Feature articles written by Carla Cinco
Adam Van Dommele - June 2010
Adam Van Dommele began playing for Metro Stars last season, fresh from a 1 year stint with South Melbourne.
He began playing soccer when he was 6 years old, playing for Salisbury City.
This followed with playing times for Enfield, SASI and being a part of the Australian Under 17's team.
Adam feels that most of his development and learning as a soccer player came from his time with SASI. "I learned more than what came naturally…The actual tactics of the game”.
During this time, Adam had to grow up quickly and learnt abut his abilities both on the pitch and as a person. "At SASI everyone tried to support each other as much as they could but they also constantly tried to out-do each other”.
From this experience, Adam learnt how important it was to stay focussed on his dream and to do everything he needed to be the best player he could be. "We play a world game, every minute you are not doing something to better yourself as a person and as a player some one else out there is”.
He also feels he learnt a lot about focus and determination on the pitch, particularly from his time with the U17 Australian team. He will never forget his first game for the U17's World Cup in Trinidad against Brazil. He was playing in front of a crowd of 30,000 people and can still remember the sound of the drums, the noise of the crowd and not being able to hear anyone else on the pitch. He says he learnt quickly how to filter out noise and to stay focussed on the important things during the game.
From 15 years of age, Adam ventured overseas every year in search of the elusive contract but each time he came close, he fell short of obtaining a contract or became injured.
In 2004, just before turning 18, Adam finally reached his dream when he was offered a 6 month contract with Hartlepool in England. Adam loved the team he played for and was very happy over there, but as fate would have it he was injured during his time there and as the cold weather set in, he was getting ready to come home.
During Adam's travels he says he learnt many life skills of independence and self efficacy and is very grateful for the personal skills he acquired as well as soccer skills while away.
On the creation of the A-League, Adam was drawn to come home and began playing for Adelaide United in 2005. "I wanted the opportunity to play in my home state with players I grew up with and in front of friends and family and people who actually knew who you were”.
He played in the first 2 seasons of the A-League and says he continued to learn a lot from the experienced players at Adelaide United and enjoyed his time with the team.
South Melbourne followed from 2007 to 2008 which he saw as another life opportunity. He again loved the team and enjoyed his time in Melbourne but in 2008 he and wife Jo welcomed their daughter Mikayla into their family and together they wanted to be back home with their support network.
2009 finally brought Adam to Metro. "This is the best time in my soccer career….We have a really good bunch of guys playing at a high level and the ability in the team is very high… We have a lot of fun”.
Adam says he has no regrets about the paths he has chosen, "I like my life at the moment. Playing soccer means something to me. I like challenges and always wanted to be the best I could be”.
"The opportunities soccer gave me have shaped me as a person and the life experiences I had when I was younger put me in good stead for the person I am today and the relationships I built with other people”.
David Menechella - May 2010
Backyard soccer battles between the Menechella boys may have gotten heated when they were younger but now David Menechella would love nothing more than to revive those days and play again in the same team as both his brothers.
The three brothers, Daniel, Michael and David all play super league soccer, and while Daniel plays alongside David at Metro, Michael is currently playing for Campbelltown City.
The youngest of the brothers, David, has been vice captain for the Metro Stars First Team since 2006 and began playing for the club in 2002.
At 12 years old David began to hone his home grown soccer skills at Campbelltown Soccer club and by the age of 16 he was playing in their first team before moving to Metro.
David enjoys playing alongside his brothers and his biggest frustration is that as yet, all three boys have not won a championship while all playing together in the same team.
He has played in his own share of championship wins however, playing in last years championship and leading the first team for Metro Stars to a championship win in 2004 as captain. But even this was not without disappointment.
Only 20 minutes into the game, David snapped the cruciate ligament in his knee and had to watch his team claim the championship title from the sidelines.
At the time he did not realise the nature of his injury and, with the help of some numbing spray, was able to walk up on stage and receive the winning trophy for his team. Later that night at the celebrations however, he felt the extent of his injury to the point that his team mates had to carry him to his car and into his bed.
This injury in 2004 ironically turned out to be the inspiration David needed to realise his passion for the sport. After the 2004 finals he took a year off to heal and reassess where he wanted to go in his soccer career.
"I owe a lot to the club and the players during that time. They stayed in touch and offered their support, letting me know I was missed”, says David.
It was during this time that David recognised how much the game meant to him and what he could have lost. He returned in 2006 with a vengeance and committed to making the most of his second chance.
In 2008 David went on to win the Best and Fairest award and the Player's Player award, proving he still had a lot to give. In 2009, David was vice captain when Metro once again claimed the championship title and this time he was a major player for the whole game, making up for lost time.
David is known for his ability on the pitch to ‘read' the play, which he says comes with experience. ‘There is some strategy involved but it also takes instinct and that just comes with experience”. He also says it is important to keep up match fitness saying that what gives a player influence over others is good old "hard work on the field. Going in physically hard and backing up the other players”.
With his dream of playing at super league level with his brothers by his side not yet realised, for the time, David is enjoying the feeling of family that comes from being a part of the Metro group and says he feels members and committee members are more like friends. Extending that ‘homely' feel even further, David has gone to the extent of building a house on Fourth Avenue, Klemzig, almost making the club rooms his backyard.
His passion and motivation well and truly regained, he is excited by his squad this season and believes that the club that once restored his faith in the game he loves is capable of going all the way .
