Sometimes you have to take a step back before you can move forward.
This is a hard lesson learned by Adriano Pellegrino, who came to Metro in 2003, stepping down from a stint with National League Adelaide United to local Super League.
But the step back actually turned out to be Adriano’s stepping stone to great heights, scoring overseas and interstate contracts since.
In 2004 Adriano signed on to play for Greek 2nd Division team Panahaiki, before once again returning to Adelaide super league.
After a brief stint once again with Metro in 2007, Pellegrino has recently signed a 1 year contract to play for National League team Perth Glory.
This rising new talent began his soccer path as an 8 year old player for Woodville City, before moving on to Adelaide City at 14.
He worked his way into the Adelaide City National League squad for 3 years, and was part of the very first A-league Adelaide United squad in 2003.
While he fondly remembers the surge in popularity of soccer at the induction of the A-League, it is still no match for the fever pitch fanaticism that Pellegrino experienced in Greece, where he says he learnt to "live soccer”.
While there were challenges Pellegrino had to face while in Greece, such as not speaking the language, he received professional soccer training which he believes helped him become a more professional athlete.
The move to Greece strengthened him as a person and helped him to develop and mature and he now feels confident in adapting to new lifestyles and situations. The whole experience has inspired him to one day return to playing overseas.
But for now his focus is on his preseason training in Perth as he holds the mentality that if he proves himself in Australia first, it will always remain a possibility that he can return to Europe in the future.
Adriano believes his smartest move was accepting a step back down to Super league level after Adelaide United, rebuilding his strengths and skills, and once again working his way up to National League level.
Adriano’s positive and down to earth attitude saw him through this drop back, remaining inspired through his mantra of proving himself at whatever level he is at and not getting too ahead of himself.
Playing for Metro proved to be the greatest stepping stone for Adriano. The first time around, he was with Metro for half a season when he was offered a contract with Greece, and his most recent stint saw him play only 5 games with the Stars before he signed a 1 year contract with Perth.
Pellegrino credits the club and committee with encouraging the progression of their players and particularly promoting the development of their younger players, recognizing that the universal aim has to be to encourage players to go on to play for a higher level.
This "never give up” attitude has now seen Pellegrino rise to a one year contract with Perth Glory and while he is disappointed he wont be representing his own state, he is a firm believer in taking opportunities as they arise.
"Patience is key”, says Pellegrino, encouraging young players to maintain a consistent level of soccer to be recognized in the long term. "Work at your weaknesses, always take advice, don’t always think that you are right, and everyone’s opinion helps”, he says.
Adriano has confidence in Metro’s winning ability this season considering the depth of talent in the current players. He will continue to follow the progress of the club, and will always be thankful to those who have helped him along the way.
His hard work isn’t over yet though, he now wants to establish himself as a 1st eleven player for Perth and eventually get that elusive long term contract.
With the increase in publicity and popularity of A-league soccer in the country at the moment, Adriano believes it is the optimal time for young players to be noticed. He hopes his is an example of hard work and dedication and reminds other players that there is only a short life span to play soccer, and you have to give it your all while you can and while people are watching.
As an original member of the MetroStars team, formed 13 years ago, Andrew Perrone has been a vital contributor to the growth and success of the club.
A player for the reserves for two seasons, Andrew was one of the first Knights who began the journey to create a whole new standard of soccer in South Australia.
On deciding to retire from playing, Perrone became secretary for the committee of Metro Knights, before taking a break for two years to focus on family commitments.
Although always a part of the club, it wasn’t until Andrew’s son Mark decided he wanted to follow the family legacy at five years old, becoming a part of Metro’s first U8 team, that Andrew again joined the committee as Junior Coordinator, the same year Metro joined the Premier league.
Determined to nurture the potential of upcoming players, Andrew, with the help of his wife Mirella and other members of the junior committee, formed a sub committee intent on producing players with the skill and stamina to go beyond the Super league.
In line with Metro’s motto of "building soccer for the future”, Coerver coaching was introduced in 2001, an intensive coaching strategy aimed at fast tracking the development of ball skills of 5-12 year olds.
With super league clubs recently under scrutiny for not investing enough in their junior teams and therefore not producing worthy players for the A-League, it is pioneering moves such as introducing Coerver to SA, which sets Metro apart from the rest.
According to Andrew, Metro juniors are taught values that enable them to develop as leaders, not only on the soccer field, but also within the community. A full development package is offered including quality coaches, coaching directors and development programs, in the hope of achieving a holistic approach that develops their soccer skills as well as the players as individuals.
Since the induction of the club, the aim has always been on not only promoting the talent of senior players, but also nurturing their potential in the early stages, and Metro is just now witnessing the fruits of labour as for the first time the original junior players are now progressing into the senior teams.
Andrew believes that not only is it a testament to the magnetic nature of the club, but having players such as Michael Rende, and Joseph Crescitelli progress to vital members of the senior squads, when they first started kicking the ball as juniors at Metro, is testimony to the focus of quality coaching on junior players.
