At The End Of The Day Frank Juric

New Ade­laide United keeper coach FRANK JURIC needed a thick skin when he was grow­ing up but it paid off

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS -

I knew I’d made it as a player when I moved to Ger­many. I al­ways had the goal of be­ing a pro­fes­sional foot­ball player, be­ing at the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Sport at age 16. Even af­ter the AIS, it was the Na­tional Soc­cer League at the time, we were still semi-pro­fes­sional so I was also study­ing as well as play­ing foot­ball. So the first time I re­ally knew was when I got a con­tract in Ger­many with For­tuna Dus­sel­dorf.

I was hap­pi­est when I was younger. Where I en­joyed it the most was at the In­sti­tute of Sport where I learned a lot of the tech­ni­cal part of the goal­keep­ing area. That was prob­a­bly when I en­joyed it the most. Be­ing in­volved with foot­ball though, I wouldn’t even call it a job. It’s a pas­sion and you en­joy do­ing it. I’d rather be on the field for 10 hours than work­ing a 9-5 job. I’m just happy be­ing in­volved with the sport.

My hero grow­ing up was Harold “Toni” Schu­macher. I had a poster on the wall of him. He was the German na­tional team goal­keeper back in the 80s. I watched him in the world cup in 1986 and just the way he pre­sented him­self, he looked like a win­ner on the field. Fun­nily enough, about ten years later when I was at Bayer Lev­erkusen, he turned out to be my goal­keep­ing coach for a few years. I was a lit­tle bit star struck but he was down to earth. Af­ter a few days, you don’t even re­alise who he is, he’s just an­other great guy I had as a goal­keep­ing coach. I im­proved as a goal­keeper in the ses­sions with him.

The fun­ni­est thing a coach ever told me was when I was younger, they used to say “Frank, you’re go­ing in goals be­cause you’re the big­gest and prob­a­bly the slow­est.” I don’t think I was the slow­est, but I was def­i­nitely the tallest.

The day foot­ball broke my heart was when I was a Mel­bourne Knights fan and we lost 2-3 grand fi­nals in the early 90s. As a player, there wasn’t re­ally a mo­ment be­cause you al­ways tend to for­get about it pretty quickly and set your next goals.

My proud­est mo­ment was be­ing on the bench at Bayer Lev­erkusen in the 2002 Cham­pi­ons League Fi­nal against Real Madrid. Even though I didn’t play, it was still a proud mo­ment to be in the squad. We lost when Zine­dine Zi­dane scored a ter­rific vol­ley from 18 yards out, but I re­ally do still think we de­served to win it.

If I could change one thing about the game it would be to make it less busi­ness-like. I think it’s get­ting too much like a busi­ness. In England you’ve got own­ers tak­ing over clubs. I think it should be run by mem­bers or fans of the club. That’s one of the big­gest dis­ap­point­ments. At the same time, if we didn’t have these in­vestors or back­ers of the clubs we prob­a­bly wouldn’t have any A-League clubs. It’s a catch-22. A mix would be nice.

If it wasn’t for foot­ball I may have been an AFL player as a full for­ward. I played AFL for a few years at school. I couldn’t be a ruck­man be­cause I was the slow one but at full for­ward, I just need to sit in the goal area.

Three words that sum me up would be down to earth.

If I could have one wish it would be to live a healthy life.

Right now I’m goal­keeper coach­ing. I’ve just spent the last 5-6 years with Mel­bourne Knights as as­sis­tant coach and goal­keep­ing coach. Af­ter I fin­ished my play­ing ca­reer at Perth Glory in 2009, I was a coach there for one sea­son there and that’s where my coach­ing started up. I then re­turned back to Mel­bourne for fam­ily rea­sons.

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