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Thursday, 31 May 2007

Tilda Fone number one Matilda's fan

The Matilda’s biggest fan, Tilda Fone has been sent by Football in the Capital to follow the team wherever they go.
She arrived in Beijing a little late, but quickly found the team and sent this report back from her mobile deep in the smog of Beijing.


Ni hao from China. I spotted the Matildas at the Chinese FA national training centre, in Yianghe, 90 minutes from Beijing.

Smog, smog, and more smog, can’t be good for our team.

The centre is like the AIS but specifically for football - five perfectly manicured natural turf playing pitches, a FIFA standard artificial turf pitch, athletics track, indoor swimming pool, spas and saunas, big gym, entertainment area (including bowling alley and small cinema), hotel-style rooms and restaurant. And it's rather warm here. OK, so it's really nothing like the AIS. Apart from being a bit far away from anything, it's the perfect location for a training camp.

The Matildas are preparing for their huge game against DPR Korea on Sunday. Although DPRK is a renowned holiday destination with plenty of resorts and tourist attractions, the Matildas decided to train in China before heading to Pyongyang on Saturday (2 June).

The Matildas thought I’d go straight to North Korea, but I’m not their greatest fan for nothing!

Airport check-in desks are very friendly to me!

Getting my report of the match out of Korea could be difficult, at this stage I don’t know if I’m able to get into North Korea, they tell me flights are fully booked.

Still, I’ve never missed a match yet so I’m confident I’ll get there.

So, the Matildas will all be off the radar for a few days with no mobile or email contact with the outside world. It will be weird…..for them, but I should get something out after the game.

If I make it to Pyongyang, I expect to be minded by a special friend, who will take me for walks and stuff.

I’ll definitely be back for the next game; it’ll be a cracker. Coffs Harbour on Sunday 10 June, 3pm, to see the return match between the Matildas and DPR Korea. Arguably these two games are the most important games ever played by the Matildas, the winner takes all, that is, a berth at the Olympics next year. For the Matildas it's just like the Socceroos v Uruguay qualifier. But if you can't get there to the ground, the next best thing is to watch it live on SBS that day.

Speak soon
Tilda.

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Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Matilda's Star Sally Shipard writes from Beijing

Matilda’s star Sally Shipard writes exclusively for Football in the Capital from Beijing, as the team head to North Korea for Sunday’s crunch game.



Hi, we arrived safely in Beijing at about 9pm Monday night.

It was a long flight, about 12 hours. We are 2 hours behind Sydney time, so suffering from jet lag hasn’t really been a problem.

We trained yesterday morning to shake the spider webs, and had the afternoon off.

Today we are playing China (Wednesday) and we fly to North Korea on Saturday for the big game on Sunday.
We have our little 'internet cafe' a the top end of the corridor, as this is the only place where we can get wireless:-) The girls are all cranking up Pinks album, as they are all obsessed with her music after watching her concert last weekend. (See Matilda’s Pink earlier post)

It’s really hot here compared to Australia. For the Queenslanders it’s not a real shock to the system, but for us Canberrans it’s boiling. The temperatures reached about 33 yesterday and 36 when we arrived. Hydrating and resting up is very high on our agendas. And so is studying, for the girls who are at uni, we all have exams when we get back to the 'real world'.

Lets not think past this Sunday though. We are all prepared for it, and cannot wait for the game against North Korea! Lets go Aussies!!!

More later

Sal.

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Canberran and Socceroo Carl Valeri expected to start on Saturday


Canberra’s Carl Valeri is expected to make his home debut for the Socceroos against old friends Uruguay, at Telstra Stadium, Sydney on Saturday night.

Football in the Capital caught up with Canberra’s newest Socceroo at training at Telstra Stadium today.

“Football wise, it’s been a fantastic six months. I won the (Italian) Serie C title with Grosseto and made my debut against China for the Socceroos in March,” said Valeri

Italian giants Inter Milan and Grosseto share Valeri’s contract.

“I’ve one more year on my contract, and the clubs will sort out where I play next year. I’d like to stay with Grosseto, but I’ll focus on that side of things in another few weeks,” said Valeri.

Valeri grew up in Canberra, counts Tuggeranong United juniors and Juventus among his former clubs, and remembers a time when football didn’t get so much coverage in Australia.

“It’s amazing being in the (Socceroos) camp. The hotel is decked out with green and gold balloons, there is a big welcoming sign and lots of media interest. When we go out everyone knows who we are, we’re footballers. Times have changed and it’s good. The whole set-up is so professional now.

“It’s a big honour to play for the Socceroos. I will be interested to see how I feel when I run out on Saturday night. I don’t know if I’m going to start, but it will be great. My family are coming to the game, so that will be special.”

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold describes Valeri as a ‘mini-Vinnie,’ referring to established Socceroos and ex-Canberra Cosmos star Vince Grella.

Valeri may play in the same defensive role as Grella, but unlike Grella he can score goals. Valeri’s goal in Grosseto’s 1-0 win away to Padova, on the last day of the Serie C season, secured the championship and promotion.

“It was great, the highlight of my career. It’s a very hard league to play in, very tough; players are desperate to get to the next level. We went back to our stadium at midnight and the place was packed. It was a great feeling, very satisfying. It has been a long season and my body is tired, but my motivation to play for the Socceroos couldn’t be higher.”

Valeri’s path to the Socceroos has not been easy.

“I’ve been overseas for five years. You question if you should stay. It’s tough, but I’ve had great family support, without them I wouldn’t have stayed.”

“When I got the call to play against China, I realised all my hard work had paid off. It was an opportunity I’d wanted all my life, and I was determined to make the most of it.”

“Playing for the Socceroos is much easier than playing with Grosseto. No disrespect to my Grosseto teammates, but the Socceroos has better players who make it easier. You get more time on the ball. The players, I know most of them, are a friendly group. Everyone is very supportive, the older guys help the new players.”

To the Canberra junior players he says this.

“I started at Tuggeranong United. To succeed in football, you need to work hard, and never give up.

What was the highlight of his junior career?

“Oh, that’s easy, when I was 15, I played for Juventus in the (Canberra)U19 league and we won the Championship. Friends like Adam Morgan, Steve Arnott played in that side. My old man (Ex-Capital Football President Walter Valeri) was the coach! It’s the only trophy I’ve won until two weeks ago with Grosseto.

Valeri is only 23; he has represented Australia at all four levels of the game. He played in the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in Trinidad, FIFA World Youth Cup in UAE, and with the Olyroos in the 2004 Athens Olympics. His Socceroo cap completes the set.

“I want to get through this week, and see if I get selected for the Asia Cup 2007.”

With Australia favourites for the AFC Asia Cup 2007, after its performances at last years World Cup, Valeri if selected may well add to his trophy cabinet.

Either way we will be hearing a lot more about Carl Valeri, Canberra’s latest Socceroo, as his international career develops.

The Australian national team’s starting line-up to face Uruguay is expected to be;

Brad Jones (Middlesboro, England); Brett Emerton (Blackburn, England), Lucas Neill (West Ham, England), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leicester City, England), Michael Thwaite (Wislaw Krakow, Poland), Carl Valeri (Grosseto, Italy), Luke Wilkshire (FC Twente, Holland), Mile Sterjovski ( Basle, Switzerland), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven,Holland); Brett Holman, (FC Nijmegen, Holland); Scott McDonald. (Celtic, Scotland).

The game will be showed live on Fox Sports. Telecast starts Saturday 7pm on Main Event Channel.









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Canberra's Carl Valeri set to start for Socceroos?


Canberran Carl Valeri is set to make his home debut when the Socceroos take on old friends, Uruguay, in a friendly at the Telstra Stadium Sydney on Saturday night.


This is the last Socceroo game before the squad is announced for the AFC Asia Cup 2007, which is being held in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia from July 7-29. Coach Graham Arnold says, “There are six place up for grabs.”

Mark Viduka, Mark Scharzwer, Harry Kewell, Vinny Grella, Marco Bresciano, Craig Moore, Scott Chipperfield, John Aloisi and Tim Cahill are just some of last year’s World Cup squad to miss Saturday’s game. The match will give Coach Graham Arnold a chance to assess, who of the younger players can make the Asian Cup squad, and more importantly the talent pool available for 2010 South Africa World Cup qualification.

World Cup Coach Gus Hiddink used only 17 players in the World Cup. At least twelve of that squad may have retired by 2010.

With the Socceroos playing many more games in Asia over the coming years, Arnold will need to spread the travel and match load over a bigger group of players.

So who will step up? Canberra’s Carl Valeri is one set to benefit. Valeri, fresh from winning the Serie C in Italy with his club Grosseto, is expected to make his home debut on Saturday night.

