After what felt like several days in the air my flight
finally arrived in Sydney, Australia on 2
August 2011 at 8:45am. I was welcomed at the airport by the
Sydney Swans Academy Coach, Paul "Roosy" Roos.
Roosy told me that I would be staying with him and his
beautiful family at his house which I found an unbelievable
After meeting Roosy's family, Tami, Dylan and Tyler, I
dropped my bags off in the guest room and Roosy took me to
Cricket Ground (SCG), the home of the Sydney Swans. As soon
as Roosy and I pulled up to the SCG I could see smell the
tradition. Roosy introduced me to every Swan staff member
in every office and room we passed. In an instant I felt
welcomed because of the friendly and polite greetings.
After I met with Swans head Doctor Nathan Gibbs and then
headed over to have lunch with Roosy, Chris Smith (Smitty),
and Michelle Fricke who works in the Swans Academy
Department. During lunch I got a better feel of exactly
what the Sydney Swans had prepared for me during my visit.
I had the privilege to spend most of my time training with
the Swans Academy. Along with getting the
opportunity to practice a couple of times with Dylan and
Tyler's footy clubs. I also had the opportunity to work
individually with Roosy, Smitty, and George Stone, Sydney
Swans Development Coach.
When the Swans practiced I was able to sit in the stands of
SCG and closely observe the flow of the great game of footy
taking notes of players and things I had to pick up on.
The Swans arranged for me to fly to Melbourne and
watch some footy live. My first live footy game I saw the
St. Kilda Saints defeat the Fremantle Dockers in there
round 20 match at Etihad Stadium. During that game I got a
chance to chat with Swans Head Coach John Longmire and some
assistant coaches. The next morning I had a kick with the
great George Stone. Later that night I witnessed a thriller
live along side Penny Stone, wife of George Stone (she is a
huge footy fan) in the round 20 match up between the Sydney
Swans and Essendon Bombers.
After the game I rode back to the hotel with the team and
had a chat with a superstar of the AFL,
Adam Goodes of the Swans (who had a shot to win the
game after the siren) and he simply said to me that being
in that situation is no different in a basketball game when
you dream of winning the game with a last second
shot. The next day I learned that the AFL
International Cup would be taking place
in Australia over the next couple of weeks.
Footy teams from countries all over the world were visiting
Sydney and were given a tour of the SCG. I remember sitting
upstairs in the hallway waiting to have a kick with Roosy
before the Academy training started and The USA Revolution
team had walked by me. I had received an email from Head
Coach of the Revolution, Matt Bishop, two days earlier
while I was in Melbourne about getting a chance
to meet the team since they would be out in Sydney.
Coach Bishop introduced me to the USA Revolution team. I
then hit the track with the academy boys and a few
I vividly remember two days before I returned home when I
had a training session in front of all the coaches,
recruiters and management staff. It was evident to all of
them that I had progressed throughout those three weeks and
that I showed the potential to continue to progress.
I enjoyed every moment of my time in Australia. I
really enjoyed spending time with Roosy and his family and
getting a chance to really explore the
Bondi Beach areas. I had the opportunity to have a nice
rib dinner with Roosy, John Blakey (Swans Assistant Coach)
and their families. Goodesy came over to the Roosy's to
have dinner with us one evening also.
I had the chance to visit Taronga Park Zoo, the
World renowned Sydney
Opera House as well as partake in the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Climb with Tami Roos. I also had a chance to play ball
basketball with Dylan and his club team. I went bowling
with Dylan, Tyler, Darcy Cordell, and another one of their
friends. Throughout my visit in Sydney I
gradually became a big fan of hot chocolate. Though I
can't say the same about Vegemite though which was a
tough experience for me. I think my first try of it will be
All in all my visit to beautiful Australia was
amazing. I'm elated and honored to be a part of the Sydney
Swans family. I love the people, culture, scenery,
lifestyle, food and I can't wait to get back out
to Sydney next month.