net to make it three-nil. Kylie Ledbrook struck with a low drive from 22-metres to further increase Australia’s advantage just before the break.
The second half was ten minutes old when Kuralay nipped in ahead of the ‘keeper to stab a looping shot into the net. Midway through the half Thailand came close to pegging back the gap through Junpen Seesraum whose effort from distance was saved by Alison Logue. Further chances came the way of McCallum, Kuralay and substitute Jenna Tristram but neither were able to find a way past Kanyawee Sudtavee. The result gave Australia third place in Group A but they’ll now await the outcome of other games to see if they qualify for the last eight as one of the two best third-placed sides.
MURPHY WELCOMED INTO WASA FAMILY (courtesy www.wasa.org.au)
The game’s newly peak body, the Western Australian Soccer Association, has appointed Angela Murphy to its administration staff. Acknowledged in local circles as the organising force behind Soccer West Coast, Murphy brings to WASA nine years experience in soccer administration and competition coordination. Her knowledge and background auger well for the soccer community as Murphy’s existing links with clubs throughout the metropolitan area will ensure continuity as WASA becomes established. Murphy’s new role of Administration Coordinator, which encompasses the overseeing of competitions, the dissemination of information to clubs and the coordination of publications and functions, commences in December.
FIRST ELEVEN SPOT FOR LAZARIDIS
Stan Lazaridis is the surprise inclusion in Australia’s starting line-up for this evenings friendly international with Norway in London. A regular for the Socceroos over the past decade, the Perth-born wing back missed the recent Oceania Nations Cup tournament through a thigh injury that sidelined him for two months. Although he’s returned to first team duty at Birmingham City, Lazaridis has not completed a full game since making his comeback. But national coach Frank Farina has no doubts over Lazaridis’ commitment and ability, saying the 32-year old always steps up when wearing the green and gold. “Stan has had a couple of games back now for Birmingham and he trained well so he deserves a start,” said Farina on the eve of hte game. “He’s that sort of go forward player and gives us that real attacking option on the left hand side, especially from deep. It’s good to see that he’s back because he’s had a bit of a tough trot.” Lazaridis will be seeking his first international goal in his 54th ‘A’ appearance for Australia.
NEW STRUCTURE FOR MEN’S COMPETITIONS
There’ll be some significant changes to the men’s game when season 2005 kicks off. The new competition structures made public by the Western Australian Soccer Association include the application of stricter criteria for the major leagues, a new knock-out Cup open to all senior teams, and a league-wide system of promotion and relegation. In keeping with the previous administrations WASA have split the leagues into semi-professional, who play on Saturday, and amateurs, who compete on Sunday.
The Saturday State Premier League, which replaces Soccer West Coast’s top flight, will consist of ten or twelve teams based upon the meeting of criteria. Preference is to be given to existing SWC Premier League clubs along with First Division champions Armadale. It is compulsory for all clubs in this league to field senior, reserve and under-18 teams as well as those in all five levels of the Junior Champions League (under-11 through to under-15).
Recognising the need to reduce the size of the current First Division, WASA propose a twelve or fourteen team Saturday First Division. However, that number may be as large as sixteen should all existing SWC First Division clubs apply for and meet the criteria for entry. All clubs will be required to field senior, reserve and under-18 teams with preference given to those who also enter teams in the Junior Development League, which replaced the First Division JCL.
Western Australia will have a new third tier competition with the introduction of the Sunday State League. This competition is designed as pathway for clubs from amateur to semi-professional status, and vice versa. The ten or twelve club competition is open to SWC First Division clubs looking to re-establish themselves along with WAASSA sides who desire to take their game to the next level. Clubs will be required to field senior and reserve teams only.
The Sunday Premier League replaces the top flight of the WAASSA competition. Clubs in the ten or twelve team league will be required to field senior and reserve teams. Sitting under this are the remaining Sunday amateur leagues - Division One, Two, Three, etc - along with Social and Masters competitions. It is envisioned all amateur leagues will consist of ten or twelve teams.
One of the most welcomed developments is the introduction of an ‘FA Cup’ style knockout competition. Entry will be compulsory for all semi-professional Saturday teams, Sunday State and Premier League and First Division clubs. For teams outside those leagues entry is voluntary. The logistics of organising this new Cup competition is still being reviewed and it may not be until 2006 that a full version is implemented.
A new system of promotion and relegation has been adopted for all leagues whereby clubs are able to progress from Sunday competition to Saturday fixturing, and vice versa. For more details of the league structures for 2005, information for clubs on how they apply for entry to the new competitions, and deadlines for application to the new league visit the Western Australian Soccer Association website.
WAVES WASTEFUL AGAINST ADELAIDE
Adelaide Sensation spoiled the Western Waves’ party by triumphing 1-0 under light at Members Equity Stadium last night. It was a disappointing end for the Waves who were out to end their shortened debut season undefeated on home soil. The hosts created by far the greater number of opportunities of which they were unable to capitalise upon, while Sensation pinched a goal against the flow of play to move into third position on the Women’s National Soccer League table.
Making her first starting appearance of the campaign, Lisa De Vanna proved a constant menace for her former teammates who did well to prevent the striker from getting within range of goal. Even so, De Vanna combined well with strike partner Ciara Conway but the closest she came to netting was a header that beat the goalkeeper and flew wide. The visitors took the lead in the 21st minute when the Waves rearguard failed to deal with a dangerous cross and Danielle Barbiero rocketed a superb first time shot past Nadia Perica from 10-metres.
There were few highlights in a second half that saw the Waves continually held at bay by a well organised Sensation line-up whose goal it was to protect their slender lead. The hosts did break through on several occasions via long balls into attack which found De Vanna, but her best chance to level the game was thwarted by ‘keeper Emma Wirkus who spread herself well in the one-on-one. With nine minutes remaining Sensation almost bagged a second goal but Barbiero hit the post in a one-on-one with Perica.
SAWA MAKE POSITION CLEAR
A number of resolutions were passed at last weeks board meeting of the Soccer Association of Western Australia (SAWA) aimed at speeding the process of reformation. Top of the list for SAWA, who previously administered the game, was to formally recognise the Western Australian Soccer Association (WASA) as the legitimate governing body for all aspects of the code in this state. WASA, which was established to unify and preside over local soccer, are a constituted member of the Australian Soccer Association and are therefore aligned with the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). “We now encourage all members of the soccer community to affiliate to WASA,” said Peter Koulizos, president of SAWA.
Also passed by majority vote was a resolution preventing Soccer West Coast, the WA Amateur and Social Soccer Association, the Junior Soccer Association, Women’s Soccer WA or any other local association from representing SAWA in any context without the full support of every SAWA board member representing these associations or affiliates, and that any communication must meet with the majority vote at a properly constituted SAWA board meeting. Further to that it was voted in that communication between SAWA and local clubs be directed and delivered by Koulizos. “We believe that it is not correct for any individual, club or association to utilise SAWA as a means of trying to influence clubs decisions,” added the SAWA president.