Arnold describes Valeri as a ‘mini-Vinnie,’ referring to established Socceroos and ex-Canberra Cosmos star Vince Grella.

Valeri may play in the same defensive role as Grella, but unlike Grella he can score goals. Valeri’s goal in Grossetos 1-0 win away to Padova, on the last day of the Serie C season, secured the championship and promotion.

Valeri made his Socceroos debut against China earlier this year. He produced a strong performance in Australia’s 2-0 win.

The Canberrans career is on the rise.

Valeri is only 23. He has represented Australia at all four levels. Under 17 FIFA World Cup in Trinidad, World Youth Cup in UAE, and with the Olyroos in Athens. His Socceroo caps complete the set.

Valeri’s club contract is equally owned by Inter Milan and Grosseto. His current contract ends in June, and a strong Asian Cup performance may add to his ability to secure a permanent contract in a bigger league.

The game on Saturday will not be easy. Uruguay has a full-strength squad including Alvaro Recoba (Inter Milan) and Diego Forlan (Villareal) and they will give the next generation of Socceroos a severe test.

The Australian national team’s starting line-up is expected to be;

Brad Jones (Middlesboro, England); Brett Emerton (Blackburn, England), Lucas Neill (West Ham, England), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leicester City, England), Michael Thwaite (Wislaw Krakow, Poland), Carl Valeri (Grosseto, Italy), Luke Wilkshire (FC Twente, Holland), Mile Sterjovski ( Basle, Switzerland), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven,Holland); Brett Holman, (FC Nijmegen, Holland); Scott McDonald. (Celtic, Scotland).
The game will be showed live on Fox Sports. Telecast starts 7pm on Main Event Channel.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Kanga Cup expanding into Asia

The biggest junior football competittion in the Southern Hemisphere is gearing up for another big year.

As Australia has moved into the Asia Football Confederation Capital Football have offered an Kanga Cup fellowship to any club in the AFC.

Capital Football is pleased to offer the inaugural McDonald's Kanga Cup Asian Fellowship to the B15 Providence Gujarat FC team from India. The MKCAF application form was sent to every single Asian Football Association in Asia. We also received applications from Kyrgyzstan, China and South Korea.

Apart from our three New Zealand teams and Providence Gujarat FC, Singok FC will return to be part of the B12 competitions, along with another South Korean team and possibly a B12 team from Singapore. It is hoped that a Beijing B18 team will also be coming.
events@capitalfootball.com.au

Still time to get a team in, for more details see www.capitalfootball.com.au, and remember Maddy wants to play in an U11 team. Email me if you have a place or see earlier post under Maddy.

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Maddy U11 needs a Kanga Cup team. Help please.

Football in the Capital caught up with Maddy from the Tempest Under 10's team here in Canberra.

Want to know what an Under 10 girl feels about the game. Read on.

Maddie has scored 8 goals already this season and is looking to play in a Kanga Cup team, so if you have a place contact me and I'll put you touch.

"I like soccer because it keeps you fit and its a really fun sport to play. You can play it with your friends and all you need is some cones or markers and a ball and you can play anywhere," said Maddy

Maddy has been playing a long time.

"I have played soccer since I was 4 in Cairns because when I was little I just loved to get out there and kick the ball even if I kicked an own goal!!!"

Getting information on soccer for a ten year old isn't easy.

" I would like to read about soccer but I have never found any books about soccer that I have ever got into, except the book 'Change the game,' by Michael Hyde.

Like all players of all ages Maddy just loves scoring goals.

" I love scoring goals because it feels good to get past all the other players. And when you are running it feels good to hear all the people on the side line cheering for you. And after you score the goal its nice when the people on your team all high 5 you.

Does the soccer talk continue after the game.

"I do sometimes on Monday. It's usually about the match on Saturday because more than half of my team goes to my school.

Maddy thanks for your time. It's been great to hear from you, and I'll be checking back later in the season to see how you are going.

So many young girls and boys play the game but getting to hear there thoughts and views isn't always possible.

If you know of a young player with a passion for the game and would like me to interview them send me an email. Or write it up yourself.

Where do you or your children read about the game? Let us know what they are reading and where they get their information from.

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Carl Valeri will watch the Italian diving competition today!


Socceroo Carl Valeri is lined up to watch the Italian Diving competition today at Westfield Mall Parramatta.

As part of the promotion for this weeks game against Uruguay, a $5,000 best Italian dive competition will be won by some dubious diver.

Carl Valeri will have more important matters on his mind on Saturday night when I expect him to be in the starting line-up to play Uruguay.

A good performance and Canberran Carl should be on the plane to the Asia Cup.

55,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's game, which is significantly more than the 40,000 who turned up to watch the Wallabies in Sydney last weekend.

Football is on the rise, diving or no diving!

Would you take a dive for your team? In the box, last minute of a World Cup game, would you do it?

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Monday, 28 May 2007

How we celebrate World Cup goals. Australia v Japan

How do you celebrate the goals you score, or when your team scores.

I like the one about the Irish fans. Ireland score after 12 minutes against the mighty Italians in USA 94 in New York.

The fans pour out of the pub in Dublin, celebrating doing their thing.

But what amused me is that they never returned to see the rest of the game!?!

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Australia qualifies for world cup-Aloisi scores!

I know we've all seen it before, but the crowd reaction is...well amusing

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TRIBUTE TO JOHNNY WARREN: I TOLD YOU SO

Johhny Warren truly touched many people in football in Australia. Still saddens me to think he missed Australia at the 2006 World Cup.

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Olyroos squad to face Jordan on June 6th

The never ending round of qualifying games for the Beijing Olympics continues on June 6th. The Olyroos need a point away to Jordan to qualify for the next qualifying round. Yes there are three qualifying rounds. The pre-qualifying group, the current one known as the qualifying group the third stage.

Here's the frequent flyer squad. Cost for this one is nothing as all the lads have 100,000 plus frequent flyer points.

Canberran Nikolai Topor-Stanley is suspended so misses out on his chance to complete eight away games in eight countries in 4 months (For the record, he's done seven in Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.)

And he likes flying so much, he's signed for Perth Glory!

The19-man squad for the match against Jordan on June 6 is:
Leigh Broxham (Melbourne Victory), Nathan Burns (Adelaide United), Adam Casey (Sydney FC), Adam D'Apuzzo (Newcastle Jets), Bruce Djite (Adelaide United), Aaron Downes (Chesterfield, England), Troy Hearfield (Newcastle Jets), Neil Kilkenny (Birmingham City, England), Adrian Leijer (Melbourne Victory), Trent McClenahan (Hereford United, England), Mark Milligan (Sydney FC), Kristian Sarkies (Adelaide United), Tando Velaphi (Perth Glory), Dario Vidosic (Queensland Roar), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Nick Ward (QPR, England), David Williams (Brondby, Denmark), Ruben Zadkovich (Sydney FC)

The third stage features 12 teams split into three groups and will be held from August 22 - November 21, with only the three group winners representing Asia at the Beijing Olympic Games.

It never stops this Asia stuff does it. Think we might need a few more players in years to come.

Should Asia change the Olympic qualification route? I say yes, what do you say?

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Ned Zelic Australian Football

An oldie, but a goldie.
One of the most important goals scored by a Canberran.
Ned Zelic scores in the last minute to put the Olyroos into the Barcelona Olympics, knocking out the Dutch in the process.

Do you know more important goal scored by a Canberra?

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Soccer not allowed


Thought you enjoy this photo. Sources say it refers to a Canberra oval, but I haven't been able to confirm this!

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Chance to watch the Socceroos train in Sydney on Thursday

If you are in Sydney on Thursday the Socceroos will be holding an open training session at Telstra Stadium at 4.30pm

“The support the team has received from Australian fans recently has been tremendous and we are looking forward to giving our supporters a unique insight into how we prepare for a match,” said Head Coach Graham Arnold.

“Our international against Uruguay is an important part of our Asian Cup preparations and so every training session is crucial and the fans will enjoy seeing the players as they prepare.”

Fans can enter the stadium from 4.00pm onwards via Gate H at Telstra Stadium.

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Sunday, 27 May 2007

Spiranovic wins German Cup Final

Socceroo Matthew Spiranovic came on as a substitute in the 73rd minute to help FC Nuremburg, known in Germany as 'Der Club', win the German Cup.

Nuremburg beat Bundesliga Champions Stuttgart in the final 3-2.

No place for fellow Aussies Michael Beauchamp, Josh Kennedy or Dario Vidosic in the Nuremburg side. Presumably Beauchamp and Kennedy are injured.