After nine years as Junior coordinator, Andrew has stepped down from his position, now focusing on family commitments, supporting his sons in their sporting pursuits, 17 year old Daniel a successful volleyball player and youngest son Mark, 14, still pursing his soccer career.
Andrew comments that it is only due to the support of his wife of 20 years that he has been able to pursue his passion for the club for so long.
An integral member of the Metro team herself, Mirella has been a fundamental source of encouragement and aid, helping with organization of the Juniors, canteen duties and event co-ordination, and Andrew warrants a lot of the growth they have achieved to her contributions and commitment.
He also hopes that in allowing change within the committee it will encourage others to get involved with the club, believing it is beneficial for the club to entice new and fresh additions.
Andrew likens being a member of Metro to being a member of a family and has a great sense of patriotism for the club. The friendships formed and the involvement of wives and families, for Andrew, has created an unbreakable bond with the Stars.
With the club having achieved fast growth in the past, their image has now been solidified, and Andrew hopes the club now continues to achieve solid growth but treads carefully in order to ensure the maintenance of the culture for new generations.
Always looking towards the future, Andrew hopes the club continues to introduce new concepts and has international hopes for Metro, wanting to form relationships with other teams interstate and in different countries.
The Crescitelli’s are making their mark with MetroStars. As U19’s player Joseph Crescitelli continues to prove his talents on the field after first starting his soccer career as part of the initial junior team, his father Charlie, an original member of the club, can also be seen every match day, cheering from the sidelines, or part of the ever dedicated team of ground stewards.
Having started as assistant coach for the Metro Knights reserves, and being a past member of the junior committee, Charlie has a strong sense of loyalty to the club he has created a lifelong bond with and continues to be an integral member, helping out in any way needed on training nights and match days.
Even at the commencement of the Knights at amateur level, Charlie recognized the standard of playing and level of professionalism was not like that of other clubs. He believes the young and adaptable committee is to be credited for continually producing fresh ideas that give Metro an edge over other soccer clubs.
Charlie attributes the success the club has enjoyed over the years to its ability to change and adapt according to the needs of each new generation, an experience he has witnessed first hand. Having been with Metro since its induction and now watching his son play for the club, Charlie can see the positive influence the club has on its players.
From juniors, the players are taught to play with the mentality that no one player is superior to any other in the team, creating a sense of equality and unity. This humility evolves with the players into their senior years and Charlie believes this commitment to the team makes them a force to be reckoned with on the field.
Charlie can see in his son the gentleman that has been created since first joining the club and playing under Coach Elio Marusic. The respect the players were taught to have for their coach from the beginning, has meant Joseph has been able to take on board any criticism or praise and has developed into the star player that can be seen today.
He also warrants the supporters and families involved with the club for continuing the sense of unity beyond the soccer field. Charlie has memories of early stages of the club when family members, himself included, would turn up to games half an hour early to put up nets, set up flags and help in the canteen. Over a decade later and this support has not faltered, with families still giving their time and skills to do what they can to show support.
With his fondest memory of the club being that of winning their first championship as Metro Knights and being promoted to Division 1, Charlie feels the time has come for MetroStars to once again bring home a trophy. Although many successes have been achieved since that first championship, Charlie feels with the skills and determination being exhibited by our current players, that next prize could well be within reach.
The sense of belonging and passion that was created in Charlie when he first joined Metro he can now recognize in his son, and for Charlie, this makes all the hard work and time he has put in to the club worthwhile. For as long as that sense of commitment and joy exists, the Crescitelli’s will be a part of Metro.
Corey Artone’s reputation is well established amongst soccer circles as one of the states best soccer players to date, yet the man himself has only ever considered the sport a "hobby”.
Corey’s humility when talking about his career creates an understated impression of the great successes he enjoyed as a National League player and the natural talent he exuded on the field.
Corey began his stellar soccer career as an Adelaide City Juniour and at 16 began training with the National League squad before moving on to Enfield and Blue Eagles, and finally having a 3-year stint as part of the National League team West Adelaide, from 1996-99.
Post West Adelaide, and following another 3 years with Blue Eagles, Corey decided on a change of atmosphere and with strong faith in the coaching styles of Mike Barnett, he made the transition to Metro in 2003.
Corey’s impressive career boasts 6 championship victories out of 8 played, and he recounts one of his most memorable moments as being Metro’s win in the 2004 Premiership.
His good relationship with Metro still exists today and he hopes the club continues to bring in new players and feed Adelaide United with their talented exports. His hope is that they remain consistently competitive and he encourages young Metro players to train hard, listen to their coach and believe in themselves.
Corey’s inspiration and challenge for each and every match while he was playing competitive soccer was simply to win. While he thrived on winning, Artone never placed pressure on himself as a player, preferring to play for pure enjoyment.
