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

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS - Alex Gers­bach and Tyler May

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

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