Matthew Spiranovic is only 18. Since Harry Kewell, Australia has never had an 18 year old playing at such a high level in the game.

Clearly Spiranovic, who made his debut this year against Bayern Munich, has a huge future ahead of him.

It will be interesting to watch his progression. A German Cup Final winners medal is not bad for starters.

Asian Cup winners medal next?

Also although of Croatian heritage, he has chosen to play for Australia. That makes me feel good!

Is Matthew Spiranovc the hottest property since Harry Kewell, what do you think?

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Saturday, 26 May 2007

Football Australian Style.

Many Aussies have links to overseas countries. Maybe a grandparent heralds from Croatia or Italy, maybe your ma or pa was born in Ireland or Germany. Maybe you came here from China or Vietnam.

Wherever your heritage chances are football was in the family. Maybe you'd played when you lived overseas or visited relatives.

Well I bet your overseas relatives have never seen football Australian style.

Under 8's down at the local oval. An engrossing game where only the scorers remember the game.

Suddenly the goalie shouts, "A kangaroo!"

Everyone looks at there goes the big grey, bounding past the corner taker. Moves between the two sides, great swerves and then picks up pace. Then heads across the oval, where at least ten games are taking part.

There is a man, in a line of spectators, watching his daughter. He has his back to the commotion. He is oblivious.

Not for long, as over his head leaps the Roo, landing in front of him and right on the pitch.

A more spectacular display of pace, skill and leaping has not been seen on the oval for years.

And then it started.

"Sign him up."
"He's got a good turn of speed."
"Put him up front."
"He's on our side, we could do with a bit more energy in the team."
"Ref, get him off he's hopping mad."

How did we know he was a boy? Well he looked like he was showing off in front of a crowd. Sound like any boys you know?

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Young Matildas in Camp at AIS

The Young Matildas are in Camp at the AIS, Canberra this weekend. They will play the ACT Academy Squad U14 boys tomorrow kick-off 9pm.

New Coach Alen Stajcic will have his first opportunity to work with this group since taking charge.

The Young Matildas are building towards AFC U19 Asia Cup in China in October.

The full squad attending the camp is:

Victoria BALOMENOS Adelaide
Kirralea BROCK Adelaide
Tameka BUTT Gold Coast
Stacey DAY Adelaide
Laura ALLEWAY Brisbane
Casey DUMONT Gold Coast
Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT Brisbane
Kate STEWART Brisbane
Teresa POLIAS Sydney
Olivia KENNEDY Sydney
Clare POLKINGHORNE Brisbane
Lydia WILLIAMS Canberra
Ashleigh CONNOR Sydney
Caitlin COOPER Sydney
Grace GILL Canberra
Britt SIMMONS Sydney
Rachel COOPER Sydney
Lyndsay GLOHE Sydney
Elyse PERRY Sydney
Samantha SPACKMAN Sydney
Rachel DOYLE Sydney
Jenna KINGSLEY Sydney
Renee ROLLASON Sydney
Kyah SIMON Sydney
Ella MASTRANTONIO Perth
Jessica SEAMAN Sydney

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Friday, 25 May 2007

Girls guide to A-League

I've been reading a few blogs recently on Australian football and here's one with a difference.
Cecilia is a research assistant in Melbourne with a passion for the game.

See her blog here. Girls Guide to A-League

Favourite bit of the blog for me is...Cecilia's top five A-League swoon list.(I'm joking) but here they are any way.


Allsopp, Danny (Melbourne)
Dilevski, Spase (Queensland)
Old, Steven (Wellington Phoenix)
Owens, Greg (Central Coast)
Willis, Thomas (Queensland)

Sources close to me would add Canberran Nikolai Topor-Stanley. We reckon Canberran guys are better looking but each to their own hey Claire.

Central Coast Mariners manager Lawrie McKinna reckons Dean Heffernan is swoon material (see Mckinna in archives)

Like to add to the A-League swoon list, let us know.

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ACT women to get Sport Leadership Grants

The Australian Government through the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Government Office for Women is inviting applications from women at Australian club level to apply for the 2007/08 Sport Leadership Grants for Women. One aim of the grants program is to provide women with an opportunity to further their education and training in areas of sport leadership which can benefit the growth and development of their sporting club.
For grant application forms and guidelines please go to: http://www.ausport.gov.au/women/grants.asp.

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Sally Shipard makes Matildas squad for North Korea

Sally Shipard, Football in the Capital's favourite writer has made the squad for the vital Oympic qualifier in North Korea on Sunday June 3rd.

The Matildas fly out on Monday to China. They will play the Chinese national team in a behind closed door full practice game on Wednesday before flying into North Korea on Saturday.

Great news for Sally who has only played twenty minutes for the Matildas in recent months. She is now fully recovered from her injuries and is raring to go.

Canberra's other Matildas players Caitlin Munoz and goalkeepr Lydia Williams are both recovering from injuries. Munoz is on the mend from a long-term injury, while Williams has a fractured wrist. Williams will be out for six weeks so will definitely miss the return game in Coffs Harbour on June 10th

Well done Sally, and we hope to get your updates from Beijing during the week.

Full Squad is:
Goalkeepers – Melissa Barbieri (Current Home City - Melbourne), Emma Wirkus

Defenders – Dianne Alagich (Sydney), Heather Garriock (Sydney), Kate McShea (Brisbane), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane), Thea Slatyer (Sydney - NSW), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle)

Midfielders – Lauren Colthorpe (Newcastle), Lana Harch (Brisbane), Alicia Ferguson (Brisbane), Joanne Peters (Newcastle), Sally Shipard (Canberra), Collette McCallum (Perth)

Forwards – Joanne Burgess (Sydney), Lisa De Vanna (Canberra), Kate Gill (Newcastle), Sarah Walsh (Sydney)

Tom Sermanni says he would be happy with a 0-0 but obviously would like a win.

Can the Matildas win in North Korea? Watching the pace of Sarah Walsh in training the other day anything is possible. Here's hoping they sneak a win.

Let us know what you think

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Thursday, 24 May 2007

George Huitker says Kaizen to you

Canberran George Huitker, author, teacher, coach, and playwright suggests after thirty years of coaching and playing, all junior coaches, players, parents and know-alls should adopt the Japanese philosophy of 'kaizen' when involved with junior football players.

In his recent book, How to Succeed Without Really Winning, Huitker describes how kaizen, a Japanese term for continual improvement is what players should be aiming for rather than the win at all costs mentality.

I'm with you George but going round the grounds on the weekend suggests there is still a lot of work to do.

Check you local junior team on the weekend and see how things are going.

Last week, one girl left the game in tears as her under 8 side lost 2-0, and I only watched one game all weekend. Something wrong somewhere.

Interesting Ian Thorpe often talked about doing his best rather than winning the race. Seems like lots of sports teams and stars should follow his attitude.

Does Kaizen work for you and your team? What do you think?

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Matty Kemp moves to Melbourne Victory.

Canberra's Matthew Kemp is on the move. He played his last game for Adelaide United last night in their 3-0 win over Vietnamnese side Long Tan Dong Am.

He has signed for next season with A-League champions Melbourne Victory.

Matthew spend many years playing with BelNorth in Canberra in his junior days.

"I've moved to Melbourne to win a championship, so hopefully I can do it."

He's not expecting much of a break.

"No, I think I'll be spending my two weeks off moving house and then it'll be back to pre-season. I lloved playing at the Dome with Adelaide in front of big crowds, and it will be even better when they are your home fans."

Kemp had two great season at Adelaide. Although beaten in this years Grand Final Adelaide have been the most successful of all A-League sides over the two seasons.

Kemp is one of nine Adelaide players to have left the club since the Grand Final.

Can Matthew Kemp win a Grand Final with Melbourne. I say possibly, but I'm interested to see how they replace or play without Brazilian star Fred. What do you think?

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Sally Shipard writes.

Hi I'm Sally Shipard, here's my update for this week.

Last weekend Camp at the AIS was so exciting. The girls were all in top form on the pitch and having Pink perform at the AIS arena was something extra to make the experience that little bit more special.

I always look forward to the camps. I was especially looking forward to this camp as I would be training with the girls again. I suffered from a slight muscle strain in my left quad early on but by the last day I managed to get on the pitch for 20 minutes of the game against touring US side University of North Carolina, it felt so good to be back.

This week a team of 18 will be announced for the North Korean trip next week. Tommy will be choosing the best team for the 2 games; 10 girls have to miss out who trained over the weekend. Fingers crossed I will be leaving the country next Monday.