GERMANY TOO STRONG FOR YOUNG MATILDAS
Quality finishing was the difference as Germany ran out 4-0 winners over the Young Matildas in last night’s Group A fixture of the Under-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand. Within 4 minutes of the opening whistle the Germans had the lead as Celia Okoyino Da Mbabi looped a brilliant shot over the goalkeeper. Australia slowly found their feet as Collette McCallum rifled high from 30-metres and Selin Kuralay was denied by the legs of the ‘keeper. Germany’s second goal arrived in the 26th minute when Anja Mittag converted under pressure inside the 18-yard box.
The teams traded shots in the second half which saw Catherine Cannuli twice go close for Australia while at the opposite end it was Mittag and Karolin Thomas. The 73rd minute produced Germany’s third goal when poor defending allowed Mittag to net at her second attempt. Five minutes from the end the German's added a fourth goal through Anna Blaesse who made no mistake at close-range. The loss leaves Australia requiring a big win in their final group stage match against Thailand to have a chance of making the quarter-finals. Canada thrashed Thailand 7-0 in the other Group A match.
DEANS JOINS NEWCASTLE
Newcastle United have secured the services of local boy Craig Deans for the inaugural A-League season. The 30-year old defender is one of five signings announced by the Jets, the others being goalkeeper Liam Reddy, Andrew Durante, Nick Carle and Australian international Ante Milicic. “Signing players of this caliber is a sign that Newcastle United is serious about being number one in the Hyundai A-League,” said Remo Nogarotto, the clubs’ football director. Deans made 109 appearances in the previous national competition for Perth Glory, Carlton and Newcastle United. On the local front he’s turned out for Queens Park, Bassendean Caledonian, Floreat Athena and the Western Knights.
WA IN RUNNING FOR SENIOR INTERNATIONALS
Perth is back on soccer's senior international agenda after ten years in the cold. And a full strength Socceroo team could be strutting their stuff at Members Equity Stadium as early as next March. The last senior international match to be staged on the west coast was in 1995 when Australia played Ghana at the WACA Ground. Australian Soccer Association chief executive John O'Neill has confirmed the governing body are ready to showcase the Socceroos in WA again. "The likelihood that Perth will get a Socceroos game is very high now that we have a proper match schedule," he said yesterday. "It's certainly in our thinking." O'Neill said any of the proposed matches against Asian opponents in March and October as well as the World Cup qualifier against the Solomon Islands in September could be held in Perth.
McCALLUM MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME (courtesy www.australiansoccer.com.au)
Thailand 2004 should have been Collette McCallum’s second appearance at a FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship. A key player and certain selection for the squad that competed at the inaugural event in Canada, the midfielder was tragically ruled out of contention by a serious knee injury that required reconstruction surgery. The injury happened at the Young Matilda’s training camp in Queensland in July 2002 - little more than a week before the final team announcement.
Back in her hometown of Perth after previously having spent time living in Sydney, the then 16-year-old had to cope with the major disappointment and long rehabilitation far distant from the populous women’s soccer community over in the eastern States. “It was pretty difficult to overcome that,” recalled McCallum. “I was only sixteen and really excited about going to the world championship. In the end, I was okay by focusing on other things like school. I was really disappointed but I thought ‘I’m only sixteen, I’ll come back for 2004’ - that’s what drove me on.”
As if that wasn’t tough enough on McCallum, the Western Australian then had to endure a second reconstruction a year ago, this time on her left knee, suffered in training with Women’s National Soccer League outfit Adelaide Sensation. The second time round had an even greater affect on McCallum as it ruled her out of consideration for Australia’s 2004 Olympic Games squad. “I knew I did it again for sure,” she explained. “The physio said maybe it’s only cartilage, but I knew I’d done it again. That one really killed me.”
“I felt like saying I’m not doing this anymore but afterwards I got over it okay,” McCalum said. “I thought if I came through the first one, then I can do it again. If it takes seven to ten months, I’ll be okay. It was difficult, but I had really good support - mum and dad came over (to Adelaide) when they heard what happened. My goal was I could have made the Olympics. If I didn’t do my knee people said I would’ve been asked into camp, so that brought me down. But at eighteen, I thought ‘Well, the Olympics are always going to be there, I’ve got time’.”
Thankfully, McCallum recovered in time for Thailand and is so pleased to have finally made it to a major event. The opening game was played on 10th November, a year to the day since her second reconstruction surgery. “I’m really happy to be here, after all the work going through rehabilitation twice. It’s a really good feeling to be in the team now, and keep working hard and do my job. It’s really exciting because I know what this level is like now. I want to show that Australia is the team to beat we’ve got such a good team, but we didn’t show that against Canada. There’s so much talent in our side - we can do really well.”
Despite scoring Australia’s first goal of the campaign, Wednesday’s opening match against Canada didn’t go according to plan for Australia. Two quick goals from Brittany Timko and an ordinary Australian first-half meant the side team went down 2-1. “To be honest, I was a bit nervous,” McCallum commented. “I didn’t know what to expect, what the level was like. But now seeing Canada, I didn’t think they were particularly great. But we were all nervous, not confident to play our game. We didn’t settle, we weren’t really ready for the game, we weren’t prepared properly mentally.”
It means this evenings clash against Germany, one of the tournament favourites, is a crunch match for Australia. However, the lofty reputation of the European’s doesn’t faze McCallum. “We need to focus on the back four playing as a unit which we didn’t do against Canada. We need to be comfortable on the ball, not hesitate, and be confident in the team and in ourselves, like ‘We can do this’. The strikers’ movement is another thing, and the team’s movement and communication. Hearing things about Germany, I think we can do really well against them and Thailand and go through to the quarterfinals if we just play our game, keep our heads up and not be negative about anything.”
AFFILIATE AND COMPETE
Hot on the heels of the major announcements that have come out of the Australian Soccer Association in relation to the new national league, soccer on the local front continues to move forward under the guidance of the Western Australian Soccer Association. WASA has now released documentation outlining the frameworks required by clubs to become affiliated with the unified organisation along with details as to how clubs gain entry to a competition structure that is designed to be a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
"This has been a very busy period for us as we have tried to interpret a large number of views and balance them against the need to review our entire competition structure across 2005," said WASA Liaison Officer Richard Scott this week. "We have had the help and assistance of many clubs and individuals who have ensured that we have struck a reasonable balance in moving soccer forward in 2005 and beginning to break down some of the problems we have inherited."
"We have now provided the information clubs have been asking for," Scott added. "They are able to affiliate immediately and consider team entries within the new competitions. We have considerable commitment from clubs and look forward to welcoming them all on board." WASA are now gearing up to handle all day-to-day competition issues from a single office, thus ensuring clubs benefit from improvements in operational administration. To learn how your club can become affiliated with WASA, and to view the new competition structures, visit www.wasa.org.au .
FINAL ROLL OF THE DICE FOR WAVES
The Western Waves debut season in the Women's National Soccer League comes to a close this evening when they take on Adelaide Sensation under lights at Members Equity Stadium (7.00pm start). The two teams sit level in mid-table with five points and last weekend both had to be content with a share of the points with Victoria Vision. Olympians Tal Karp and Lisa De Vanna have been inspirational in the Waves recent outings and will play a big role as the team attempt to end their home campaign without defeat. Standing in their way, however, is one-time Australia goalkeeper Luisa Marzotto while at the opposite end of the park Vicki Balomenos is sure to keep the home defence on high alert.
