Friday, June 1, 2012

Aussies Abroad Month in Review May

Compiled By Damian Davies.
Many of our Aussies Abroad in Europe have now finished their club seasons.  The end of season emotional rollercoaster of promotion, relegation, European qualification, contract extension or release is upon us.  Asian leagues are in full swing, with a couple of Aussies now also playing in the Americas, so plenty of action on the pitch.  The Socceroos are in training camp in preparation for their important upcoming fixtures.     

Promotions/Relegations - 2011/12:
Croatia - Steve Lustica was on loan at NK Dugopolje as they secured promotion to the top flight.  Also moving up a level is Josip Konyit at NK Vrapce, now in the second tier. 
England - In the lower leagues, plenty of Aussies moving up.  Starting at Blue Square South, Lee Burns (Dartford) has moved up a level, however leaving Conference football is James Meredith who gained promotion to League Two with York City.  Sheffield Wednesday gained promotion to the Championship, with youngsters Jarrod Kyle and Matthew Fletcher on board.  Dropping out of the Championship was Portsmouth, home of four Aussie youngsters and Coventry (Daniel Ireland).  Sucessful promotion campaigns for Reading (Federici and Ryan Edwards) and West Ham (Tombides' brothers) see them back in the EPL.  Countering that is the drop of Blackburn, home to Seb Usai, Jamie Maclaren and Vince Grella. 
France - Andreas Govas saw his side, Troyes, gain promotion back to the top flight.
Germany - mixed fortunes with Nikita Rukavytsya (Hertha Berlin) going down, to be replaced by Fortuna Dusseldorf (Robbie Kruse) in the Bundesliga after an eventful playoff game. 
Greece - Moving up to the second tier is Christos Tomaras (Paniliakos).
Hong Kong - unfortunately Dean Evan's Sham Shui Po were relegated.
Hungary - success for MTK (Sasa Macura) returning to the top flight after a one year absence.
Serbia - Matt Bryne's Donji Siem has won promotion to the top level, Super Liga. 
Transfers :-    Majority of the transfer activity of late has been in England.  With the off-season upon us, expect to see released players find new homes.   Transfer windows in Asia have been closed, so little movement to report there. We are now close to having 200 Aussies playing football abroad!! 
Additions/changes to database: -      
Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (10 Nov 1982) - transferred to Preston North End, England
Aaron Downes (15 May 1985) - loan returned to Chesterfield, England
Liam Graham (14 Aug 1992) - transferred to Vicenza, Italy
Tom King (20 Jul 1994) - transferred to Stoke City, England
Nikodin Matic (28 Aug 1992) - transferred to Sheffield United, England
Tolgey Ozbey (12 Apr 1986) - trasferred to Mohun Bagan, India
Caleb Patterson-Sewell (20 May 1987) - transferred to Vitoria Setubal, Portugal
Chris Ross (26 Jun 1989) - transferred to Vikingur Reykjavik, Iceland
Milan Zoric (17 Jan 1988) - transferred to FK Leotar Trebinje, Bosnia
Removed from database:-   
Matthew Mayora (10 Mar 1986) - transferred to Sydney Olympic, NSWPL
Adrian Ucchino (4 Oct 1991) - transferred to Bonnyrigg White Eagles, NSWPL