My two Canberra mates...Lydia Williams and Caitlin Munoz are out injured. Caitlin is working back into training and should be fit for the second leg in Coffs harbour and Lydia Williams has fractured her wrist and will be out for at least 6 weeks. Lydia will be training as a 'field player' for the next few weeks, she trained with ACTAS (ACT Academy Squad)last night and I was impressed!!!:-)

bye for now

Sally

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Zeljko 1 Harry 0

AC Milan beat Liverpool 2-1 in the Champions League this morning

Harry Kewell cam on after 60 minutes, good news for the Socceroos and our Asian Cup campaign.

Zeljko got the $500,000 individual player bonus as he sat on the bench and watched his Brazilian team mate Dida at work in the Milan goals.

Nice work if you can get it!

What was the best bonus you ever got from working? I got 665 pounds once for working in poor conditions, no heating and the like. Take that Zeljko!

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Sydney lose 0-0 in Japan

Well, Sydney are out. They drew 0-0 overnight in Japan in front of 45,000 Urawa Red Diamond fans and miss out on a place in the next round of the Asian Champions League by just one point.

It was a strong performance by Sydney. They dominated the game with 60% of possession but couldn't find the breakthrough.

David Zdrillic missed a sitter from six yards after good work from David Carney and Alex Brosque. How Sydney needed that goal.

Canberra's Adam Casey came on in the 65 minute but was unable to find a goal.

Overall this shows Sydney needed to convert a chance here or one of the ten they had against Shanghai in the last 0-0 game.

A striker, a couple of million for a striker. The lack of money in the Australia game, means we get what we pay for. Sydney produced a wonderful performance all over the park bar the bit that really matters. The finishing.

With Adelaide an Melbourne Victory in next year's tournament it could be many year's before Sydney come this close to progressing again.

Good to see a small band of Sydney supporters in Japan.

Will Melbourne Victory do better than Sydney in the ACL?

Do Sydney need a striker for next season? Tell us what you think.

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Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Victory get a bigger stadium

Melbourne Victory will share their home games in 2009 between the 56,000 capacity Telstra Dome and the new, yet to be built, Olympic Park stadium.

The purpose built new stadium is a rectangular football ground and will host Ruby League, Rugby Union and Football games.

Originally designed to be 20,000 which would be more than enough for Rugby League table toppers Melbourne Storm, but Melbourne Victory's crowds last season stunned stadium organisers

A compromise has been reached and the stadium will now hold 31,000.

This is probably too small, however it may work in football's favour. If Victory continue to attract good crowds some people may miss out. This may in turn enable a second Melbourne team to enter the league.

Is a 31,000 stadium enough given Victory can move big games to the Dome? What do you think?

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Aussies in Cup Finals

A few Australians will be playing in Cup Finals in the next few days.

Harry Kewell may play tonight in the biggest final of all. The Champions League Final in Athens, Liverpool v AC Milan. Zeljko Kalac will be on the bench for AC Milan.

On Saturday Nuremberg will look to win their first German Cup in 45 years when they meet Stuttgart.

It could be a double celebration at the final in Berlin with Michael Beauchamp and Matthew Spiranovic looking to add to the good news that they have been included in the Australian squad to play Uruguay with a winners medal for Nuremberg.

On Monday the city of Berne will host the Swiss Cup Final with Qantas Socceroos Mile Sterjovski and Scott Chipperfield likely to line-up for FC Basel as they face FC Luzern.

Predictions:
AC Milan to win
Stuttgart to win in Germany
Aussie Basel to win in Switzerland

Agree? Tell us what you think.

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Adam Casey in Japan with Sydney tonight

Canberra's Adam Casey will be hoping to get on the field tonight in Saitama Japna. Sydney FC play Urawa Reds in front of 60,000 fans. (8.30 live on Fox, just forget the State of Origin...they have two more games, this is do-or die football!)

Sydney must win to go through to the next round.

Casey spoke to Football in the Capital saying, "I'll be nervous but if I get on, I'll be fine. It's the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of, it will be a fantastic experience."

Not so long ago Casey was running out for O'Connor Knights and Belconnen Blue Devils as he recovered from various injuries.

"When I finished at the AIS the A-League hadn't started so my career was a bit slow to get going."

He's making it up for it now. After stints with Wollongong Wolves in the NSW state league and New Zealand Knights in the A-League, he has just signed a two-year deal with Sydney FC.

"I've got a two-year deal which is great. My aim is to get as much game time as possible and improve as much as I can."

Adam will be giving Football in the Capital updates of his and Sydney FC's season all through the A-League.

What's the biggest crowd you ever played in front of? Let us know.

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Fox to show all Asian Cup games live.

All 32 Asian Cup games will be shown live on Fox. Hooray!

The timing of the Asian Cup clashes will give Australia’s football public prime time access to the Socceroos as the group matches kick off at the following fan-friendly times:
Sunday 8 July – Australia v Oman (7.30pm)
Friday 13 July – Australia v Iraq (7.30pm)
Monday 16 July – Australia v Thailand (10.00pm)

Canberrans can watch the Australian games on the big screen in Garema Place. The Green and Gold Army have organised this.

Also all games are on Fox so if you don't have it, you'd better get to a local football friendly pub, subscribe now, or better still find a mate with Fox.

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Maradona, Messi, Crespo and Tevez

Watch the skill and control of these guys.
Try this at home.

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Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Canberra's Carl Valeri in Socceroo squad

Canberran Carl Valeri is included in the Socceroo squad to play Uruguay on June 2nd. This is the last game before the squad for the Asia Cup is announced.

Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill and Vince Grella are just some of the notable absentees. All should be available for the Asian Cup.

I would expect Valeri to gain his second cap, and Valeri will almost certainly gain a place in the Asia Cup squad following his strong debut in the last friendly against China. He is seen as understudy to defensive midfielder Vince Grella.

Grella's other replacements are Josip Skoko(left outof this squad) and possibly Mark Milligan (Olyroo).

Full squad is:
Daniel Allsopp (Melbourne Victory)
Michael Beauchamp (Nurnberg)
Mark Bridge (Newcastle Jets)
Nick Carle (Newcastle Jets)
David Carney (Sydney FC)
Simon Colosimo (Sivasspor)
Jason Culina (PSV)
Brett Emerton (Blackburn)
Adam Federici (Reading)
Ryan Griffiths (Liaoning)
Brett Holman (NEC Nijmegen)
Brad Jones (Middlesbrough)
Patrick Kisnorbo (Leicester)
Scott McDonald (Motherwell)
Lucas Neill (West Ham)
Jade North (Newcastle Jets)
Matthew Spiranovic (Nurnberg)
Shane Stefanutto (Lillestrom)
Mile Sterjovski (Basel)
Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory)
Michael Thwaite (Wisla Krakow)
Carl Valeri (Grosseto)
Luke Wilkshire (FC Twente)

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Matildas to name squad for North Korea

Football in the Capital caught up with the Matildas to discuss their crucial Olympic Qualifier against North Korea and all things Matildas.

Coach Tom Sermanni will name his squad early this week for the crucial Olympic qualifier with North Korea on Sunday June 3rd in Pyongyang.

Sermanni had twenty-eight players in camp this week at the AIS, but will reduce his squad to 18 for the trip.

The Matildas have four ACT. players at the camp. Caitlin Munoz, Sally Shipard, Amy Chapman and Lydia Williams have all played a lot of football in Canberra. Worryingly, three of the Canberrans are under an injury cloud and must wait for final fitness assessments to see if they are on the plane to Korea.

“Sally and Caitlin are running freely. Lydia has a small wrist injury so we’re just hoping they are all okay. If they should miss the first game they could come into contention for the second game in Coffs Harbour the following week.” said Sermanni.

“We are well prepared and will fly to China next Monday. We’ll play a friendly behind closed doors in Beijing, against China, and then fly into North Korea on Saturday. Getting flights in and out of North Korea is difficult but we’ve done the best we can.”

Experienced defender, Cheryl Salisbury, was recently selected for the FIFA World All?Star team, which played China before the World Cup draw in April. She is one of the few players to have travelled to North Korea before.

“It’s grey. Nothing you have read or seen prepares you for this, but you have to cope with it. Last time we weren’t allowed outside our hotel, except to train and play. That just means we all become a little closer and bond better. So the morale of the team improves. Electricity shuts off, there is no access to computers or television so you have to find different things to do. It is hard seeing the poverty and it makes you appreciate what you have in Australia.”

This is a big year for Salisbury and her Matildas team mates. “We’ve got these Olympic qualifiers. We want to go to the Beijing Olympics next year and we want to do well at the World Cup in China in September.”

“Personally, the knees are holding up, just, but I had to have an injection before the games against Chinese Taipei. How long I can continue I don’t know, but I’d like to get to Beijing for the Olympics and then we’ll see.”

After football?