DANZE MAKES SENIOR PALACE DEBUT
Anthony Danze came up against some pretty daunting opponents when he made his first team debut for Crystal Palace this week. With a handful of reserve team appearances under his belt, the talented 20-year old found himself promoted to the starting eleven for the League Cup showdown with English giants Manchester United at Old Trafford. Wearing the No.24 shirt, Danze played the openinghalf of Palace's 0-2 loss in which he found himself face to face with the likes of Wes Brown, Phil Neville, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Quinton Fortune and Louis Saha. It's been a remarkable rise for Danze who just a matter of months ago was strutting his stuff on the local scene for Inglewood United.
YOUTH TEAM TRIALS AT BAYSWATER
Bayswater City has successfully completed its first year back in the Premier League and are already looking forward to building upon this success in season 2005. An open invitation to quality players born between 1987 and 1990 is extended to attend trials for the clubs' Under-18 team for next season. Trials will be held at Frank Drago Reserve (corner Whatley Crescent and Garratt Road) in Bayswater on Saturdays 20th and 27th November. Players are asked to be in attendance by 8.30am for a 9.00am start (11.00am finish) and are required to wear their shorts, soccer boots and shin guards and must bring a drink. If are interested in trialling for our Bayswater's youth team please contact first team coach Salv Todaro (0414 696 807 or 9427 1442) or secretary Vicky Licata (9316 8060) for further details.
CANADA DOWN YOUNG MATILDA'S IN WORLD CUP OPENER
A dramatic 1-2 loss to highly-rated Canada has opened Australia's campaign at the Under-19 Women's World Championship in Thailand. In oppressive heat and humidity it was Canada who settled the better and caused problems for the Australian defence through some great movement off the ball. It came as no surprise then that Canada went ahead in the 14th minute through Brittany Timko who benfitted from confusion in the Australian defence to tap in from 10-metres. Five minutes later the margin became two goals as Timko's fantastic first-time strike from the edge of the area curled into the roof of the net. The Young Matilda's stormed back into the match searching to pull a goal back but were unable to break down a confident opposing defence.
The introduction of Kylie Ledbrook, Leah Blayney and Julia Bazi reinvigorated the Australian line-up for the second half. Within four minutes of the restart Selin Kuralay wrongfooted her marker on the right to cut the ball into the area where Collette McCallum drove it into the roof of the net at the back post. While the momentum remained with Australia for the remainder of the game their chances were dealt a cruel blow with the 69th minute dismissal of goalkeeper Alison Logue for handling the ball outside of her area. Fighting hard right up to the final whitsle, Sally Shipard almost put the Young Matilda's back on level terms with six minutes to go with a fierce low shot from distance which goalkeeper Stacey Van Boxmeer did well to push wide. Australia's next outing is against Germany, who thumped Thailand 6-0 in their opening match, on Sunday.
LAZARIDIS RE-CALLED TO SOCCEROOS
Local product Stan Lazaridis is one of six players recalled to the national squad for next week's friendly against Norway. Marco Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Scott Chipperfield, Lazaridis, Danny Tiatto and Mark Viduka are all back in contention having missed Australia's Confederations Cup qualifiers against the Solomon Islands last month due to injury. "It's going to be great having these players back in the squad," said coach Frank Farina. "It is very competitive for places in the team so some tough decisions will have to be made but we'll be putting the best possible team out on the park." The game will be broadcast on Wednesday morning by SBS TV with a full replay scheduled for that night.
The twenty-player Socceroo squad to play Norway is Scott Chipperfield, Mile Sterjovski (Basel), Stan Lazaridis (Birmingham City), Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers), Ahmad Elrich (Busan I'Cons, Korea), Tony Vidmar (Cardiff City), Tony Popovic (Crystal Palace), Tim Cahill (Everton), Steve Laybutt (KAA Ghent), Josip Skoko (Genclerbirligi), Danny Tiatto (Leicester City), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Mark Viduka, Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Kevin Muscat (Millwall), Jonathan McKain (National Bucuresti), Marco Bresciano, Vince Grella (Parma) and Zeljko Kalac (Perugia).
ROLES OPEN UP AT COCKBURN
Cockburn City are seeking expressions of interest for the role of Under-18's coach, goalkeeping coach and sports trainer (physiotherapist) for the 2005 season. In addition, the southern suburbs club are on the look out for a director of juniors and junior coaches for all teams. Interested parties are asked to contact by mail P.O. Box 176, Hamilton Hill, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , fax 9949 2088 or by telephoning Sue Potter (0401 340 157) or Frank Da Silva (0408 948 533).
GOOD START BY YOUNG SOCCEROOS
The Young Socceroos have made a positive start to their five-match tour of South America. Draws this week with Chilean club sides Colo Colo and Universidad Catolica should put the Australian Under-20 team in the right frame of mind for next weeks international friendlies against Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. The trip is part of the Young Socceroo's preparation for the World Youth Championship qualifiers being held early next year in the Solomon Islands.
The Young Socceroos kicked-off with a 1-1 draw against the Colo Colo Under-20 team on Sunday. The result carried a distinct West Australian flavor with Nick Ward heading in a cross from Matt Danskin for the late equaliser. Wearing black armbands in memory of Johnny Warren, Australia dominated possession with Frank Lagana, Mark Bridge and Chris Tadrosse all going close to getting the breakthrough. But the opening goal would come against the run of play and via a superbly struck free-kick four minutes from the break. Both West Australian's started the game on the bench, Danskin coming on at half-time and Ward introduced after 70 minutes.
Chilean club Universidad Catolica provided the opposition for the Young Socceroos on Wednesday when the teams ended locked on nil-all. The match followed a similar pattern the tour opener with Australia unable to make the most of their take increased possession. Australia forced the pace in the second half as Stuart Musialik and Nick Ward each tested the Universidad goalkeeper, while Jay Lucas could have won the game in the dying minutes but fired wide from close-range. Danskin played the opening 62 minutes after which he was replaced by Ward.
RODGERS AT THE DOUBLE
South West Phoenix striker David Rodgers was glad he made the long trip to Perth on Saturday. The midfielder with an eye for goal made a clean sweep of the First Division awards at Soccer West Coast's annual presentation night, Rodgers returning to Bunbury with the trophies as the league's Player of the Year and Leading Goalscorer. "It was certainly worth the trip," said the 26-year old who made a 360km round trip to be there on the night. "It's not easy traveling for more than two and a half hours every second week to play but we've got a great team of players and coaches who make it all worthwhile. It's been a fantastic year for us as a club, and to win these awards is the icing on the cake for my season."
Phoenix' fourth season in the league was their best to date with the side bettering even their own pre-seasons expectations by claiming fourth on the final table. "Our strength is that we've been able to keep the same core group of players together for a few years now," Rodgers commented. "We also have some very talented young players coming through at the club and they've added considerably to our depth which in turn keeps competition for places healthy. We'll continue to grow and develop as a club and one day maybe Phoenix will take their place in the Premier League."
Rodgers first taste of State League football came while still a teenager and wearing the colours of Ashfield/Bunbury in 1998. When that alliance came to an end he opted to play for South West Phoenix in their debut season, while the following year saw his return to the top flight with Fremantle City. Rodgers returned to Phoenix ranks last year when his superb ball playing skills took him to joint third in the Player of the Year award. He bettered that this year by scoring 35 goals and polling in sixteen of his clubs twenty-seven games played to runaway with the award.
