Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Macca gets the axe as the Socceroos edge past New Zealand

Today's big story is the somewhat surprising news that Scott McDonald has been cut from the Australian World Cup squad. Although the move was expected in some quarters, given his inability to fit Pim's system, others (such as myself) thought that the need for a plan-B would secure him a spot. However it was not to be, and McDonald has been cut along with Nicky Carle and Jade North.


In other Socceroo news, a beautiful pass from Carl Valeridinho created the winner against the All-Whites in a poor encounter, with Brett Holman securing the win in the dying seconds.

I'm afraid I do not have time to write a more comprehensive wrap (history seminar needs finishing), but you can find more news on the squad cuts here and on the Kiwi game here. Watch out for a Socceroos wrap sometime this weekend!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Semi-exclusive interview with Young Socceroo and Bolton midfielder Aaron Mooy

Let's hear it for the Mooy
By Kieran Pender

While playing for the Bolton Wanderers Reserve side, Aaron Mooy may not get the plaudits he deserves. Many Australians wouldn’t know his name, he doesn’t get to play every week in televised games, and he has to take on other reserves teams on freezing Monday nights. But Mooy is one of the future Socceroos developing his game in a top European League, honing his game in an effort to eventually play for the Bolton first team, and hopefully one day for the Socceroos in a World Cup.


Mooy joined Bolton Wanderers ahead of the 2007/08 season from Westfield Sports High School, a school which also produced ex-Bolton, current Adelaide United defender, Scott Jamieson. As Mooy puts his story, “I was spotted playing in Australia by a Bolton Scout and was asked to come on trial, and from there I signed.”

Bolton Academy boss Peter Farrell last year told the media that "He came over here when he was 14 years of age after being spotted in Australia. He got his education here at Bolton School, but he is a tremendous footballer.”

He continued to heap praise on Mooy, saying that while "...He still needs to work on his game, like the times when he hasn't got the ball, ability-wise, he oozes class. It doesn't surprise me that he has been selected for his country."

This selection for Australia has come both in the form of Youth team selection, and more recently a senior squad call up. Mooy was selected for the Young Socceroo World Cup squad, and despite a strong build up, the team failed to excite at the FIFA U20 World Cup, losing all three games.

While Mooy was disappointed with the result, he still felt there were positives. “I was disappointed (not to progress) as I thought we had a good enough squad to go past the group stage, but we just didn’t perform at our best and it cost us. However it was good to see that we were trying to play the right way, keeping the ball on the ground and moving it around, so that was a positive.”

Mooy was unexpectedly called up to the Socceroos squad for a friendly against Ireland last August, and although he didn’t make the match day team, he still thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “I was over the moon when I found out (I’d been called up). It was something I didn’t expect and it was a great experience.”

He was also the star of the prestigious Terborg Toernooi youth tournament in early 2009, earning player of the tournament award, in a tournament featuring youth sides from Ajax, Liverpool, Valencia. Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Versleijen was full of praises for Mooy after the tournament, telling the press that “To have Aaron Mooy named as player of the tournament is a great achievement for Aaron in a very famous and high standard tournament.”

Unsurprisingly, Mooy enjoyed the tournament, in which the Young Socceroos finished third. “It was a great experience playing at the Terborg tournament as there were so many good teams and players involved in the tournament.”

Mooy has also been in good form for the Bolton Reserves, and starred for the side in their victory against Manchester United Reserves in the Manchester Senior Cup. He hit back for Bolton after United’s Paul Pogba had opened the scoring, and Mooy also proceeded to score the winning penalty in the penalty shootout.

Scoring twice against such a highly regarded youth side was a great achievement, and Mooy was pleased with the game. “It was a great win that day and the team played really well, so overall I was very happy.”


Mooy has featured prominently for the reserves team this season, and will be hoping to soon make the step up to the senior squad, or move out on loan. While Mooy believes a move on loan to a lower division side would be beneficial, he is wary of moving to early. “It would be a great experience to go on loan, but I’ve just got to concentrate on playing for Bolton at the moment.”

While moving to a foreign country at such an early age must have been hard, Mooy has found it easier to adapt because of the other young Australians currently playing in England. “Dean Bouzanis (Liverpool youth keeper, currently on loan at Accrington Stanley) and I hang out every week, I’m always in Liverpool with him! It’s great that he’s not too far away, as we’ve been hanging out since we were young.”

Mooy is hopeful of his chance to play in the Bolton first team soon, but he definitely isn’t getting ahead of himself. “All I have to do is keep trying to play my best, keep my head down, and keep trying to improve my game!”

Many thanks to Aaron Mooy for agreeing to an interview.

This article featured in Goal Weekly, Australia's best weekly football newspaper. Check it out at your local newsagent.


A reason to buy this month's Soccer International Magazine

I'm in it!


That's right, my first every feature article to be published in a magazine is now out! Check out my article/interview on/with Ryan McGowan in this month's Soccer International!