“Well I’d like to stay involved. I’ve played since I was an 8 year-old junior in Newcastle. More and more women coaches are coming into the game. When I started we relied on someone’s dad or an ex-player who had little coaching experience. Now we have the best. They are still mainly men, but the women now have the experience to start to come through. I’ll do my Asia Coaching qualifications and see how I go.”

“The young players today are so far ahead of where I was. They come into camp with much better technical skills. You can see how the junior coaching has paid off.

Sermanni is relaxed about the trip to North Korea. “We’ve done our homework. I expect the home side to attack and have a lot of possession. Even in the English Premier League an inferior side like Wigan will have a spell of sustained pressure against Manchester United if they are at home. The home crowd will give the players a lift. We’ve focused on this and what we can expect from the Referees. We don’t always feel we get a fair go in Asia. Different interpretations of the rules, but we get on with it.”

Football in Asia means more games and more travel for all the Australian teams.

“The Matildas’ and Young Matildas’ programmes have increased tremendously. There is so much more travel, so many more games to play to qualify for tournaments and the standard is much higher than when we went through Oceania. We’re in the middle of these Olympic Qualifiers whereas the Oceania Olympic qualifiers haven’t even started yet!”

“Our resources are stretched. We have nine international teams to spend our money on. The Socceroos are obviously the most important as they bring in the most revenue, but the rest of the teams get a fair go. It’s just a case of having so many teams with travel, training and playing costs. We do the best we can.”

“After the World Cup, the Young Matildas have the U19 Asia Cup in October. The program just continues.”

“Interestingly we have only two players from the Young Matildas in the senior squad. This shows the depth of women’s football now. We have a lot more quality at all age levels, and it’s harder for the young players to break-into the full squad.”

Caitlin Munoz, Lydia Williams and Sally Shipard have a nervous wait until the squad is announced later this week. Should they miss out at least they know they have many more Matilda days ahead of them.

This article first appeared at www.netfa.com

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Central Coasts Lawrie McKinna, Alex Tobin and all things Mariners

This article first appeared at www.netfa.com

I caught up with Central Coast Mariners Lawrie McKinna and Alex Tobin at Gloria Jeans, Belconnen Mall recently and here's what they had to say about the Mariners for next season.

Central Coast Manager Lawrie McKinna and Ex-Socceroo and Mariners Development Coach Alex Tobin talk Mariners, A-League and their plans for season three.

When you ask McKinna and Tobin about the Mariners grand final loss to Sydney FC in A-League season one, they both still groan. Even though it’s more than fifteen months ago the bodies still seem to twitch a little.

“How did we lose that game, the chances we had, we just couldn’t finish on the day. We had six great goal-scoring opportunities chances,” says McKinna.

His Mariners team had gone to Aussie Stadium home of Sydney FC in front of a sell-out grand-final crowd. Everyone knew Sydney FC would win the first A-League title. After all they had Dwight Yorke. The Mariners fans and their team stormed the bastion. Chance after chance came and went. Each one easier than the last. Surely they would score. And then it’s 1-0 to Sydney, game over.

Mckinna knows the goal problem continued all through season two. “We played well enough, we let in three goals more than season one, but scored 12 less. We got key injuries, but we couldn’t score. We lost Dean Heffernan (to Nurnberg) who scored seven goals, Noel Spencer scored six in season one, I don’t think he scored in season 2. If only we could have kept Damian Mori for the whole season.”

“The biggest problem we’ve had, in the first two years, is knowing which players you are going to put on the park. Sometimes last season we had nine players injured, so there isn’t too much you can do at training with a squad of twenty. We’ve never whinged about the size of the A-League squad as that’s the rules, but continuity is very difficult from week to week. However, it becomes very easy to pick a team, whoever is fit gets to play, and the less fit go on the bench!”

So is the winner of the A-League merely the last team standing?

“Well, if you look at Melbourne in season two they had the least injuries of any team. That’s not to say it’s purely down to that, that they won the competition, but it certainly helps,” says Ex-Socceroo and Mariners Development Coach Alex Tobin

The focus is forward.

“We’re going to be very strong in Season 3. We need to score more goals. With the guys we’ve got for next season we can score from all over the park. Sasho Petrovski has signed. He’s had his ups and downs at Sydney but he was top scorer the last two seasons. Nicky Mrdja is a new player, he’s fit (He’s missed most of the first two season due to injury) Adam Kwasnik is the best finisher in the club. I know he missed a lot of chances and the supporters gave him a bit of stick, but he’s one of the best natural finishers in the game. He’ll benefit this year with the other proven goal scorers around him. Greg Owens has signed from Adelaide, he’s a proven goal scorer. John Hutchison and Tom Pondeljak all get goals. And we’re still hopeful we’ll get Heff (Dean Heffernan) back from Nurnberg as technically he’s still our player, but it depends on what offers he gets. He could be good enough for the Socceroos, if he gets playing. The Socceroos need a left-sided player and a good-looking one, and he fits both criteria. He’d be a hit with the female fans!”

“We’re always looking at players. We won’t fill the twenty-three-man roster, I don’t think any club will. They’ll be using the money to buy a little bit more in terms of quality, or they may not spend the salary cap. It depends on the finances of each club. We’re okay at the Mariners, we’re well set-up.”

“We’ve got ten days of pre-season training then we’re off to the Hong Kong Sevens again, on 26th May. Then we’ve a game in Canberra against Belconnen United and then the pre-season cup starts.”

“We’re taking a young side to Hong Kong next week to play Celtic, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, and Urawa Reds, including a couple of boys from the local club, Central Coast Lightning. We played Celtic two years ago and beat them 2-0. Fergie (Assistant Mariners Coach and ex-Rangers player Ian Ferguson) wasn’t happy I wouldn’t let him play against Celtic!”

McKinna had a desire to be involved in football from an early age. He played part-time for Kilmarnock in Scotland, before coming to Australia twenty-one years ago said, “As a kid, I always wanted to earn 100 pound a week and play for Rangers. I was going to give my mum 95 pounds and buy a Hillman Avenger with the rest. How I was going to buy the car, I don’t now know, but that was the dream.”

“I managed to stay involved in the game for a long time, even through the dark, dark days of Northern Spirit in the National Soccer League when guys weren’t getting paid. It was pretty depressing.”

“But now people stop you in the street to talk football and in Melbourne, when the Mariners were there, we had TV crews chasing us down the street. The game has changed. The fans singing, jumping in the stadiums bring a great atmosphere in Sydney with The Cove and Melbourne. Which other codes, Union, League or AFL have that. We’ve got a great family atmosphere at The Mariners. It’s a great time to be involved in football.

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Monday, 21 May 2007

Branko Culina calls them unAustralian

As Sydney prepare for their massive game against Urawa Reds in Japan on Wednesday evening, (8pm State of Origin time but I'll know where I'll be) Coach Branko Culina has reflected on the lack of coverage of his sides game in Australia.

"130 million people in Japan, 245million in Indonesia and probably the main game, the only game is football."

Yeah we get it Branko, football is big and Asia is huge.

But State of Origin is massive, almost 6 million people live in NSW and Queensland.

Culina said those who chose not to embrace the growing nature of football Down Under were un-Australian and insecure in their code.

"All Australians are sports minded people and if you're not going to accept football you're un-Australian," Culina said.

"These people within other codes - not all of them but a few - they're very insecure because they know that it is only football that is global."

Who are these un-Australians? If you know any let me know and I'll send them pages and pages of material from my blog!

Do you think Australians still fear the round ball game. Surely not. Even in Canberra we have the odd story in the local newspaper and ABC Radio love to call it Soccer.

Have your say. Is football now accepted? Is their enough coverage in the local media?
Does your child's sport get a fair go?

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Matildas 3 North Carolina University 1

The Matildas had an impressive hit-out against USA touring side North Carolina University this morning at the AIS in Canberra. This was the last chance for coach Tom Sermanni to look at his players before announcing the squad for North Korea.

NCU were on their end of season tour. With 7 million women players in the USA they will have strong sides for years to come. NCU's end of season tour is fully paid for by their sponsor Nike!

Starts you thinking doesn't it.

"We get to choose which country we come to," said an injured NCU player. "We chose Australia, because its awesome!"

Can't argue with that.

The NCU were a strong team. They had US National team members in Yael Averbuch, Mandy Moraca, Ashlyn Harris, Tobin Heath and Casey Nogueira in their squad.

In a competitive game the Matildas ran out winners 3-1. Goals from Jo Burgess, Lana Harch and Lisa De Vanna secured the win.

This was the closest test the Matildas had had for some time.

And it goes to show that watching Pink the night before the game doesn't necessarily hinder your performance, although Tom Sermanni may have a different view.