Club Level:-    
England (Premier League) – Thirty-nine year old gloveman, Mark Schwarzer, made another 30 appearances in the EPL this season.  Having now made over 500 appearances in England, and approaching his 100th Socceroos cap, surely one of our most noteable football exports of all time.  Perhaps the red card Tim Cahill received on the last day of the season was a fitting close to an unproductive season by his lofty standards.  A good run with injuries, but down on starts and his lowest goal tally in his professional career.  The break out season of Chris Herd at Villa ended up seeing him make 19 appearances and nearly 1500 minutes on the pitch.  A shame an ankle injury will delay his debut in the green and gold. Forgotten keeper, Brad Jones made the Liverpool matchday squad a few times in a year of personal tragedy with the death of his young son Luca. Vince Grella made the bench in the last game of the season, surely his last for Blackburn.  Joining him on the bench was former NQ Fury keeper Seb Usai.  A great reward after a strong second half of the season in the reserves. 
England (League One) – the end of the season saw our Aussies all miss the playoffs.  Injury derailed the seasons of Cisak and Wesolowski at Oldham, but that opened the door for keeper Dean Bouzanis to finish out the season in goals.  A significant year for Bailey Wright at Preston North End having made 13 senior appearances.  As a 19 year old, can consider himself unlucky to be transfer listed.
England (League Two) – the solid season of Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (Shrewsbury Town) has resulted in a transfer up to League One, although his former team was also promoted.  Although not as prominent as last season, Jamie Young (Aldershot) finished the season with 25 appearances.
England (Blue Square) - Twenty-four year old James Meredith (York City) amassed over 4000 minutes in a season that was ultimately rewarded with promotion to league football.
Italy (Serie B) - close but not close enough for Carl Valeri with Sassuolo now going through the playoffs as they push for promotion.  Back in the starting line-up, Carl is having his most productive season yet in terms of minutes played and goals scored.
Germany (Bundesliga) – Once the playoffs had concluded, Nikita Rukavytsya (Hertha Berlin) had managed 16 starts in one of the bigger leagues in Europe. Langerak was ever reliable as backup keeper at Dortmund and has been given a contract extension, whereas Matthew Leckie never really got firing after returning from injury, becoming a solid contributor at reserve level.
Germany (2.Bundesliga) - Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf) made 11 appearances for the campaign, but a further 19 sitting on the bench in his tracksuit.  Hopefully that will be regarded as his apprenticeship to football in Germany, and will see more game time in the Bundesliga next season.
Netherlands (Eredivsie) – The season ended on a positive note for the Utrecht boys (Sarota, Oar, Zullo) as they all appeared in the last game of the season.  Jason Davidson (Heracles) ended up making six starts after his debut in March, a good launching pad for next season.
Scotland (Premier) – Scoring in the winning Scottish Cup side was a great way for defender Ryan McGowan (Hearts) to cap off an impressive season where he made 28 appearances.  An injury delayed start to the season meant Aaron Mooy (St.Mirren) was always a good chance to struggle.  He ended up playing just 300 minutes in 8 appearances, but was an unused substitute 17 times.
Ireland (Premier) - after a nine-month injury absence, Mark Griffin returned to the Dundalk squad to score twice from the bench.
Greece (Football League) – Young midfielder Robert Stambolziev (Thrasyvoulos) ended with 10 appearances after stepping up a level mid-season.  Young midfieder Daniel Sotelo (AS Fokikos) sat on the bench for last few games of the season but is yet to make his senior debut
Greece (Football League 2) - A successful loan spell for Billy Konstantinidis at AEP Iraklis.  He made eight starts in ten appearances, netting seven times.   Hopefully enough to see him play at a higher level next season.
Denmark (Superliga) - Nathan Coe (Sonderjyske) has now completed back-to-back seasons as first choice keeper, making a further 31 starts.  Brent McGrath made his long awaiting return to the senior squad at Brondby for the last game of the season.  
Portugal (Liga de Honra) – After completing his first season in Europe in which he made 29 starts, Caleb Patterson-Sewell (Atletico Clube Portugal) was rewarded with a transfer to the top tier in Portugal.  He will become part of an exclusive group of Aussies to play in the Primeira Liga.
Switzerland (Super League) - the highly decorated Basel career of Scott Chipperfield has come to an end.  Having made 269 club appearances, Scott leaves at the age of 36 and the club's all time record holder of titles at the club.  Congratulations on ten fantastic seasons!! Next stop, West Sydney?
Austria (1. Liga) - Richie Cardozo (LASK Linz) ended the season strongly by scoreing twice in the last four matches, but his club fell just short of promotion. 
Serbia (Prva Liga) - Interestingly, Matthew Bryne contribution down back has coincided with Donji Siem earning promotion with a few games to go.
U.A.E. (UFL) – Mark Bresciano and Lucas Neill have both signed off their club seasons, pleased with the contributions they were able to make.
China (Super League) - our Aussies continue to flourish with all of our players in the starting line-ups with the exception of Joel Griffiths who is carrying an injury.
China (League One) - Adam Hughes (Harbin Yifeng) and Brendon Santalab (Chongqing Lifan) find themselves regulars on the scoresheets at their new clubs.
Japan (J- League) - Kennedy (Nagoya) returning from injury and scoring, Jade North a mainstay in a leaky defence, Alex Brosque earning two red cards within a month and Matt Spiranovic struggling to get a run at Urawa.  Certainly a month of mixed fortunes in the J.League.
Japan (J2 League) - After an outstanding April, this month has been a bit quiter for Mark Milligan (3 starts) as JEF move back into the automatic promotion places.
Korea (K-League) - May saw most of our Aussies return to the park after injury, the exceptions being Burns (knee) and Simon (groin).  Matt McKay still searching for his first goal at Busan after 12 starts, while Eddy Bosnar (Suwon) scored an absolute screamer from a free kick to break his duck for the season.
USA (MLS) - exciting news with the emergence of 22 year old Andy Rose (Seattle Sounders) having made 4 starts since his April debut.
USA (USL) - another Aussie finding his way in the States in Yahaya Musa.  Now starting at the Wilmingtom Hammerheads after a decorated college career.
India (I-League) – a further 18 goals this campaign has seen Tolgey Olzbey (East Begal) rewarded with a big dollar move to rivals Mohun Bagan.
Indonesia (Super League) - another league where our Aussies are seeing plenty of game time, with the dark could of payment hanging over them.
Uruguay (Primera) - A massive head clash was the only thing that could slow down Richard Porta.  He now has 12 goals in 9 appearances, one behind in the race for the Golden Boot .
Uzbekistan (Premier) - could David Carney have been recruited as an ACL specialist? Seems he is a regular in the Champions League campaign, but not so for domestic football.
Injuries:-    The number of Aussies with long-term injuries is very low.  The typical end of season tune-ups, and we should see almost all our Aussies Abroad enjoying pre-seasons in Europe.
Club Competitions:-
(UEFA Champions League) Congratulations to  winners Chelsea.
(UEFA Europa League) Congratulations to winners Athletico madrid..
(AFC Cup) - Tolgey Ozbey (East Bengal)  appeared as his club were eliminated in the group stages.  A fantastic 6-2 victory in which Andrew Barisic (Arema) started,  saw his club progress. Arema then proceeded to win away to Kitchee in the first final.  Barisic missed that game.
(Asian Champions League) - while Lucas Neill, David Carney, Josh Kennedy and Sasa Ognenovski all played in finals, only Bunyodkor (Carney) have progressed to the last eight.
Reserves and Youth:-    With very few youth and reserves competitions still in progress during May, a shout out to the Hong Kong Football Club International Sevens held during May.  Several Aussies featured, Jackson Irvine (Celtic), Brad Inman (Newcastle) and Reece Caira (Aston Villa).  Strangely Caira was released upon his return to England after the tournament.
International level :-    No international football at any level for our representative teams in May however the Socceroos are in action during June. 

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