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
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.