Read more about the North Carolina teams tour at NCU on tour down under

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Matildas, Pink and Tim Tams

Ever been to a Pink concert.

Well, Pink does a couple of slow numbers, talks about wishing she could have a camp fire right here on stage, with friends (the audience) and maybe some marshmallows and chocolate.

Anyway, at this point in the Pink concert, fans the world over have started to throw marshmallows and chocolate onto the stage.

Not the Matildas, bless them!

A few players are mad for Pink. So when Pink was in Canberra last night, with the Matildas in camp at the AIS, the party was on.

Singing, yelling and generally going for it, the Matildas had their own treat for Pink.

Sure enough Pink did her Campfire bit and sure enough fans threw Marshmallows on to the stage.

But wrapped in a special note from the Matildas was not marshmallow but good old Aussie Tim Tams!

After much yahooing a a member of the backing band eventually picked up the Matildas gift.

Pink wished the girls well and made sure everyone in the audience knew who the Matildas were.

Nice one Matildas.

We don't need calenders anymore when we've got Tim Tams to promote the team

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Sunday, 20 May 2007

Canberra Junior Clubs: No goalies please!

Ever seen a kid in goal freezing on a Saturday morning.

All Fifa reports talk about Aussie men and women playing strong football, great physically but still lacking in technical ability.

How do Australian team's players, coaches and kids improve our technical culture.

We have enough players to make a bigger mark on the world game but we need to improve our skills.

Skills, not competitive nature should be the focus.

The players need to love the ball. They need to be able to play anywhere in any position at an early age.

The smaller the field, the smaller the numbers of players on it, means more touches for players, more involvement for kids and more skill development.

Generally, people who get better at something, enjoy the activity more.

Look around your local club. Here is the three point test:

Under 7 and Under 6 should not have any goalkeepers.
They should not have more than four-a-side on the field,
and of course no positions

What can you do if you feel your club isn't supporting the latest best practice values for football development across Australia?

Well, post here and I'll present the views to Capital Football, the representative body in town.

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Rob Baan happy with Olyroos win.

Coach Rob Baan had a tactical plan for the recent Olyroos game against Iran.

"We knew they wanted a draw, and they would sit and hit us on the break. So we practiced sending the ball wide, quick passes, quick switches and keeping the ball. The Iranian coach made a change early in the game because we were playing so well."

The Olyroos who had the exciting Mark Bridge sent off in the second half held on for a 3-1 win.

The Olyroos have one game left away to Jordan and providing they draw, which I reckon they will win, they then have more Olympic qualifiers to come later in the year.

Coach Baan steps down after the Olympic qualifiers with Baan hoping Graham Arnold will take over. John Kosmina, Lawrie McKinna and David Mitchell are all speculated to be in line for the Olyroos job.

Baan prefers a coach from Australia, "but if we have to go overseas we will, but I'd prefer a local coach.

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Matildas update.

Football in the Capital caught up with the Matildas this morning at the AIS in Canberra.

The team seemed in good spirits as coach Tom Sermanni put them through their paces.

With twenty eight players in camp and only eighteen on the plane to North Korea for the crucial Olympic qualifier on June 3rd, Sermanni has a few choices to make.

ACT trio Caitlin Munoz, Sally Shipard are all training again after injury. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams has a wrist injury but hopes to be included.

These are the big games players are desperate to play in and when Sermanni approached each player each player gave him a big smile and said they were fine.

Sermanni will be expecting a tough game in Korea. "We have more goalscorers and better individuals like Cheryl Salisbury and Kate Gill. But they have a lot of pace and technical ability all over the park. They will run and run all day, plus they will be supported by a big crowd. Not many of our team have played in front of such a crowd but I think our players will cope okay. We'll talk about that and we'll be ready."

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Catlin Munoz on the mend.

Matildas star Caitlin Munoz is hoping to be fit to make the squad for the crucial Olympic Qualifier against North Korea on Sunday June 3rd in Pyongyang.

Munoz has been injured for sometime and feels her knee has fully recovered.

"I'm just a bit short of match practice, but my leg is fine."

"It's been an exciting time. Qualifying for the World Cup was such an exciting time. Yes and I scored that goal with my first touch I think. We've got the Qualifiers, the games on TV and the World Cup. It's great. "

"I always wanted to play football. Dad was a passionate football fan. He's Spanish so he got me started. My first club was in Belconnen."

It's a long way from a Belconnen to the World Cup but Munoz is focused on achieving that goal.

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For the love of the game

Bill, I met him twenty years ago when I first arrived in Australia.

Back then he was playing in the Independent Inner North Mixed Social comp at the local gym on a Monday night. A Long season, and a Short season and a few weeks break in between. Basically twelve months non-stop football.

Anyway Bill had babies, you know what I mean, and around the age of 40 he stopped playing. Too hard, kids too young, and the creaking knees.

Well at the age of 49 Bill is back, after a seven year break. Filled in to do a favour occasionally but this season he is the man. Every week, every Monday lust like in his late twenties!

"I'm a good goalie, well not bad. But I let two in the other night in the first minute, the captain swapped himself with me. There was no way it was my fault, the shots were just too hard. Anyway we lost 8-2 and the captain let in the rest, "smiled Bill

Why do we come back for one more game! Why do we still want to be blameless in defeat, or valued on the team?

Well, anyway good luck Bill, here's hoping you make it to 50, just like Sir Stanley Matthews, and yes Bill, you're shorts are as long as his but that's okay, coz the fashion has caught up with you.

Bill assures me there is at least one guy older than him in the comp.

You're just never too old to play some level of football are you?

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Friday, 18 May 2007

Matildas fighting to get on the plane to North Korea.

Matildas Coach Tom Sermanni has 28 players in Camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra this weekend. It’s the final camp before the squad flies out for the crucial Olympic qualifier against North Korea on June 3rd.

“I should know the eighteen players who will be going by Monday. We’re only allowed to take 18 as part of the Olympic rules. I need sixteen players because I never count the goalkeepers in the numbers!”

“We’ve been working on defensive patterns expecting North Korea to have the lion share of possession. We haven’t faced this sort of game for some time.”

“We play the ACT Academy squad this evening at 5pm and then we have two more training days. We’ll probably have a couple of sessions on Sunday including an inter-squad game.”

“We’ll fly into China on Saturday 28th of May. We’ll play China in an unofficial friendly behind closed doors, then fly to Korea on the Saturday and out on the Tuesday.”

“There are limited flights in and out of North Korea so we’ve made the best plans we can given the circumstances.”

“The squad is in good shape. Sally Shipard is improving and should be training normally by Sunday. Caitlin Munoz is coming along.”

“This squad have been together for so long that although the camps are weeks apart, the team are able to pick-up new concepts pretty quickly. You don’t have to start from scratch each time so the camps are working well.”

The Matildas play two crucial games against North Korea. Away in Korea on June 3rd,and at Coffs Harbour International Stadium on June 10th.
Both teams are on equal points and these games should decide who goes to the Olympics in Beijing next year.

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Did you know Adelaide United's Matthew Kemp is a Canberra boy

Former BelNorth junior Matthew Kemp is on the move. He's has one match o play with Adelaide United on Wednesday in the Asian Champions League and then he's off to Melbourne Victory for season three of the A-League.

"I want to be a Champion. I want a winners medal and I think I have a great chance with Melbourne." said Matthew Kemp.

"We had a great season at Adelaide apart from the last game in the Grand Final."

He's been to China, Vietnam and Korea with Adelaide in the ACL this season and he'll be doing the same next season with Victory.

"Thirty two hours from Adelaide to China for a game of football. The travel is difficult and then you have to play. I'm not complaining and if you got to the next round you wouldn't mind at all. And I'd rather be doing it than not, its just a lot of time in a plane!"

"I'm looking forward to playing in front of the Melbourne fans. It's great to play at the Dome in front of a passionate support, but it'll be better to have them on side. Yeah it's going to be good."

We'll be keeping in touch with Matthew Kemp, here at Football in the Capital, as the BelNorth Juniors journey continues during season three of the A-League.

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Futsalroos thumped 8-0 in quarter-final

Australia lost 8-0 to crash out of the AFC Asian Futsal Cup in Japan. The team had fought hard to get through the group stages but were no match for the more professional Iran side.

Iran coach Hossein Shams said: "Attacking teams like us often leave spaces in the back but having the best goalkeeper in Asia, we were quite comfortable.”
Australian coach Scott Gilligan said: "In the second half we had to try and get some goals so we went on the offensive. Iran is a professional side while we are still learning."

Another tough baptism into Asian football. The only way is up. It may take some years to win such tournaments but our standards will be improving all the time.