GLORY BACK FOOTBALL MOVE
Nick Tana has thrown his support behind moves for soccer to establish itself in Australia as 'football'. "We believe that the name belongs to the round ball game," said Tana, chairman of Perth Glory. "It's known as football worldwide." The Australian Soccer Association yesterday confirmed they would drop soccer from it's current moniker to reflect the games place in the global sporting market. Tana , chairman of Perth Glory, said the club would be prepared to change their name to Perth Glory Football Club.
SAQ IS COMING
SAQ is the internationally recognised qualification held by hundreds of the most successful coaches, conditioners and trainers working at the foremost clubs and national bodies throughout the world. Their programs emphasis the importance of agility training to equip athletes with the best methods and techniques for increased quickness, speed, control and movement. Agility training also has many other benefits including a reduced risk of injury and improved body awareness. Local coaches, conditioners, trainers and players are invited to attend SAQ's Preliminary Award course at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday 30th January.
The one day course covers identifying of the role of a structured warm-up, explaining the basic coaching points and drills in relation to the mechanics of movement, understanding the concept of the 'Accumulation of Potential' and addressing its application, identifying the role of activities that develop multi-directional explosive speed, agility and quickness, describe sport and movement specific activities which allow for the 'Expression of Potential' and identifying the role of a warm down within a coaching session. To register your interest in the upcoming course download an application form, or for further details Fabio Macolino on (02) 9531 4499 or email@example.com or phone Mark Lee on (08) 9383 9911.
WINDMILLS STEP UP HUNT FOR COACHING STAFF
The hunt has intensified as Morley Windmills look to strengthen their coaching team for season 2005. The First Division club invite applications for Reserve and Under-18 team coaches for next year. In recognising the need to add to their depth Windmills are focused on develeping young players to ensure the clubs' future success. Interested parties can submit their resume to Karl Hofstee, c/o Morley Windmills, PO Box 1177, Morley WA 6943. Applications close on Friday 26th November, 2004.
COACHING THE NEXT PIECE IN THE JIGSAW (courtesy www.wasa.org.au )
The Western Australia Soccer Association have commenced two key actions aimed at kick starting the development of soccer in this state. The first is the placement of advertisements for a State Education and Development Manager, a position instrumental in the design and implementation of a statewide development plan encompassing clubs, coaches, players and officials. The second strategy is the appointment of three founding members of the Interim Coaches Standing Committee which follows a lengthy consultation process with the games' stakeholders. Their first task will be to identify four or five additional members to ensure the interests of the whole state can be looked at.
Newly appointed WASA chief executive officer Michelle Phillips believes the role of the State Education and Development Manager is crucial to the future success of the game. "This position will be my first major signing," she said. "My brief overview of development in WA shows that it is essential to introduce someone with the skills and experience to introduce and deliver a plan covering both metropolitan and regional WA for all areas of soccer. As we've cast our net wide we anticipate a huge response but are unlikely to rush the process of recruitment and anticipate an appointment in the first quarter of the New Year."
The founding Interim Coaches Standing Committee consists of Peter Rickers, Paul Wozny and Western Waves boss Alistair Edwards. "This initiative by WASA builds on the excellent work undertaken by Dave Coward and his predecessors," said Rickers. "It will begin the process of organizing and structuring coaches and player development across the state. For the coaching community this definitely sets us upon a much needed, overdue and welcome pathway." WASA are in the process of appointing additional committee members and hope to announce coaching courses shortly. One of the long term goals of the committee is the establishment of a full coaching database for the entire state.
WAIS TO RE-CONSIDER SOCCER
The widespread reform of soccer has given the code a genuine opportunity of returning to the West Australian Institute of Sport. Soccer's record with WAIS is not good with venture in the 1980's and 1990's both failing. But the rejuvenation of the code under the guidance of the Australian Soccer Association along with the government-backed local restructure has put WAIS back on the agenda. It is understood the ASA will submit a proposal for soccer to return to the Institute's program next week. WAIS director Steve Lawrence said soccer's return would not have been considered had the sport not made positive governance and administrative changes.
As WAIS have already allocated funding for the next four years, finances for the project could prove a stumbling block. But Lawrence said alternative funding streams would be considered if soccer's proposal was strong enough. "If it's a really good plan there's nothing to stop us talking to sponsors and going back to the Government," he said. John Boultbee, head of high performance with the ASA, indicated the national body would be willing to provide some funding assistance. "We are prepared to put our money where our mouth is," commented Boultbee, who regards Institute programs as of vital importance in soccer's new structure.
YOUNG BECOMES GLORY'S FIRST RECRUIT
Dual championship winner Stuart Young has become Perth Glory's first signing for the inaugural A-League season. In five seasons with Wollongong Wolves Young was one of the games most feared strikers, scoring 60 goals in 130 appearances and a key member of the clubs championship winning teams of 1999/2000 and 2000/2001. Young started his career as a junior with Arsenal before making over 100 senior appearances for Hull City, Northampton Town, Scarborough and Scunthrope United. Three years in Singapore with Woodlands Wellington and Home United, for whom he topped the goalscoring tables with 32 goals, preceded Young joining the Wolves in 1999. The 31-year old has agreed to a two-year deal with Glory who are currently negotiating with a number of local, national and international based players ahead of the A-League season which kicks off next August.
POINTS SLIP FROM WAVES GRASP
Western Waves had to settle for a share of the points after Victoria Vision grabbed a late equaliser in this afternoon's Women's National Soccer League meeting at Members Equity Stadium. The Waves enjoyed the better of play throughout the game with some well crafted attacks, while the visitors responded with only the occasional counter-attack. Against the run of play Vision claimed the lead after 24 minute when Anthea Vardakas' free-kick was met by Sarah Fitzgerald whose header deceived the goalkeeper Nadia Perica, hit the inside of the post and bobbling over the line. The introduction of Lisa De Vanna ten minutes later sparked the hosts into life and shortly after she crossed into the area where Ciara Conway beat the Melissa Barbieri only to have her header crash into the crossbar.
The second half was four minutes old when De Vanna equalised, turning with the ball to shrug off two opponents before blasting past the 'keeper and into the bottom corner of goal. Tal Karp and Sarah Cunningham provided a steady supply of through balls from midfield which allowed De Vanna to keep up the pressure on Victoria's defence. One such pass from Cunningham put the lively attacker through with only Barbieri to beat and De Vanna gobbled up the opportunity to hand the Waves the advantage with little over twenty minutes left. Barbieri kept her side in the game with several good saves before substitute Leigh Terek brought the teams back on level terms, spotting Perica off her line and giving the 'keeper no chance with a stinging shot 25-metres in the 76th minute.
FEW SURPRISES ON SOCCER'S NIGHT OF NIGHTS
Soccer West Coast farewelled season 2004 at a gala event at the Perth Italian Club last night. Representatives from all twenty seven Premier League and First Division clubs were amongst the 400 past and present players, coaches, referees and administrators who celebrated the season that was and pay tribute to the years achievers. 19-year old Stirling Lions midfielder Nick Ward enhanced his growing reputation by taking out the state's highest individual honour, the Gold Medal. Terry Ward accepted the medal on behalf of his son who is currently on international duty in South America with the Australian Under-20 squad.
