SOCCEROO Eugene Galekovic became a local hero to some of the youngest members of the Ballarat Soccer Club when he dropped in via a video link compliments of a new Optus NBN connection.
A live cross from Eugene in Adelaide using an Optus NBN connection, to the Ballarat clubrooms had the FIFA World Cup player fielding questions from many of the clubs budding young soccer players.
As a youngster, the Melbourne born soccer star played for Dingley United before moving to English Premier League club Chelsea. He now stars in what is arguably one of the most stressful positions in soccer, goalkeeper.
“The best part of being a goalie is being able to make important saves which might win us the game. The worst part is one mistake can cause your team to lose,” he said.
“It’s incredible to be involved in the biggest sporting event in the world......the atmosphere when Australia played against Chile was amazing."Eugene Galekovic
Tina Verhey, Ballarat Soccer Club President said meeting a member of the Socceroos was a dream come true for many of the youngsters.
“This is something that most youngsters can only dream of doing, let alone being able to ask questions. This kind of experience is what makes everything real for these kids and the fact that they are getting to meet a World Cup goalkeeper is fantastic. With a bit of luck it might encourage more kids to become goalkeepers,” she said.
“When the club was first connected to the NBN we were really excited about how we’d use it for updating the club website and keep our local community up to date on what was happening at the club – but this event showed us that there are so many new ways to use our Optus NBN connection. We can stream live videos of our games and provide some incredible opportunities to our players, like meeting Eugene. The connection has provided an endless amount of opportunity for the club and our entire community,” explained Tina.
She said the interest in soccer has always been alive in Ballarat but this year it reached a new high thanks to the World Cup. Traditionally younger player’s interest has been sparked by parents, siblings, primary school soccer programs and local Futsal clubs. Positive role models like Eugene are also great to get kids interested in the sport.
“Most of our kids are fans of the Socceroos, Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano and Eugene. Positive role models, like Eugene, provide young players with a positive attitude toward their own game style and how they support their club,” she said.
Throughout the live cross Eugene shared stories about his greatest in front of goal save and the recent FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“It’s incredible to be involved in the biggest sporting event in the world. Watching the 2010 champions, Spain, play live against the Netherlands was such a great experience. Also, the atmosphere when Australia played against Chile was amazing,” he said.
The special event was arranged courtesy of Optus.
"This article was written by a Fairfax Media writer as part of a commercial agreement with Optus."