Interestingly, of the nine national men and women's sides this Futsal team has the highest proportion of Canberrans. There were four in this side: Matthew Whyte, Trent Flanigan, Scott Manson and Goran Josifovski.

Well done guys.

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Sydney FC 1 Melbourne Victory 0

Sydney FC will play David Beckham's LA Galaxy in November.

A spokesman inside Melbourne Victory confirmed Sydney that had won the race to play
Beckham.

LA Galaxy are expected to play in Sydney at the end of November.

The rivalry for top club in Australia on and off the field is building. Sydney and Melbourne attracted huge crowds last year. 50,333 people attended one clash at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne.

With big names Archie Thompson, Kevin Muscat and Ljubo Milicevic at Victory and Sydney chasing John Aloisi and Phillip Cocu the rivalry next year could go up another level.

Any thoughts?

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Adam Casey is off to Japan

What a week for the boy from Weetangara Primary school in Canberra.

Canberra's Adam Casey has a two-year contract with Sydney FC.

On Wednesday he was on the bench for the Olyroos as they secured a crucial win against Iran.

This afternoon he flies out to Saitama, Japan to take part in Sydney FC's crucial do-or-die game against the mighty Urawa Reds.

Urawa Red Diamonds are possibly Asia's biggest club with over 60,000 expected at the game on Wednesday.

Casey told Football in the Capital, "Its a massive game. I've never played in front of such a large crowd and I'll be really nervous. But if I get on the park, my nerves will go, and I'll be totally focused on the game."

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Lawrie McKinna wanted a Hillman Avenger

Central Coast Manager Lawrie McKinna had a dream when he was a wee boy back in Scotland.

"I wanted to play for Glasgow Rangers. I wanted to earn $100 a week, give my mum $95 and buy a Hillman Avenger with the rest. I now know it was impossible, but that was my dream."

He never fulfilled his dream! He did play at Ibrox but only for Kilmarnock.

As a sixteen year old he would follow Rangers all over Europe. A true "Blue-nose" his words not mine, McKinna is still happiest when his beloved Gers are giving Old Firm rivals Celtic a good pasting.

As a bloke who followed Celtic all over Europe, my interview with Lawrie was an interesting little meeting! And it all ended peacefully as you'd expect.

McKinna telling me how Rangers manager Walter Smith and Assistant Ally McCoist are going to bringback the glory days to Ibrox. Me, walking away, asking "Who are the current Scottish Champions?"

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Alex Tobin football to be number one sport in Australia

Ex-Socceroo Alex Tobin was in town recently. Football in the Capital caught up with him at Gloria Jean's in Belconnen Mall!

Interestingly, as football was discussed, teenage boys were seen to be lingering, ordering coffee, looking and staring.

Tobin, who played all his football in Australia, sees a bright future for the game.

"Look where we've come in the last two years. I think with numbers playing in junior football we will be the number one code in this country in ten or twenty years. It's only a matter of time. The kids playing today are our next players and administrators."

Is Alex Tobin right? Can football be the number one sport in Australia? What do you think?

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Thursday, 17 May 2007

Matildas star Sally Shipard writes

Hi I’m Sally Shipard.

I love playing football but sometimes it can be frustrating.

The last time I played was in Russia at the Youth World Cup in 2006.

Over the past 9 months the true meaning of patience has been embedded in my brain.
I had stress fractures in my navicular and a piece of bone removed from my talus bone in my right foot. Considering I was told originally I would be out for 2 months the time has definitely dragged on.

The injuries I sustained were ‘over-use’ injuries. At the World Cup, in Russia, our team had high expectations, which we did not live up to. Hopefully we can make up for it this year at the Senior World Cup to be held in September.

For the last 3 months I have been working through ‘rehab’ levels and completed my final test on Saturday. I officially started training with the ACTAS (ACT Academy squad) girls on Monday night.

We have a camp at the AIS this weekend, the Matilda’s final selection camp before our most important matches of the year. It’s our final stage of Olympic qualifying games to be played against North Korea. I’m hoping to be in contention for selection, the games to be played on 4th and 10th of June.

SBS are televising the games, so please tune in and support the Australian Matilda’s!

4th June North Korea v Matildas
10th June Matildas v North Korea (Coffs Harbour International Stadium.)

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Olyroos triumphant

The Olyroos beat Iran 3-1 in their crucial Olympic qualifier in Adelaide last night.

Australia now need only a point in their final group match against Jordan in Amman on June 6.

Canberran Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Adam Casey were both in the squad, with Topor-Stanley playing a full game.
Match Details:
Australia 3 (Aaron Downes 3’, Mark Bridge 43’ pen, James Troisi 53’)

Iran 1 (Vahid Amraei 4’)

Australian line-up: Danny Vukovic (gk); Trent McClenahan, Aaron Downes, Mark Milligan (c), Nikolai Topor-Stanley; Leigh Broxham, Neil Kilkenny, Kristian Sarkies (Bruce Djite 81’); Nathan Burns (Nick Ward 69’), James Troisi (Dario Vidosic 93’), Mark Bridge

Substitutes: Adam D’Apuzzo, Adam Casey, Peter Eleftherakis, Tando Velaphi (gk)

Cautions: Topor-Stanley 93’,

Dismissed: Bridge 66’

Attendance 6,371

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Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Olyroos v Iran

Olyroos play a crucial qualifying game against Iran tonight in Adelaide. Crowds have been poor and future games may be taken away from Adelaide.

These are the best young footballers in Australia. Five overseas players are back, lets hope a decent crowd gets out to watch this game.

Should the Olyroos game be switched to Canberra or some other city? Yes, I reckon, if you don't support the game with your feet, then your city doesn't deserve to keep it.

Sorry Adelaide, but you just aren't passionate enough for my liking.

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Rob Baan to step down

As was widely known Rob Baan confirmed today that he will step down as Olyroos coach irrespective of how results go in the next two games.

Baan told Football in the Capital, "I only took the Olyroos job to get to know the young players and the structure of Australian football. My technical report is now complete and will be released in June and then I will focus totally on the Technical Directors job,"

Okay Rob, you're stepping down, but make sure you get the win tonight against Iran in Adelaide.

Should Rob Baan step down from the Olyroos job? I say yes!

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Women's World Cup to Australia?

Six countries - Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Peru - are bidding to host the World Cup 2011 tournament and FIFA have postponed a decision from August until November.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter would like to see the competition expand in 2011 to 24 teams.

This years tournament in China will have 16 teams including Australia.

Should the women's World Cup expand?

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Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Futsalroos win through

Australia will probably play Iran in the quarter-finals of the AFC Futsal Asian Cup.

Australia drew 3-3 this morning with Kyrgyzstan and with Korea beating Aussie conqueror's Turkmenistan they managed to grab second place

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How was your Dad?

I played the game for years, scored a few goals and occasionally even passed it. But for one bloke it was never enough.

Me Irish Dad.

He'd been brought up on the Gaelic games, a hurler he was, so what would he know about football.

Mostly the teams I played for won, occasionally a title, always a cup, but the comments were rarely positive.

"Pass it, or do the simple thing, " was his expert advice. Not once but every minute.

Like I wanted to lose the ball or the game for that matter.

As I matured into a young man, I'd give him the two fingered salute. Think of it as a thank you for the advice given that day, that moment.

Yep Dads can be great mentors, great encourager's. So Dads, when you're out on the field watching your Ronaldo, be careful with your advice. When he matures he too may give you the two fingered salute.

And that ain't a great look now is it?

Got any tales of parental advice, let me know

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Matildas in Camp on Thursday

The Matildas come into a 4-day camp on Thursday at the AIS before heading to North Korea for their vital Olympic qualifying game on June 3.

They will play the ACT boys U15 side on Friday night at 5.30 at the AIS training grounds.

Sally Shipard will give here insights tomorrow on this blog

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Canberran Matthew Whyte gives Aussies edge.

Lee Jong-yun gave Korea Republic the lead in the 25th minute but Canberran Matthew Whyte restored parity for the Australians eight minutes later. Lachlan Wright gave Scott Gilligan’s side the lead in the 39th minute while Whyte struck again in the last minute to keep his side’s hopes of making it to the next stage alive.

Gilligan said: “We needed to win and thankfully we are still in the fray. We will have to win against Kyrgyzstan tomorrow and to achieve that we must try and nullify their attack".

Kyrgyzstan beat Aussie conquerors Turkmenistan 5-1 overnight.

Can the Aussie boys win?

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Monday, 14 May 2007

Aussies had a great night in England.

Harry Kewell scored from the spot for Liverpool, Mark Viduka scored 2 for Middlesboro, Lucas Neill won at Manchester United to survive the drop. Josip Skoko and John Filan' Wigan won at Sheff United to avoid the drop and send Neil Warnock's team down.

