Brandon O’Neill has credited Sydney FC to turning him into a player that he feels is ready to play international football.
The Perth-born midfielder recently brought up his 100th appearance for the Sky Blues in their FFA Cup win over Cairns FC last week.
Since making the move across the country from the Glory to Sydney, O’Neill has become a key figure in the Sky Blues remarkable success, which has included a Championship, two Premiers’ Plates and an FFA Cup winners’ medal.
Now 24, O’Neill believes he’s hitting the peak of his career and paid tribute to the club for developing him as a player over the last two years.
“Being able to work under Arnie [former coach Graham Arnold], [Andrew Clark] and now Steve Corica is not something many footballers are lucky enough to do in this country,” O’Neill told the Sydney FC website.
“I’ve been able to work under all three of them now, they’re three of the best coaches I’ve ever had and they’ve been able to take my game now to a point where I’m ready to be an international.
“That’s down to their help and guidance.
“I’m grateful and honoured to play for this club and the game I have, and the biggest thing for me moving forward is continuing on the success we’ve had.”
A proud O’Neill says it’s a big achievement to reach the ton with the Sky Blues, and now regards Sydney as his “footballing home”.
While he has achieved a lot with the club over the last two seasons, there are two moments that stand out from his first 100 games.
“When I scored my first ever goal for Sydney FC in the Derby at ANZ Stadium,” O’Neill said.
“To score in the Derby is mental, but to score a free kick at ANZ in front of 60,000, and to make it more special my mum, dad and girlfriend (now wife) flew in that morning to surprise me and watch the game. I got to run over to them pointing at them and celebrate with them.
“Secondly, being able to take one of the winning penalties in the 2017 Grand Final.
“When I was walking up for it my wife and mum said they were crying in the stands because they were that nervous and my dad couldn’t watch.
“I just put the ball down and slotted it. To be able to experience that so young, not many people that age can say they’ve done that, so they’re my two biggest moments.”
O’Neill will be hoping to add a few more moments to his highlight reel with the club, starting with an important FFA Cup quarter-final next month.
The Sky Blues have been drawn away to Victorian NPL side Avondale FC.