And if you do decide to give it a look, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A-League fixtures announced and an odd assortment of news

The A-League fixtures for the 2010/11 season have been announced, and the first week of football will see a grand final rematch as Melbourne Victory travel to the Sydney Football Stadium. New team Melbourne Heart will kick off the season at AAMI Park on Thursday the 5th of August, while Wellington have the first bye. Every week one team will have a bye, and Central Coast have back-to-back byes in rounds 10 and 11. The season will end with the F3 derby, and this match will hopefully not have the same hype as this season's ending Sydney v Melbourne game, therefore not overshadowing the final series.


A full fixture list can be found here.

Random News Assortment:

Kasey Wehrman is back (442)

Fury appoint assistant (Fox Sports)

Beauchamp signs for the Heart (442)

Langerak off to Germany (Fox Sports)

Carle to Sydney? (442)


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pim names squad...of 31


Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has today announced his provisional World cup squad for South Africa 2010. Verbeek announced a squad of 31 instead of the usual 30, with Eugene Galekovic joining the squad in-case of injury to Mark Schwarzer, Brad Jones or Adam Federici.

The full squad is:

Michael Beachamp, Marco Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Nick Carle, David Carney, Scott Chipperfield, Jason Culina, Brett Emerton, Adam Federici, Eugene Galekovic, Richard Garcia, Vincenzo Grella, James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Brad Jones, Joshua Kennedy, Harry Kewell, Shane Lowry, Scott McDonald, Mark Milligan, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Jade North, Thomas Oar, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mark Schwarzer, Carl Valeri, Dario Vidosic, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams

A selection of interesting pieces on the squad:

Con Stamocostas, editor of Half Time Heroes, runs the rule over the squad (A Football Story)

Pim: GloryRoos had to miss out (442)

More Pim: Why I picked the players I did (442)

Pim Quote of the Day:

"David was one of the players who was champion with FC Twente this year. I saw the celebration and I promise you David was part of the celebration. Aussies like celebrations and parties and he did very well in his team." (On David Carney's selection. WHAT? I'm not criticising the selection, Carney is a good player. But WHAT? He likes partying...great.)

A more detailed review of the squad will follow in the coming days.

So what do you think? Who will get cut from the squad and will moving to Norway and being a bench warmer help my bid for World Cup selection? Let us know!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Preview - Valencia CF v Xerez CD

Valencia CF

A poor game against Espanyol from a tired David Villa may see Nikola Žigić start ahead of the Spanish striker, as the Serbian was in cracking form with two goals against the Catalans. Elsewhere in the squad Chori Domínguez may be back from a club imposed suspension, but it is unlikely Emery would start the Argentinean after last week’s ‘disagreement’ with trainer Pako Aiestaran.

Another interesting battle for a spot in the starting lineup is out on the left wing. Juan Mata, Vicente Rodríguez (pictured), and Jordi Alba are all fit and ready to play. The chances of Alba starting in midfield are slim, as it seems very likely he will remain the team's emergency left back for the remainder of the season.

Vicente has been back from injury for about the past two months, and is only getting better with each match. His accurate crossing and willingness to take on defenders has really changed the way that the ball is delivered in from the left side of the midfield. Mata has been struggling recently, and with the World Cup just around the corner (and the fact that he has probably played the most minutes out of any player over the last two seasons), Unai Emery seems content with letting Vicente start at the moment.

Valencia are currently sitting in third place with 65 points, six ahead of fourth placed Mallorca. With three games remaining, they need only one point to all but secure a Champions League spot, while four points will guarantee them third spot. Los Che will be looking to find three of those points on Tuesday night at the Mestalla.

Valencia CF squad:

To Be Announced.

Xerez CD

Xerez secured an important win with a 95th minute goal against Almería on Saturday, but still find themselves rock-bottom in 20th place. Six points in the remaining three games would give the Azulinos a chance of survival, but realistically they need nine points if they are to have anything more than a slight chance of staying in the top flight. With fixtures against Real Zaragoza and Osasuna after playing at the Mestalla, a win is vital for Xerez as they look to close out the season strong.

Valencia’s young keeper Renan Brito could be key for the visitors, and has played well for the relegation threatened team all season. Although Xerez have the second worst defensive record in the league, it would be a lot worse if it wasn’t for the Brazilian.

Mario Bermejo (pictured) will also be important, and will be looking to continue his run of form after scoring against both Almería and Barcelona. The experienced striker has netted 12 times this season for the Andalucían side, and is currently the 10th highest La Liga goal-scorer for the 2009/10 season.

A worrying trend for Xerez, however, is their lack of discipline. They have been down to 10 men in both of their last two games. If they fall foul of the referee at the Mestalla, they will most likely be enjoying second division football next season.

Xerez CD squad:

Goalkeepers: Renan Brito, Chema

Defense: David Prieto, Juan Redondo, Jesús Mendoza, Aythami, Leandro Gioda, José Manuel Casado

Midfield: Álex Bergantiños, Victor Sánchez, Abel Gómez, Vicente Moreno,

Strikers: Antoñito, Mario Berjemo, Emiliano Armenteros, Matías Alustiza, Míchel, Fabián Orellana