Feature Articles written by Carla Cinco

Andrew Ciarla - May

Andrew Ciarla’s personal hopes for this season are simple, he hopes to play.

Although he is yet to set foot on a pitch on game day for Metro this season, having been injured since pre-season, Ciarla is ready get going again.

He has started training again and hopes to be up and playing soon. It is no wonder his advice to younger players is simply "persist and stay focused”.

Ciarla started playing at Metro in U15's in 2005 and has played 3 years in Metro’s first team, after beginning his soccer career with Adelaide City as an 8 year old.

He has since played for the Adelaide United Youth Team in 2008 and 2009 and feels that was an invaluable opportunity to play amongst experienced players and definitely made him match fit for when starting the season with Metro.

Ciarla knows he has challenges ahead of him this season after being out for the 2nd half of last season due to injury before injuring himself again in pre-season this year. He is aware that it is up to him to work his way back in to his spot in the first team.

His motto is "train as you play” and he is committed to earning his place in the team again, especially as he is looking forward to playing in this season’s first team.

Ciarla foresees great potential for development as part of Metro’s first team this season, "It is good to have younger players coming in to learn from older players. They will probably change the speed of the game and become more physical but having experience in the team calms you down”.

He says "there is a good mix in the team at the moment. The younger players will learn a lot from the older players”. His advice to younger players is to make the most out of each training session in order to be ready for every game, "Always give 100% at training and then on game day relax and play your own game".

Perry Mitris - May

Perry Mitris started playing at MetroStars in 2010 as a 19 year old, following a 3 year stint with Croydon Kings.

Having started playing soccer at 7 years old, he had big dreams from the start and always played with a commitment to treat each game as an opportunity.

His hard work has paid off and he has enjoyed success on the field, being chosen 2 years in a row to be a part of the Adelaide United Youth team.

It was during last year’s stint with the Youth Team that he experienced what he calls his "best moment so far”, scoring against Melbourne Victory and winning the game. Coming straight from the youth team to Metro’s 2011 first team has prepared him for a tough season ahead where he hopes Metro can build on the success they had last year.

Perry was also chosen to play in the Senior State Team in 2010 and he continues to work towards his biggest dream of playing in the A-League.

Having played in squads of highly experienced players, Perry chose to come to Metro to continue the challenge of playing with skilled players in a successful club. He feels Metro is off to a good start already this year after winning the summer series which he feels will set up the team for another good season.
"Metro has a friendly culture, everyone is easy going and very professional. There is a sense of comfort when you are here” he explains.

He goes on to say, "I am excited to be playing in a team of experienced players who will still joke around with the younger players but at the same time teach us a lot”.

Looking back over his successful playing history to date, Perry believes he has learnt that the most important attribute of a successful player is their attitude, playing by the motto "attitude determines latitude”.

He is committed to fitness and training and his advice to younger players is "practice, always set small goals for yourself, never give up and most of all enjoy yourself”.

Dimitri Peppas - May

Dimitri Peppas has joined the MetroStars Sports Committee in 2011, fulfilling a promise he made to a dear friend long ago.

"I promised a good friend (Ross Russo) that if I ever left the FFSA I would come here, and I am honouring that promise”.

Previously competition coordinator of FFSA, Dimitri brings experience of behind the scenes operations of competition as well as expert media knowledge.

"I know the media and how to raise a clubs profile….Plus I live down the road, within walking distance, so my wife doesn’t complain that I’m not home for too long”, he says.

As well as carrying out a promise, Dimitri chose Metro as a club based on its professionalism both on and off the field.

"They are doing everything right and I want to add to that” he says.

He is already under way with his rebuilding of the clubs website, now with feature stories and player biographies, and he has big hopes for Metro as a club, envisaging them becoming more involved with the local community as a whole, rather than just the soccer community.
"Metro have built an empire on the field, they now just need to build one off the field…then they will be a true ‘super’ club”, he says.

Dimitri’s own soccer experience began with Olympians in juniors followed by WT Birkalla, Cobras and South Adelaide where he played u19’s and reserves.

He was always more interested in the administrative side of a club however and started to hone his skills when he was just 10 years old. At the time, all committee members and fathers at Olympians didn’t speak English so it was Dimitri who used to organize the teams and liaise with the federation.

By 18 years old he was on the committee of the Adelaide University Women’s Soccer Club and at 20 years old he became a junior delegate for WT Birkalla, coordinating 250 players.

Dimitri wants to take the opportunity to thank everyone for giving him the opportunity to now come to Metro, expressing how accommodating all have been in allowing him to develop his ideas for the club and put them into practice.

He thinks he may return the favour though as the last two clubs he has been a part of have won championships. Hoping his lucky charm will rub off on Metro,

"I hope we win the championships this season”, he says.

Jackson Groves - May

Jackson Groves names the day he returned to the Metro U19’s after a year’s hiatus due to injury, as the "happiest day of my life”.

"It was the hardest year of my life when I had to come out to each game just to watch”, says Jackson.
It turned out that year was a huge stepping stone for Jackson because he returned mentally and physically stronger, "I don’t take any session for granted and play with more tenacity and hunger”, he says.

Jackson is a committed and determined young player who approaches the game with a maturity beyond his years.

Playing since he was 5 years old, Jackson started with Metro at 13 years of age after stints with Modbury and Blue Eagles. He has received highly skilled training through the U12, U13 and U14 State Development squads as well as the U13 Oceania Coerver squad.

He begins the 2011 season fresh from the United Youth Reserve team where he feels he got great insight into life in a professional squad. Jackson hasn’t had an off season but he isn’t the sort of player that wants one. With hopes of making it in the A League one day Jackson is committed to the game and his performance. He believes the biggest mistake of a player is giving in to procrastination.