Ward's tally of 29 votes were drawn from eleven games and included eight best on ground performances. 24 votes gave Swan I.C. striker David Foster second place ahead of Greg Sharland of Inglewood United on 22 votes. Tied in fourth place on 21 votes were Garia Faria (Fremantle City) and attacker Kevin Griffiths (Bassendean Caledonian). Perth S.C. defencer Aaron Cole was next on 19 votes which was one more than Jamie Kuzmanovich (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Simon Harland (Sorrento). Cockburn City teammates Antonio Naglieri and Liam Lilly polled 17 and 15 votes respectively with Daniel Trim (Western Knights) and Todd Howarth (Perth) close behind with 13 votes each. Scottish import Ross Barnes (Bayswater City), and Floreat Athena pair Troy Bernard and Andreas Oliveira who were a further vote off the pace.
17-year old Andrija Jukic established himself as an integral part of the Western Knights midfield over the winter months and was a deserved recipient of the Rookie of the Year. Also in the running for the award were Jukic's teammate John Thornley, Rhys Williams (E.C.U. Joondalup) and promising defender Danyal Bennett (Swan I.C.) whose season was interrupted by injury. One-time Australian youth international Vince Matassa, who played the winter months with Stirling Lions, was named Goalkeeper of the Year from a field which also included Tommi Tomich (Knights) and Phil Straker (Sorrento). In his final outing for Swan I.C., Elton Holmes won the man of the match award for a sterling performance in the Boral Cup Final. The award for Referee of the Year was taken home by Angelo Nardi who was up against Michael Klaver, Patrick McCaffrey, Steve Muldoon and Jeremy Oliphant.
Early pacesetter Nikita Ruravytsya of Perth S.C. held on to win the Premier League Reserves Player of the Year. With one game remaining the award could have gone to any one of three players. In the end 18 votes were enough to give Ruravytsya top honours, Morgan Dendle (Inglewood United) was one vote behind with Simon Trinca (Perth) and Erik Kuzmar (Bassendean Caledonian) tying for third place on 16 votes. Next were Michael Baczynski (Inglewood) and Matt Donlevy (Sorrento) with 12 votes who ended one ahead of Fremantle City teammates Jason Barrera and Luke Myburg. E.C.U. Joondalup midfielder Darren Broxton polled 10 votes. Western Knights pair Robert Pedri and Nathan Grego, Tyrone Fenwick (Fremantle), Michael Filippou (Stirling Lions) and James Houston (Sorrento) finished the season level on 9 votes.
A superb second half of the year enabled Cockburn City's Fraser Marr to take home the trophy as the Premier League Under-18's Player of the Year. Marr polled 24 votes to come from behind and win the award from Sorrento attacker Michael Johnson whose tally was 20 votes. Phillip Clarke (Floreat Athena) scored third place with 18 votes. Chris Herd (Bayswater City), Ben Howe (Fremantle City) and Kevin Caroma (E.C.U. Joondalup) were one vote behind and followed on 16 votes by another Joondalup player in Rhys Williams. 14 votes were allocated to Kibrom Hailemariam (Perth S.C.), 13 votes went to Rad Pelemis (Swan I.C.) and level with 12 votes each were John Aitken and Stewart Hartman (both Joondalup) and Conor Mahady from Swan.
David Foster had a terrific debut season for Swan I.C. where his 16 goals gave the 20-year old the Golden Boot. Kevin Correia, in his comeback from long-term injury, netted 14 times for Fremantle City to finished as the Premier League's second highest goalscorer. Western Knights captain Carl Medica and Bobby Despotovski (Inglewood United) completed the season with 13 goals along with midfielder Antonio Naglieri (Cockburn City). Nikita Ruravytsya (Perth S.C.) was the runaway winner of the Reserves Leading Goalscorer award with 26 goals. Luke Myburg (Fremantle) was a distant second on 14 goals, which was one more than Jonathan Greenwood (E.C.U. Joondalup). The Under-18's Leading Goalscorer trophy was taken out by Sorrento young gun Michael Johnson who snared 23 goals. Radivoje Pelemis (Swan) netted 13 times to snare second place, with Kevin Carmona (Joondalup) in third spot on 12 goals.
David Rodgers was the runaway winner of the First Division Player of the Year award. The 26-year old South West Phoenix player polled 41 votes - which included an astonishing ten best on grounds - to finish ten votes clear of runner-up Christian Pascherwitz (Mandurah City). Leeming Strikers midfielder Phil Bell was third on 28 votes followed by Scott Bulloch (Wanneroo City) with 25 votes and Queens Park's Ray Rose whose final tally was 23 votes. Paul Colkin of champions Armadale and Rydeen Botha from Morley Windmills ended in joint sixth place with 20 votes which was one more than Glen Hallums (Rockingham City). Balcatta teammates David Moschilla and Danny Carlino were next with 16 votes apiece. Armadale sharp-shooter Greg Newcombe was allocated 15 votes.
The First Division Reserves Fairest and Best was shared by Nigel Mann (Canning City) and Carlos Almeida (Rockingham City). The pair went vote for vote all season, each polling in thirteen games to end the year locked together with 31 votes. Another Canning player, striker Harin Rajeswaren, was runner-up with 23 votes. In third place with 22 votes was Paul Gibson of Leeming Strikers followed by Armadale's Darren Kingston on 20 votes with John Spill (Gosnells City) another vote behind. It was tight for the minor placings with Gino Comito (South West Phoenix) next on 18 votes, Josef Tomancak (Strikers) tallied 17 votes, and Alan Fitzmaurice (Mandurah City) finished with 16 votes. Queens Park's Luke Woodfin was ninth on 15 votes which was one more than David Dawson from Mandurah.
Balcatta's Anthony Di Lorito lead the First Division Under-18's Fairest and Best count from early on and survived a late challenge from Simon Versaico (Leeming Strikers) to win the award. Di Lorito scored 25 votes to claim top honours by a single vote over Versaico. With 21 votes and in third place was Mandurah City's Shane Connor. John Burrows (Rockingham City) polled 19 votes, two more than Daniel Trevisiol (Canning City) and Mike Hodgkinson (Wanneroo City). Allocated 14 votes was Kyle Mitsopoulos (Leeming Strikers), with Alex Vo (Gosnells City) and Mandela Abraham (Ashfield) on 13 votes. Jake Heathcote (Mandurah) and Chris Hill (Armadale) each picked up 12 votes, while Sam Jacques (Mandurah), James Monks (South West Phoenix) and Riste Kacurkov (Dianella White Eagles) ended level with 11 votes.
David Rodgers (South West Phoenix) added the First Division Leading Goalscorers trophy to his Player of the Year courtesy of a 35 goal winter. Ray Rose, who left Morley Windmills mid-season for Queens park, was runner-up with 28 goals. David Moschilla (Balcatta), Greg Newcombe (Armadale) and Christian Pascherwitz (Mandurah City) tied for third having netted 24 times each. Armadale sharp-shooter Darren Kingston won the Reserves Leading Goalscorer award with 35 goals, four more than Joseph Tomancak (Leeming Strikers). Carlos Almeida (Rockingham City) was next with 30 goals. Simon Versaico (Strikers) took home the trophy as the Under-18's Leading Goalscorer with 38 goals. Eight behind was Anthony Di Lorito (Balcatta), and Daniel Trevisiol (Canning City) came in third on 21 goals.