Daniel Godley - April 2010
You may have seen Daniel Godley, goal keeper for the first team, mingling with the crowd on match day. He arrives very early and sits and watches the reserves play before his own match. You can be forgiven for thinking this is his way of mentally preparing for his own game, familiarising himself with the pitch, sussing out the opponents, but the truth is he is just there for support. The farthest thing from his mind is the game he is about to play.
Confident, cool and calm, there is no room for doubt or scepticism in his thoughts. With complete faith in his team and in his own abilities, Godley finds no reason to worry or psych himself up before a game.
But don't confuse his calmness for complacency. Godley is ready to play and to fight to the end. Come to warm up and he switches to game playing mode, determined his team will win and that ultimately, each match will lead them closer to claim the championship a second year in a row.
This quiet confidence serves Godley well on the pitch, particularly during tense moments of pressure. Having saved 3 penalties in a row against Blue Eagles in the semi final of the pre season cup and 2 penalties in the cup quarter finals against Adelaide City, you can understand why Godley loves penalties.
Now married to wife, Moira and with a 3 year old daughter, Amelie, Godley began playing for Metro in 2004.
His soccer career began 29 years ago as a 5 year old playing for Elizabeth Grove, before a stint at Salisbury East led him to his first goal keeping position for Blue Eagles in Under 13's. At 17 Daniel played for Salisbury United before periods at Adelaide City and Olympic and then finally with Metro in 2004.
He has also been selected to play in the SA State team for the past 4 years and trained with Adelaide United last season.
Goalkeeping wasn't a position he chose but rather one that was chosen for him when his team at the time, Blue Eagles, needed a goal keeper. He has since thrived in the role and accepts that a goal keeper has to have a different presence than any other player on the pitch.
"They have to be the loudest and they have to have the thickest skin…” he says.
As a member of the leadership group Godley mentors the younger goal keeping players and attempts to lead in the same way that he finds to be useful as a player.
When asked whether he would consider coaching in the future, Godley says yes. Which team? "Metro Stars of course…. or the Socceroos”.
Despite his confident and calm approach to the game, Godley is open to criticism and accepts that there are always ways he can play better. When playing for Adelaide United the most useful advice he was given was when he had his mistakes pointed out to him. He is now able to evaluate his own game this way and is hoping to pass on the same skill to younger players.
He is also quick to remind us that despite faith in his team this will be a tough year for Metro and that confidence is not enough without hard work.
"Everyone will want to knock us off, they will be playing every game like it is a final which means Metro Stars will have to play at the top level every game”.
When asked how he thinks Metro will cope with this pressure, he says simply "we will win”.
Ivan Karlovic - March 2010
Ivan started playing for Metro Stars in 2004 and has been captain for 4 of those 6 years.
He started playing soccer at 4 years of age before beginning club soccer for Para Hills East at the age of 5. At 11 years old Ivan moved to Raiders before being selected for the SASI team for 3 years. He then finally returned to Raiders to play in the first team for 2 years when at 18 years of age he began 4 years playing in the national league, 3 years with Adelaide City and 1 year for Sydney Olympic.
When Ivan returned to Adelaide in 2004 he began playing for Metro Stars and has been captain of the first team since 2006.
In his first year with the club, Ivan was part of the squad that won the 2004 championship, the first championship for the club and a first for Ivan. Describing that first win as one of the most memorable moments in his soccer career, Ivan's elation was short lived as the club began to struggle to reclaim the title a second time and adversaries emerged. So when 5 years had passed and a second championship still seemed elusive, Ivan led his team to the 2009 Championship finals. Metro's critics were silenced and Ivan's joy was heard when the squad won the second championship in Metro history.
He describes the 2 wins as the most unforgettable moments in his soccer career and explains they had 2 distinct feelings. He remembers the first as a feeling of relief that this new club was finally showing its capabilities but the second was a feeling of pride in being able to firmly cement Metro's reputation as champions and show critics Metro deserved its place on the cup.
Despite accolades as a captain of a championship team, Ivan takes the role of captain in his stride.
"I have always tried to lead from the front, whether I was captain or not”, he says.
And he credits his close group of experienced players as all being natural leaders. He believes the strength and resilience that comes from being a close team with strong bonds amongst the players is what makes Metro's first team prepared to win every match.
Despite this confidence in his team, Ivan is preparing for a tough year as 2010 kicks off.
He says "we are going in as champions, everyone wants to knock you off… this is going to be a test of character”.
However, the mindset is still to win not just survive. With the same team of players as last year Ivan hopes to replicate the success of last season and take out another championship.
His advice for young players keen to play for the first team is to have the right attitude from the beginning, including a willingness to learn and work hard and be determined to play every game.
Ivan leads by example when in 2009 his determination to play saw him finish a whole season with a torn cartilage in his knee. As timing would have it, the injury became particularly painful just before the finals but he pulled through to lead the team not only to the finals but eventually the championship before ultimately having surgery immediately after. Unfortunately this first surgery was not successful but after a second surgery in January this year Ivan is back on track and again ready to play.
Ivan is now enjoying the balance between work and play, which was not as present when he was playing competitively and his livelihood depended on being part of the starting line up. He has successfully run the Oporto fast food chains for 5 years and became happily married last year to Jessica.
When asked what his philosophy is when playing he simply says "hard work”.
"Don't take for granted how hard you have to work and the commitment it takes to make it at the highest level”, he says with experience.