"There is always a reason not to”, he explains.

A reason not to train, not to keep up your fitness, not to persevere, but Jackson believes in finding the biggest motivation you can and drawing on your own drive. His advice is, "work harder than everyone else that you know”.

True to his word, Jackson hasn’t missed one training session in 6 years and is grateful for the opportunity to play in Metro’s first team amongst talented, experienced players.

With Metro slowing progressing into a younger squad, Jackson predicts the game will evolve into a different playing style, with more inexperienced players creating perhaps a less tactical but quicker game.

He has great respect for the experience of older players and hopes that before they move on he can absorb as much of their knowledge as he can.

With his determination and respect for the game, Jackson Groves is one player to watch this season.

Adam Van Dommele & Steven Grelli - April

They met as young cricket players on opposing U13 teams but today they join forces as vice captains of Metro Stars soccer club. Adam Van Dommele and Steven Grelli remember each other fondly from their cricketing days, "Steven was this stubborn little batsman” says Adam and Steven is quick to reply "He was the slowest opening bowler I had seen”.

They eventually both found their true calling in soccer and now boast impressive playing histories. Steven started at Metro in 2008 after 4 years with Adelaide Galaxy where he started as an 18 year old. He represented his state in U'15's and U16's and in 2008 played for Veneto Calcio in Italy for 6 months.

Adam began playing for Metro Stars in 2009 after stints with South Melbourne, Enfield, SASI and the Australian Under 17’s team. He also played for Hartlepool in England in 2004 followed by Adelaide United in 2005.

Steven is excited by his new position and is looking forward to taking on his new leadership role as a mentor to the younger players. He warns to expect changes from the Metro squad this season, "the club is giving a lot of the younger players a chance in the first team”.

As a lot of these younger players move up to the first team, a lot of the older players look towards moving on, and the challenge will be for the captains to create cohesion amongst the mix of new and old. Steven feels he is in a good position to handle this as vice captain and as a player who fits in between young and old, he feels he will be able to relate to both sides.

In his new role, Adam feels the biggest challenge will be living up to the expectations that come with having a new and younger team. There is a general perception that the new Metro squad with young fresh players is the best in the league and Adam is aware of the challenge of handling the pressure of being vice captain to such a squad.

"The nucleus of the team is the same as it has been for a while but now there are a lot of new quality younger players that will be there to support" says Adam. Steven continues "the hope is that the older players will draw on the enthusiasm of the younger players".

Adam acknowledges the high standard set before them by the club over a long time and under the leadership of previous captains. He recognises one of the biggest challenges for Steven and himself as vice captains as being able to implement and maintain this standard. "I just hope we play to our full potential” he says.

Steven and Adam are the first to admit that they both still have a lot to learn personally in their new roles. Adam hopes to improve on his own leadership skills "having more to say and knowing when to say what and how to say it to the right people to get the right response”. Steven on the other hand, who has always been one of the quieter members of the team, is looking forward to his chance to put his voice forward, "especially now that Pirone has gone”, he says.

There is obvious camaraderie within the group and true friendship amongst the squad that goes beyond when they are on the field. The common passion for soccer extends to some friendly rivalry off the field in their online soccer tournament Expert 11, initiated by Adam and involving every player on the first team. Adam and Steven agree it is activities such as these that contribute to the strong unity felt within the team.

With their years of being opposition behind them, the boys are confident they will work well together and are keen to implement their motto of "work hard, commit and lead by example”.

Lee Robertson - April

Newly named Captain of Metro Stars for 2011, Lee Robertson, has the skills for leadership that will be needed to maintain the standards set over the last 6 years by veteran captain Ivan Karlovic.

Ivan saw Metro through 6 league or summer series championship wins during his time as Captain and lead teams of Metro’s brightest players to success. Due to a long term knee injury that required an operation late last year, Ivan will be rehabilitating for most of this season.

Now after 4 years as Metro Stars Vice Captain, defender, Lee Robertson will take the lead position as Captain.

"It’s a fantastic honour to be named Captain of the team for season 2011. Ivan Karlovic has done an exceptional job over the last 6 years leading from the front and I look forward continuing on where he left off.”

Lee started playing soccer as a 5 year old for Smithfield Plains and after stints with Elizabeth Downs, APAC, Campbelltown City and Playford he took a chance at playing for Scotland team Greenock. He spent 1 year at this professional level and on his return in 2004, Robertson joined the Metro Stars First Team and began leaving his mark as a top defender in the Super League.
He is now settled in Adelaide with wife Samantha and as Captain is now leading by example.

Through his experience Lee instinctively plays with an intensity on the field that rivals all others. He has also mastered the ability of ‘reading the game’ and knowing his opponents next move.

After 7 years with the club and as part of Metro’s leadership group for many years, Lee has always felt his responsibilities included passing on learned skills through setting a good example and encouraging the other players.
As Vice Captain to Ivan for 4 years, Lee has both witnessed and experienced the inspiration of a strong and committed leadership and will use this experience when he takes the reigns this season.

Acknowledging the high level of players and skill amongst Metro’s first team this season he says "I am very pleased to be leading such a great squad; we have some exciting young players such as Groves, Monterosso, Kristo & Taromina just to name a few mixed in with the old stalwarts of the game, the Menechella brothers, Godley, Brain & Tunbridge”.

Following on from Metro’s achievements as Minor Premiers last year, Lee is committed to the faith in his team and is confident Metro has a good chance again this season.

"With the support of Adam VanDomele & Steven Grelli, it’s no secret, like any other club, we want to win and will be demanding nothing less than a committed & disciplined performance every game.”