Will Viduka stay at Boro? I think not. If you've followed his career he generally lifts his game and talks up his decisions when he is on the move. 19 goals this season he'd be worth a fair bit.

I reckon Man United could do with him to support the flying Ronaldo and Rooney?

Do you think he'll stay at Boro? Let us know.

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Carl Valeri is a Champion

Socceroo and Canberra's Carl Valeri finished his Serie C season with Grosseto as champions.

Grosseto had to win away to Padova to guarantee promotion to Serie B.

The game ended 1-0 to Grosseto.

Valeri can now have a few weeks break but will be hoping he will be included in the Socceroos squad for the Uruguay friendly and Asian Cup.

After his recent performance in China on debut for the Socceroos I reckon he's a certainty.

What do you think?

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Futsal: Australia 0 Turkmenistan 1

Australia lost 1-0 to Turkmensitan in their opening Futsal Asia Cup game in Japan overnight.

Four Canberrans are in the squad. Scott Manson and Matthew Whyte started the game.

Australia's next game is against South Korea today. This is now a must win game if Australia are to have any chance of going through.

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Sunday, 13 May 2007

Junior Coaching update.

In view of the criticism of coaches floating around the junior game I caught up with Jason, a Brumbies fan, and coach of a boys under 7 team at Majura Junior Soccer Club, Canberra.

Two weeks into the season how are you going?

Jason, "Good, I know all my players names and getting to know the personalities. We are starting to have fun."

E: Has it been hard?

Jason, "Well last week I was told to take more players. Ten players for five-a-side. That is too many. But things got sorted and I now have seven-a-side with nine squad members."

E: Any tips for other coaches?

Jason, "Well, I found the parents are really appreciative of what I'm doing so that feels good. Also I've asked a couple of parents to help with training. The kids love to see their Mum kids on a Friday night is a test for anyone. So I'd say ask for help, people won't offer usually but if you ask they may surprise you."

I'll catch up with Jason later on in the season to see how things are progressing.

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Saturday, 12 May 2007

Futsalroos in Japan for Futsal Asian Cup

The Futsalroos start the AFC Futsal Championship in Japan against Turkmenistan on Sunday in Amagasaki.

They follow that up with their second match against Korea Republic on Monday and then hopefully what will be the crunch match against Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.

The top two from each group will progress to the quarter finals.

Canberra's Scott Manson, Trent Flanigan, Matthew Whyte, and Goran Josifovski are included in the squad.


keep up-to-date with the tournament:

AFC Futsal Results

Full squad is:
Gavin O'Brien - (GK) (NSW)
Luke Haydon (QLD)
Adrian Vizzari (NSW)
Scott Manson (ACT)
Simon Keith (NSW)
Trent Flanigan (ACT)
Tobias Seeto (SPAIN)
Andrew Nolan (NSW)
Tuan Cao (NSW)
Lachlan Wright (NSW)
Goran Josifovski (ACT)
Peter Spathis - (GK) (NSW)
Nino Fragassi (NSW)
Matthew Whyte (ACT)

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Canberra Times:Canberra boys can make A-League

I had an article in Canberra Times today(sat). Here it is in case you missed it

Canberra football players now have a route to the A-League.

Lawrie McKinna, manager of A-League Club the Central Coast Mariners says, young Canberrans can get an A-League spot through his club.

The Mariners are coming to town. They will play a pre-season friendly against Capital Football Premier League side Belconnen United at Mckellar Stadium on June 30th, and an A-League pre-season cup match against Sydney FC at Canberra Stadium in early August.

“I watched the Belconnen United Canberra FC game on the weekend and the standard was very good. We will be taking two Canberra boys up for a week’s trial with the Mariners after the Belconnen friendly, and we’ll take two every year from now on. We know the strength of the game down here and I have good scouting contacts like Chris Tanzey and others. We’re always looking for players,” said McKinna

The Canberra Premier League is part-time, with players training a couple of times a week.

“I know the guys can make the A-League. Even a twenty year old can step up. Many guys are late developers physically. We get them up to the Central Coast and put them in for a full week with the likes of Sasho Petrovski, and Tony Vidmar. We can see by the end of the week if they’ve got what it takes.”

“It’s very competitive but we want the best young players. I’ve always had an eye for a young player. Take Mile Jedinak (23). He was playing part-time football in Sydney last year. He came up and trained with us, now he’s part of our starting eleven for season three.”

Football is a tough business. Mariners club captain Noel Spencer and McKinna’s old friend, left midfielder Stewart Petrie were recently released by the club.
“It’s not easy getting rid of players. Stewart is great mate, but I’ve no problem doing it. It’s a professional business and very competitive. I wish the lads all the best with new clubs

Belconnen United Coach Steve Forshaw said linking with the Mariners, “It’s a great opportunity for the players of Belconnen. Players like Nauru Somi, James and Ben Barac, striker David Leet, and David and Stephen Kemp are just a few of our players who might get the chance.

“I’m excited about building closer links with the Mariners. The whole Mariners club have been fantastic and supportive. While we have no A-League club in Canberra yet, we still aim to develop our players to the highest possible level.”

Ex-Socceroo and Mariners Development Officer and Coach Alex Tobin said, “The game has changed. You really need to be physically fit, yes you need the skills, but a skilful player who hasn’t the fitness just won’t make it these days.”

“Players are becoming more specialised. Years ago players could interchange positions, today they play one position and that’s more or less it. Take Socceroo and Italian Serie A Parma player Vince Grella, one of Australia’s best, what he does he does well but he couldn’t play many other places on the park.”

“It’s a problem for A-League clubs. We have a small roster of 21 or 22 players and if players get injured, you need players to be able to switch positions. Specialised players just can’t do it.”

McKinna is upbeat about the A-League, “This A-League is really going places. I remember the dark, dark days in Australian football. At Northern Spirit in the old National Soccer League often players weren’t getting paid, or only occasionally. It was tough going. Now it’s fabulous. The atmosphere at the games is special. Which other code in Australia has people singing, dancing and jumping in unison. At the Central Coast we have a real family atmosphere. When we play in Melbourne we have camera crews chasing us down the street. Walking around Belconnen Mall just now, and people are coming up to me to talk football. Yeah the game has changed.”

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Friday, 11 May 2007

Tuggeranong Junior in Olyroos squad

Nikolai Topor-Stanley started football down in the Tuggernaong Valley, Canberra. As a five year old he signed up for Tuggeranong Juniors.

He has two vital games coming up. An important member of the Olyroos squad he will play against Iran in a must win game in Adelaide on Wednesday.

The following Wednesday May 23 he will start for Sydney FC in their do-or-die clash with Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan.

It's a game Sydney must win to go through to the knockout stage of the Asian Champions League.

The game is a sell-out. 65,000 crazy Urawa fans will pack into the stadium in Saitama.

Topor-Stanley will have night to remember whatever the score.

Not bad for a boy from Tuggeranong Juniors.

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Who is Canberra's best 8 year old?

Eight year old Sydney youngster James Psarros has been invited to train at Bolton’s youth academy after watching the speedster on video. so fourfourtwo.com are reporting.

What a joke. Bolton haven't played anyone under 30 for about ten years. Recently retired ex-Manager Sam Allardyce specialised in signing cheap older players with Ivan Campo and Jay-Jay Okocha.

James, Bolton is no place for an eight year old!. It rains, it's cold, it's grey, bleak and boring and there's no beach, unless it rains so much the nearby quarry fills up, oh sorry they call that Blackpool pleasure beach.

Don't take my word for it. Manchester United's French full back Patrick Evra who lives near Bolton said, "Its horrible, the food is horrible and there is nothing to do and it rains. After training I get under the doona with my family and we watch tv all day."

What do you think the rest of the country does Patrick. If they don't watch telly, they go to the pub....mate!

Anyway back to our eight year old wizard. Lucas Neill didn't need to leave at 8 or even Our Harry...so don't do it.

Should 8 year old James go to Bolton?

What do you think?

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Football at record levels in Australia

The Sweeney Research group released its March research.

Levels of participation (11%), attendance (15%) and television viewing (46%) are at record or equal record levels for football in Australia.

What sports are Aussie interested in?

Here are the main results:
Cricket – outdoor 59 (%) Swimming 57 Australian Rules football 56Tennis 56 Football 51Rugby league 42 Rugby union 40 Motor car racing 35 Cycling 34

Football levels had stagnated or dropped on Radio and in Print media.

Interest levels still not reflected by FTA print or radio across Australia. But we've come along way, and we haven't stopped yet.

What do you think?

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