Hav­ing a ball with Glory

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Lu­cas da Paz

WITH the FIFA World Cup well un­der way in Rus­sia, Perth Glory play­ers Tomis­lav Mrcela and Neil Kilkenny laced up the boots for a kick about with chil­dren in Red­cliffe and a chance to pro­mote grass­roots soc­cer in WA.

Mrcela said it was good for chil­dren to re­main ac­tive on the soc­cer pitch in a gen­er­a­tion where video games were preva­lent.

“Keep the kids ac­tive in sports as much as pos­si­ble; they may find out who they want to be when they grow up,” he said dur­ing last Thurs­day’s ses­sion.

“You need to train hard and be ded­i­cated.

“The most im­por­tant thing is you want it, that you love it and you en­joy it; it is eas­ier to train when you grow up and you start get­ting to the se­ri­ous stage of football or any other sport.”

Kilkenny (32) re­it­er­ated that any young soc­cer player could make it to a pro­fes­sional level with hard work and ded­i­ca­tion.

“Dreams can come true, if you work hard and don’t let any­one knock you,” he said.

HE hasn’t lived in Perth since he was six, but Tomis­lav Mrcela has found his way home to play for Perth Glory.

The Glory fur­ther sig­nalled their in­ten­tion of chal­leng­ing for the Hyundai A-League ti­tle with the sign­ing of de­fender Mrcela from Korean out­fit Jean­nam Dragons this month.

The 195cm cen­tral de­fender put pen to pa­per on a two-year deal and has al­ready linked up with his new team­mates for pre-sea­son.

Mrcela (27) said new head coach Tony Popovic was the cat­a­lyst for him join­ing Glory.

“Big­gest rea­son I’m here is be­cause of Popovic,” Mrcela said. “When I spoke to him and what he pre­sented to me about the goals and ob­jec­tives for this year, I want to be part of that.”

“We know him, he wants the best and he wants to win tro­phies; he is go­ing to give us the big­gest goal of play­ing as a team and im­prov­ing from last sea­son.”

Mrcela is one of four key off-sea­son ar­rivals to Glory, join­ing Ivan Fran­jic, Bren­don San­ta­lab and Matthew Spi­ra­novic.

Mrcela has been on the fringe of se­lec­tion for the Aus­tralian national team in the past, in­clud­ing in 2015 when he was named in a 23-man squad for two World Cup qual­i­fy­ing matches against Kyr­gyzs­tan.

The West Aus­tralian is hope­ful that his move to Perth will boost his fu­ture chances for national du­ties.

“For sure, one of the rea­sons com­ing here is not just be­com­ing a bet­ter player but to be closer to the Soc­ceroos squad,” Mrcela said. “I was once there, I en­joyed my time and it was a big ex­pe­ri­ence and I want to feel that again.

“I think I’m a bet­ter player now and I be­lieve that I’ll be a bet­ter player af­ter this sea­son.”

“For me, it’s im­por­tant to stay healthy and play games; if we’re win­ning and I’m play­ing well then why not a call.”

Mrcela has spent most of his pro­fes­sional ca­reer in Croa­tia, turn­ing out for clubs such as NK Mosor, NK Imot­ski, NK Hr­vatski Drago­voli­jac and NK Loko­mo­tiva Za­greb be­fore he joined Jean­nam in 2016, where he made 51 ap­pear­ances and scored three goals.

Mrcela said Glory fans could ex­pect pos­i­tive results this year and he hoped that would mean high at­ten­dances at games.

“They can ex­pect some­thing new from the club, from the team and from the coach­ing staff; more success than pre­vi­ous sea­sons,” he said.

“I would like the fans to come watch us, support us as we try our best on the field and win games.”

July 23 shapes as the first op­por­tu­nity to see Glory’s new sign­ings in ac­tion when English FA Cup win­ners Chelsea FC come to Perth for a friendly at Op­tus Sta­dium.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d484122

Newly signed Perth Glory player Tomis­lav Mrcela with Red­cliffe Pri­mary School stu­dents.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.