WHAT have the Huskisson Football Club, Southern Branch Football Club and the Aussie Socceroos got in common? Adam Federici. The Socceroos’ goalkeeper only ever pulled on the boots for the Huskisson and Southern Branch football clubs in Australia before embarking on an international career.
To celebrate the connection between the two clubs, they will face off on Saturday evening at the South Nowra soccer fields and play for the inaugural Federici Cup as well as the honour of being the first team to have its name engraved on the trophy.
It was a second connection between the two clubs, in the form of Sam Tooley, who first came up with the idea of the Federici Cup. Tooley is the Huskisson first grade coach and goalkeeper, as well as the goalkeeper coach for Southern Branch.
Tooley said Adam Federici recently dropped in on a Huskisson training session to meet the players and the pair discovered the unique connection between the two clubs.
“He (Federici) is generous with the limited time he has when he returns to Australia to visit his family, he always finds time to visit his old club,” Tooley said.
“It was during his last visit that we made the connection and I came up with the idea of the Federici Cup.”
Tooley said he hopes to see the match contested as an important trial match at the start of each season.
“We are certainly looking at it as a serious match,” he said.
“We have retained most of our players from last season and we also welcome Jordan Godley to the club from Shellharbour, where he has been playing in the Illawarra league.
“In addition, we have a few exciting young guns from Southern Branch juniors joining us so Saturday’s match will be a good chance to give them a trial run.”
Regional coaching and development manager for Southern Branch, James Muir, said the match would be another exciting step towards the Southern Branch first grade side’s debut in the state league competition.
“This year is the first time Southern Branch will field a team in the men’s first grade competition and it’s an exciting time for the club,” Muir said.
“Previously there was no pathway to first grade for local male players; they were forced to travel to Wollongong or Sydney to play senior football at a high level.”
Muir said he has heard rumours Huskisson has recruited well in the off-season and expects Saturday’s match to be a stern test for his side.
“We have a lot of young players who have come through Southern’s youth system,” he said.
“Luke McCann, Jordan Haddow and Joel Wilson will join experienced players like Brad Nash, Evan Leedham, Corey Ryan as well as a number of Wollongong recruits.”
This week is set to be an exciting one for football starved local fans. In addition to the Adam Federici Cup match that kicks off at 5pm on Saturday evening, the Johnny Warren Junior Tournament will be contested between eight representative sides from across Southern NSW, the Illawarra and the ACT. The Johnny Warren Junior Tournament action kicks off at 9am on Saturday and runs through until Sunday afternoon.