VALE JOHNNY WARREN
The opening round of the A-League next year will be tinged with sadness following the death of the legendary Johnny Warren today. Warren, who captained Australia to their only World Cup Finals appearance in 1974, died in Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital after a long battle with cancer. "In a personal sense and a soccer sense it's a great, great loss," said Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana. "If ever a person did it for the love of the game and not forego or selfish reasons, it was Johnny Warren. He will be sadly, sadly missed. The game will be a lot poorer, but I'm sure what he's created will leave an indelible mark."
Tana was saddened that Warren would not be around to witness Australian soccer's new era which Warren campaigned for for many years. "He pushed so hard for it," said the Glory chairman. "Nothing would have pleased him more than to be there for the first whistle of the glamour A-League. I know what it meant for him. He was so influential in changing Australian soccer from a club competition to the world game that it now is ... If ever a person did it for the love of the game and not for ego or selfish reasons, it was Johnny Warren. He will be sadly, sadly missed. The game will be a lot poorer but I'm sure what he'd created will leave an indelible mark."
Warren began his senior career at the age of sixteen with New South Wales State League side Canterbury for whom he'd play four seasons. In 1963 he moved to St. George Budapest to start a twelve year playing stint with one of the country's biggest clubs of the era. During this time St. George won three grand finals, topped the table once, were runners-up on seven occasions and won two State League cups. Between 1965 and 1974 Warren played 62 times for Australia and captained the side in two World Cup campaigns. In retirement he became the unofficial spokesman for the beautiful game in Australia through his role as a coach, television commentator and author. Warren received an MBE in 1974, was inducted into the Bicentennial (Sporting) Hall of Fame in 1988, and was in the initial intake of the Australian Soccer Hall of Fame inductees in 1999.
REFEREES TAKE THE NUMBER ONE SPOT (courtesy www.wasa.org.au )
The Western Australian Referees Commission have become the first association to accept the responsibilities of one of the Western Australian Soccer Association's Interim Standing Committees. "We are honoured that the Referees Commission are so comfortable with our ability to move soccer forward," said WASA chairman Kevin Campbell. "They have some interesting issues facing them and, as many may know, are not always popular on match days. They are however essential to the game and if the sport is to move forward match officials have to move forward as well as part of the process"
Frank Moretti, chairman of the Referees Commission, was also pleased with the outcome of discussions with WASA. "Our commission has worked hard over the past year to reunite the elements of Referees across the state," he said. "Once WASA had been formed we were keen to discuss our participation in soccer to determine what the future may hold. From the very first meeting it was obvious WASA only had the best interest of the sport in mind, and they were keen to understand our issues and begin regular dialogue. Whilst we still have some fine detail to finalise we are happy to be confirming all our referees will be involved in WASA organised competitions only from 2005 season"
CONFIDENCE BOOSTER FOR YOUNG MATILDA'S
The Young Matildas defeated Italy 3-0 in their last match before the commencement of the Under-19 Women's World Championship this week. In the first meeting between the two nations at youth level it was Australia who made their chances count. Australia took the lead in the 13th minute via Catherine Cannuli with Italy twice failing to capitalise on golden opportunities to level the game. Just before the break Selin Kuralay doubled Australia's lead. Their final goal arrived three minutes into stoppage time with Jenna Tristram converting at close-range. West Australian Collette McCallum played a full game in midfield for Australia.
GLORY FACES BIGGEST CHALLENGE (by Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian")
A revitalised Perth Glory is bracing for its toughest season yet against Australia's new breed of super clubs in the Hyundai A-League. An exodus of players overseas, and a $1.5 million salary cap in the new league which is set to start next August has put Glory in an ultra-competitive marketplace where it faces unprecedented challenges on and off the pitch. But Glory chairman Nick Tana, who has been an advocate of a new league long before Australian Soccer Association boss Frank Lowy turned it into a reality, expects Glory to assemble a squad of former players and new faces capable of continuing its challenge for honours.
Achievement in the old national league had become almost second nature to Glory which, under the leadership of former Ipswich Town striker Mich d'Avray, established itself as the country's undisputed leader. But that was before the new broom swept through the code. The dawning of what Tana described as soccer's golden era demanded that Perth Glory also usher in a new approach. Tana knows that to compete with heavyweights from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, New South Wales central coast, Queensland, Newcastle and New Zealand, the club had to approach the competition from a fresh perspective. "This will be a much tougher thing to win - much, much tougher," he said.
Having already put more than $3 million into 'old' Glory, Tana wants the club to generate new money by floating the company on the stock exchange early next year as part of its new push. The logo will also be modernised to reflect the change. It is believed Glory expects to raise about $5 million from the float and that Tana and deputy chairman David Rodwell, a South African businessman, would retain a 10% share in the club. "It's in the best interests of the club to have a broader base of shareholders. My role has always been to get it to a certain point of maturity," Tana said.
Glory has never been in a stronger position. In Member Equity Stadium, which is managed by Glory subsidiary Allia Holdings, the club is sitting on a potentially rich financial resource. Glory has a 20-year lease on the venue for which it pays $450,000 a year to the Town of Vincent and about $350,000 in running costs. While having a Super 14 rugby union team at the East Perth venue would be a boom for Glory, the venue is likely to be profitable without a rugby presence. Glory and Allia chief executive Jeff Dennis said the company was exploring several avenue of potential revenue associated with the stadium. "We already have booking through National Rugby League, concerts and a range of corporate functions," Dennis said.
Initially it will not be all smooth sailing in the new competition. Glory has not made a profit since the 1999/2000 season and anticipates running at a loss, albeit of less than $500,000, in its first year in the new league. But it expects to be profitable by the second year. Since the 2001/02 season the club has generated income of between $5 million and $6.5 million a year, of which gate receipts have accounted for 35% and sponsorship about 40%. Expenditure though has been between $6 million and $7 million a year, 60% of which has been spent on football operations - salaries, physiotherapy, insurance and other items.
"Perth Glory stopped being profitable because the league was being strangled by the inefficiency of soccer in this country," said Dennis. "We were prepared to keep investing in the game to achieve that goal of establishing a soccer culture here." Australian Soccer Association chief executive John O'Neill said a sponsorship of more than $10 million over four years from Korean car manufacturer Hyundia and a broadcast deal with Fox Sports had helped put the A-League on a solid footing.
LOAN DEAL FOR JONES
Blackpool have completed the loan signing of Australian youth international Brad Jones from Middlesbrough. The 22-year old shot-stopper has joined the Seasiders until the end of the English League One season. Jones is no stranger to Bloomfield Road having spent just over a month at the club twelve months ago. During his previous spell with the club Jones made seven appearances for in which he kept five clean sheets before being recalled by 'Boro. Allocated the No.31 shirt, he goes straight into the Blackpool squad which faces Chesterfield this weekend.
