My Best Mate’s A Football Star Alex Gersbach and Tyler May
LIFE TOOK THEM IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS BUT EVEN BEING ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE WORLD CAN’T BREAK THEIR FRIENDSHIP
It all started when…
TM: We met each other in Year 1 or something. AG: Year 1, I was the new kid. TM: So I thought I’d take him under my wing and show him around. We had the same interests. We both liked sport and just got along.
You played football, Tyler?
TM: No I was never into soccer. I actually hated it as a young kid. I was terrible at it. AG: He was pretty bad, to be honest. TM: I was a gun rugby player though. AG: That’s debateable. He’s a good surfer. TM: That’s debateable too.
Silverware with Rosenborg, a few appearances for the Socceroos (including a star turn in this year’s Confederations Cup)… Tyler when did you realise your mate was a talented footballer?
AG: He still hasn’t realised. TM: In high school when he had to move down to the AIS in Canberra. I thought to myself he might actually be alright. I started watching his games and realised, yeah, he’s pretty good I should follow his sporting career. Ever since he started playing for Sydney FC I really got into watching soccer, trying to get the knack of it. Now I love the game. AG: He watches games now that I’m not playing in. TM: He’s given me a Socceroos shirt and a Rosenborg shirt. It’s pretty cool. You guys have lasted the distance, literally. AG: It’s just really nice having a friend outside football. You play football every day and you’re around the same people every day. It’s nice to go home and not talk about football. Obviously Ty’s on the other side of the world but we chat fairly often, a couple of times a week. TM: More. AG: Yeah, we probably facetime about once a week and then text and snapchat. TM: It’s difficult, especially with the time zone. You just work around it.
So Alex brings the star power and Tyler brings…?
TM: I definitely bring good banter to the friendship. AG: (Laughs) TM: I’m definitely the funny one.
Is it hard to keep Alex’s feet on the ground?
TM: No. With all the attention and stuff I don’t think it’s ever gone to his head. He’s always been so humble, family orientated and good with his friends.
Have you visited him in Norway yet?
AG: We’re working on it.
When was the last time you were both in the same place?
AG: I was home at Christmas for about five or six weeks. Unfortunately I had to spend a bit of time with Tyler. Just before I came back to Norway a group of us went to Byron Bay for four or five days. We actually drove there and back. I did most of the driving. TM: I brought the banter.
What’s your best memory of growing up together?
TM: There are so many of us running amok, it’s pretty hard to choose, but going to Byron was massive. That trip was probably the biggest thing we’d done together. AG: What about Year 4 rugby league champions? TM: Oh yeah, when we got the big premiership, hey? Alex wasn’t very good at rugby league. AG: I was actually better than Tyler. Huge nine-year-old sports stars… AG: We were state champions, but then we figured out we were in the B competition, which was sort of a shit competition. It still counts. TM: I’ve still got a recording of the final game. I watch it every morning.
What about your 21st Tyler? Did you have a big party?
TM: I did, but Alex wasn’t there. He made a quick 30 second video saying happy birthday. AG: Actually this is good. I sent him a pair of Adidas boots that I was never going to wear so I thought, why not? TM: And they didn’t fit me. AG: They did fit him but he realised he couldn’t wear them at the gym, he’d actually have to play a sport. TM: Also I don’t play soccer so, yeah, it was a great present. And now you’re featured in a football magazine... TM: Massive. AG: How good, if he could actually read it.
They met over lunchboxes at Our Lady Star of the Sea, Miranda. Fifteen years later they’re still the best of mates. Former Sydney FC left back Alex Gersbach has crossed the globe chasing his football dream with Rosenborg, Norway. Tyler May is a third year engineering student at Sydney University. But as Four Four Two discovered, in a conversation traversing the 15,700km between Cronulla and Trondheim, not even football can separate these mates from The Shire. INTERVIEW Kathy Stone