Famous friends and homegrown heroes: 'Where I'm From' series celebrates rebel Play Football Round
It’s rebel Play Football Round this weekend and, to mark the occasion, we sent some Hyundai A-League aces back to their junior clubs to reflect on their grounding in the game.
Celebrated across the country, rebel Play Football Round highlights the role of the grassroots in making football Australia’s most popular club participation sport and encourages boys and girls to sign up for the new season.
There are plenty of great stories to tell of how today’s stars got their start and A-League.com.au has highlighted several in the ‘Where I’m From’ video series.
Good and Irvine’s lifelong link
Back playing in his hometown after several years abroad, Melbourne City defender Curtis Good ventured to Knox City FC to reconnect with the club that fostered his love for football.
It was there that the 25-year-old made a famous friend that, like himself, has gone on to represent the Caltex Socceroos.
“A team-mate I’m still in contact with is Jackson Irvine,” Good said.
“Me and him are quote close. We used to carpool.
“I first started playing under-8s. I used to love coming to training, I used to live for it. There were a lot of weekends spent [at Knox City].
“My advice to young kids coming up is to sign up to your football club and give it a crack.
“You never know, you could love it and end up wanting a career in it.”
Strong club bond for Baccus brothers
For Keanu Baccus, football is very much a family affair.
The Western Sydney Wanderers talent is the brother of Melbourne City midfielder Kearyn, both of whom started out in Sydney’s west at Parklea SFC – a club with which they retain close links.
“I started when I was about four,” Keanu said. “My brother is seven years older than me, he became a professional before me. It was good to follow in his footsteps.
“I still come have a kick around here.
“It’s only five minutes down the road so if my little brother plays I come watch his team.
“I think the biggest role Parklea played for me was having fun when I was young. My advice to young kids out there playing is just to enjoy it.”
Hoffman’s early education
Jason Hoffman is the quintessential local kid made good.
Born and bred in the city he represents on the national stage, Hoffman is now a Newcastle Jets great on the cusp of making his 200th Hyundai A-League appearance.
DREAM MILESTONE: Hoffman eclipses childhood fantasy
It was back in his formative days with Hamilton Olympic – located a stone’s throw from McDonald Jones Stadium – that he realised his passion for the game could become something greater.
“Those times were for me just about having fun with my mates and pretty soon after I realised football was what I wanted to do,” Hoffman remembered.
“I was lucky to come to a club that was always pretty successful.
“The players that do well here will definitely have opportunities to step into the next stage of their football career and hopefully that’s at the A-League level.”