WAVES SET SIGHTS ON SECOND WIN
Western Waves will be focused on maintaining their perfect home record when Victoria Vision call by Members Equity Stadium this Sunday (4.00pm kick-off). The Waves have impressed many in their inaugural Women's National Soccer League season and on their home debut a fortnight ago scored their first ever win in the competition courtesy of a second half goal from Stacey Woodfin. Vision head to Perth in search of their first win of the season following a scoreless draw with Adelaide Sensation and a 0-4 loss to Northern New South Wales Pride. Possessing a combination of experienced campaigners and youthful talent the visitors main strength is team captain and Australian international goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.
GOLD MEDAL UP FOR GRABS
The Soccer West Coast season officially comes to a close tomorrow evening with 44th Annual Awards ceremony at the Italian Club. The centre piece of the night will be the local games' top individual honour - the Gold Medal - which is awarded to the Premier League's fairest and best player. Amongst the favourites for the award are Nick Ward (Stirling Lions), Antonio Naglieri (Cockburn City) and Gary Faria (Fremantle City) along with defenders Aaron Cole and Jason William who ply their trade at Perth S.C. and Western Knights respectively. Also expected to poll strongly are Robbie Puca (Perth), Daniel Trim (Knights), Keith Brown (E.C.U. Joondalup), David Foster (Swan I.C.) and Sorrento teammates Brad Hassell and Danny Hill. The dark horse of the field is Bayswater City's Scottish import Ross Barnes.
Competition is intense for the Rookie of the Year award which is likely to be fought out between Andrija Jukic (Western Knights), Liam Lilly (Cockburn City), David Miceveski (Perth S.C.), Danyal Bennett (Floreat Athena) and Paul Vlachou (Floreat Athena). Tommi Tomich (Western Knights) is the red hot favourite to go home with the Goalkeeper of the Year trophy ahead of Vince Matassa (Stirling Lions) and Oliver Taseski (Inglewood United). The honour of First Division Player of the Year appears to be between Armadale goalkeeper Ken Fytengionous, fleet-footed attacker Scott Bulloch (Wanneroo City), influential midfielders Phil Bell (Leeming Strikers) and David Rodgers (South West Phoenix) and big striker Christian Pascherwitz (Mandurah City).
TOUGH AWAY TRIP WORKED IN WAVES FAVOUR
The baptism of fire which was the Western Waves introduction to the national league benefited the fledgling club according to team vice-captain Luciana Colangelo. A veteran of eighteen seasons on the local scene, Colangelo believes the Waves whirlwind visit of the east coast which opened their season mentally strengenthed the team for their debut Women's National Soccer League campaign. "It was a steep learning curve alright," said the Waves defender this week. "The three games we played certainly opened our eyes to a faster, tougher and more physical style of soccer."
In the space of six days the Waves met Queensland Sting, Northern New South Wales Pride and New South Wales Sapphires all on home soil for a draw and two losses. "The trip tested the character and the fitness of the team," Colangelo added. "To each and every girls' credit the attitude was superb and we competed right up to the final whistle on every occasion. On the whole we were fairly happy with our results, although to have picked up one win would have been great as the new kids on the block. In saying that we were unlucky that some of the results didn't end up going our way."
Following the punishing away schedule the Waves returned home to register their maiden WNSL victory in front of an appreciative crowd at Members Equity Stadium. "To win our first national league game at home was sensational and a real buzz," commented Colangelo. "It was especially rewarding after the months of hard training that went in to our preparation. All the players were very focused on the day, we played with passion and for us it was a 'must win' game. The home crowd really got behind us, they were absolutely fantastic and their support was a huge factor in the outcome."
The Waves final two games of their debut season pits them against Victoria Vision this Sunday, and Adelaide Sensation next weekend. With both games taking place at Member's Equity Stadium, Colangelo says the team are confident of picking up a few additional points. "We want to make our last two games a success and our aim is to win them both. If we stick to the game plan Alistair Edwards and the rest of the coaching staff have worked on with us then I believe we will have positive results. We have a very talented squad and everyone is capable of doing the job on the day."
Colangelo is one of Western Australia's most respected and accomplished players. Having taken up the game as a teenager her career began at Morley Windmills where she played eight years. In 1995 Colangelo joined Stirling Reds and over the next eight years captained the club to numerous trophies, while for the past two seasons she has worn the captain's armband for the all-conquering Northern Redbacks. A State representative for sixteen years, including eight as captain, Colangelo gaining Australian All-Stars selection following the National Championships in 1998 and, twelve months later, won the Most valuable Player award at the Australasian tournament in Kuala Lumpar.
SOCCEROO RETURN FOR LAZARIDIS?
Birmingham City flanker Stan Lazaridis did enough in an hour against Crystal Palace to suggest he'll turn out for Australia against Norway in London later this month. "I guess it all depends on what Frank (Farina) wants to do with me. As much as I want to play for the Socceroos, I need time to build up my fitness and game time," Lazaridis said yesterday. Lazaridis, who has been sidelined for the past six weeks with a torn quad, looked sharp in his comeback league game which saw the Blues go down 0-1 to Palace. Birmingham slumped to sixteen on the Premier League table following the loss.
COACH WANTED BY ROCKINGHAM
Rockingham City are seeking applications for the position of senior coach for their 2005 First Division team. Interested parties are asked to submit their resume, along with remuneration requirements, to The Secretary, Rockingham City S.C., PO Box 113, Rockingham 6168. Applications for the job close Friday 26th November with those selected for interview to be advised shortly after.
VICTORIA BECKONS FOR BULLOCH
Wanneroo City midfidler Scott Bulloch is hoping an offer to play in the Victorian Premier League could lead to bigger things. One of the favourites for the First Division Player of the Year which is announced this weekend, Bulloch recently finalised a one-year contract with Heidelberg United who earned promotion to the top flight last year. Keen for his team to make an impact coach Phil Stubbins has added six players with national league experience, amongst them former Australian international Con Boutsianis. "Most of the players are trying to put themselves in the shop window for the new A-League and hopefully I can put myself at the front of the queue," explained Bulloch. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity. I leave for Melbourne in about three weeks and our first game is the local derby against South Melbourne. There facilities are good in Melbourne and already they are estimating a crowd of upwards of 8,000 so it should be an exciting year."
CACERAS AMONGST THE GOALS
There's no greater statement a striker can make than to score goals. And locally produced Adrian Careras certainly did that by scoring four goals in as many days at Yeovil Town last week. Handed a place in the Reserves line-up for their home meeting with Cardiff City, Caceras scored three times to lead his side to victory by 3-1 on Wednesday. The hat-trick left manager Gary Johnson with little option but to promote the 22-year old to the startling line-up for Saturday's League Two match against Chester City. Caceras didn't disappoint, scoring his sides second goal in the 4-2 win which elevates the side to fourth on the table.
Johnson was clearly pleased with Caceras' contribution against Chester. "I really felt he had goals in him after seeing him at Cardiff," commented the Yeovil manager. "It was peeing down with rain and it was 60 miles-an-hour winds on Wednesday afternoon [and] Adie went out, worked very hard and scored a hat-trick. At that point as a manager you have to say I've got to find room for him. If you are not confident after that sort of day then you never will be. He has taken a bit of stick off me over the past three or four weeks but he's taken it on board quietly and worked hard and he's got his reward today and hopefully he will keep his confidence and just keep getting better and better because he is a quality player."