He believes attitude is the precursor to a player reaching their potential, as they must have a certain drive for success to progress through the ranks. For Corey, the pleasure was always in being able to play the game rather than using soccer as a medium to test his personal strengths and potential.
With no desire to return to competitive soccer, Corey Artone now enjoys life with wife Marianne and children Mikayla, 4, and baby Luca, happy with what he has achieved.
His name still carries with it the reputation of the rare innate talent that many players dream of, and with accolades that include Player of the Year in 2001, Man of the Match in the 2001 Championship Grand Final and numerous best and fairest awards, Artone looks back on his career with satisfaction and fulfilment.
Not bad for a "hobby”.
Daniel ‘Saba’ Sabatino’s legacy with the MetroStars is set to continue, as a new member of the Sports Committee.
When the ‘Stars were still the Knights, Sabatino shone as a talented young player and having played six years with Metro, he witnessed both the professional growth of the club as well as the growth of the playing standard from Amateur to Premier league.
Now retired from premier league soccer, Saba is offering his support as a liaison between players and the administration.
Sabatino experienced his most memorable soccer moment while playing for Metro, as he recalls being captain for the ‘Stars in their inaugural year, the year they were also promoted to premier league, as a highlight of his career.
Starting as an Adelaide City junior, Sabatino’s career boasts a stint with Adelaide
City in the National squad and 3 seasons with Campbelltown City, before finally setting roots with Metro.
Sabatino encourages young players to take opportunities when they arise, believing "you don’t get many…and if you don’t (take it), another player will”, yet considers it important to remain humble and realistic about the unpredictability of a soccer career.
Amongst the hype of being selected for the National league, "it would have been easy to get carried away from reality”, says Sabatino, but he managed to remain open to other possibilities, and went on to study Civil Engineering.
While Daniel, married to wife Moneeta, still exudes his talents on the field for amateur team MA Hawks, nowadays he is also likely to be expending his energy as a project manager.
He can also be found at his old stomping ground, lending his expertise and experience to upcoming players and reaffirming his position as one of Metro’s ‘favourite sons’.
Not even his wedding day could keep Elio Marusic from playing the game he loves.
Having played soccer since a young boy in Salerno, Italy, his infatuation with the game and commitment to playing for glory continued to rise throughout his career.
Spotted by scouts at 16, Elio went on to play for Cara Tirene before migrating to Australia with his family in 1951.
At 21 years old, Marusic took up a position at Beograd, before beginning a 6 year stint with National league team West Adelaide Hellas.
It was during this time with Hellas that Elio put his wedding day celebrations on hold for a couple of hours so he could play for the club and most importantly go on to score three winning goals.
The time out from his wedding day did not weaken the union in any way and Elio and his wife Dagmar have enjoyed 43 years together. Having met Dagmar in the first week of arriving in Australia, Elio says it is amazing what a person can do for love. It took nine months for him to learn English and be able to speak his first word to German born Dagmar, and the couple now have three children, Marina, Natalina and Brenton.
Elio reminisces about the early days playing soccer in Adelaide, when local clubs were trying to generate support and a reputation but with very little financial aid. Playing in what he describes as primitive conditions on paddocks, with change rooms half the size of what they have today and with facilities that just do not compare to the "paradise” that exists at Metro today.
One advantage Elio does believe they had back then was the raw passion of their supporters, brought with them from Europe. The memory is still fresh of running on to a field, and the amazing feeling from, although not being able to see the faces, hearing the voices chant for their team.
Perhaps one of his fondest memories is that of a friendly game he played in front of a 28,000 strong crowd, against Manchester United. The thrill of playing against the players he admired and exchanging shirts with Denis Law, a tradition that was not permitted at the time, is a proud and ever memorable moment for Elio.
Marusic was approached by Metro in 1995 to coach the senior side, and in his first meeting with the committee he was asked what his aspirations were. Simply put; ‘to win whatever he plays’.
Marusic’s adage for success is that if you’re not playing to be the best, there is no point in playing. While he admits he pushed his players hard, he says it was a tactic used because he knew they had the potential to achieve the high standard he was after. Elio believes the key in building the talent of a young player is in first building their confidence in their own ability by showing them the faith their coach has in them. In their first year under his guidance, the Knights won the championship and were promoted to Division 1.
Having been a coach at Metro over 10 years for both seniors and juniors, Marusic has noticed that as the speed of the game continues to get faster, there is less time for players to think strategically. Yet he believes key players in any team are those who hold the potential to change a game in 3 seconds with the use of initiative and imagination.
Marusic believes the players of Metro hold the potential to have this influence, if they are playing for the right reasons. For Elio, a good player will play because soccer is in their heart. They must first play for themselves, then for the team, and finally for the club.
Even today a conversation with Elio on training nights or match days is continually interrupted by the many handshakes and greetings he receives from today’s members and his past players. This is a testament to the respect and status he has earned at Metro as his reputation remains firmly set as one of the clubs most influential coaches to date.