MILLER TAKES CHARGE OF WAVES
One-time Australian international Scott Miller has taken over the coaching reins of the Western Waves. Miller, a veteran of 211 games for Perth Glory, will be at the helm for the Waves remaining two games of their inaugural season in the Women's National Soccer League. The teams' regular coach, Alistair Edwards, is currently abroad as assistant coach with the Young Matilda's who are preparing for the up-coming Under-19 World Championship in Thailand. Miller, who has been assistant to Edwards at club level, will be in charge for the first time this Sunday when the Waves welcome Victoria Vision to Members Equity Stadium.
WASA FORGE LINKS WITH FIFA (courtesy www.wasa.org.au )
The Western Australian Soccer Association are pleased to confirm that they have accepted an invitation from the Australian Soccer Association to become its sole interim member for Western Australia. The invitation to WASA is the end result of positive constitutional reform achieved by the body in its first three months since incorporation, as well as the confirmation of its official recognition from State Government and funding agencies. This new link ensures players in junior, women's, amateur and semi-professional ranks can compete in FIFA recognised competitions.
"Recognition by FIFA is like finding the Holy Grail of Soccer," said WASA chairman Kevin Campbell. "The past three months has shown me the ultimate importance of achieving this recognition for WASA. Contrary to belief it was not as simple as phoning the ASA and saying 'we are here!' Representatives of WASA have worked exceptionally hard, across several months, to realise the necessary progress constitutionally and in line with the recommendations of the Crawford Report and the Australian Sports Commission. Soccer is now in a position to move forward in this state."
For the first time ever the West Australian Soccer Website has scored in excess of 200,000 hits in a calendar year. It was last Thursday, 28th October, that that magic milestone was achieved with the tally since 1st January rising to 201,759 by months' end. This makes 2004 by far our most successful year to date, shattering the previous twelve month record of 160,055 hits which were registered in 2003.
NEW LEAGUE AIMS FOR TOP
It's been a long time coming but Australia's new national competition, the A-League, was officially launched in Sydney this morning. The announcement of the eight foundation clubs along with the signing of a major sponsor for the nation's new flagship competition is the culmination of eighteen months work by the Australian Soccer Association. Successful in their applications to enter the new league are Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners, Kingz F.C., Melbourne Victory, Newcastle United, Perth Glory, Queensland Lions and Sydney F.C. The league will be known as the Hyundai A-League under a five-year, $10 million naming rights agreement with the Korean motoring giant.
ASA chairman Frank Lowy said the past eighteen months had been the beginning of a decade of reform in Australian Soccer. "Before we could even begin to think about a new competition we had to rebuild the foundations of the game at a national level from scratch," said Lowy. "We are now close to finalising a new constitution to govern the game. And this constitution will serve the best interests of the game, not entrenched political or self interests. This has been a very complex process. We started out with the blueprint provided by David Crawford, but we have been working closely with the State Federations to make sure we get it right, so that the new constitution is one that is workable, and one that lasts."
"Putting in these new foundations has been unglamorous work, but absolutely necessary work," the ASA chairman added. "Today, we unveil the new national competition. But please remember it is only the start. We have greater ambitions for it, but we realise we need to take things one step at a time. That said, let's allow ourselves a moment of cheer and optimism - it is after all a Red Letter Day for Australian soccer. [This] is just a snapshot of what we've done in 18 months, but there's a long way to go. We are only running on to the pitch today, we haven't even blown the whistle to start the game. So I appeal to you, and to the soccer and sporting community of Australia for patience, for understanding and for support. If we all get behind these changes then success will breed success."
John O'Neill, chief executive officer with the ASA, is confident the A-League will offer something for everyone - from the purist to the casual player or supporter. "We are about to enter a new era for soccer in this part of the world. We are establishing a competition that is right for the new century. My vision is for the structure and format that we announce today to be recognised as having provided a significant platform for the success that is Football in Australia at the end of this century."
"Our aim is to go mainstream," O'Neill added. "The million or so boys, girls, mums and dads who take to the park each weekend for fun or competition will be a prime audience for the Hyundai A-League. We will reach these people through a totally new family-oriented package that is strong on quality football and community engagement. People will come if the football is good, the venues are family friendly and if they get more than just a sporting event. However, we are nothing without good football and financially sound clubs and administration."
"The finances of the competition are simple, the clubs will spend and generate around A$5 million a year and the ASA will spend and generate around A$6 million a year. We are forecasting a cumulative surplus at the end of year five," he added. "The Hyundai A-League will have a modest beginning and over the years as interest and revenues grow so too will the ability of clubs to keep top class players in Australia ... Over the next ten years, we want to create some passion; we want to create some tribalism; we want to create a new breed of heroes and, we want to give our best players a choice. We think we are offering a pretty compelling option for players and fans."
THE A-LEAGUE ... WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Australian soccer will enter a new era when the inaugural A-League season commences in the middle of next year. The new domestic competition, launched in Sydney this morning, will consists of one club from each Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Gosford, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth and Sydney. The home-and-away season will kick-off in August 2005 and span twenty-one weeks before coming to a close in late January 2006. A four-week finals series will then finish at the end of February.
Clubs will be pegged by a salary cap of $1.5 million for a roster of twenty players, three of whom must be under the age of twenty. Each club will be allowed one 'marquee' player whose contract will not be part of the salary cap. They also will be allowed to augment their playing staff - and their marketing appeal - by bringing in up to two guest players. The Australian Soccer Association expect average match attendances for the first season to be around 10,000.
The ASA have secured a naming rights partner, a broadcaster and a strong centralised management team for the A-League. Hyundai, the Korean car maker, has signed on for a multimillion-dollar naming-rights deal, while cable television network Fox Sports will broadcast live a minimum of two and up to all four of each round's scheduled matches. Games not given live coverage will be screened soon after the final whistle, while a weekly highlights package completes the deal.
All eight foundation teams have been granted a five-year exclusivity period in their zone, allowing them to build up their fan and sponsor bases before facing competition. The bigger picture includes the entry of teams from north Queensland, Canberra and Hobart and the possible expansion into Asia. The most successful local clubs be invited to take part in an end-of-season competition with leading Asian clubs.
The inaugural season will be preceded by a seven-team tournament (the Auckland side is not invited) next May to determine which club will be Australia's representative in the Oceania club championship in Tahiti the following month. The winner of that tournament will progress to the World Club Championship in Japan in December 2006. As the reigning Australian champions, Perth Glory have been seeded straight to the semi-final of the preliminary competition next May.
UNITY IS PHILLIPS' TARGET
Michelle Phillips takes up her first step towards unifying the local game today by taking on the position of chief executive officer with the West Australian Soccer Association. Phillips was appointed to the fledgling organisation last month and promises to put rival codes on their guard. "I want soccer to be the number one sport in WA," she told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "I'd love the people of WA embrace soccer so that everyone in the community gets involved. We need to do more to help soccer's profile."
Phillips, an accountant specialising in insolvency, is not deterred by soccer's long history of factionalism and believes the unification of the sport is inevitable. "It needs to happen. It needs one vision, one strategy and one delivery plan," she added. "It's not about the politics - it's about getting on with it and getting the job done." Phillips said there was a need for transparency across the sport as it embraced a new era, and promised to make herself accessible to soccer's stakeholders. "Just like running any business, you've got to have a vision, set your goals and make sure you achieve them."
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This page was last updated on the 31st December, 2004