Melbourne’s south-east continues to have a strong football footprint which is not surprising considering its DNA. It is steeped in football history but much like the region as a whole, it is largely understated.
Vince Grella, the official Team11 Ambassador, is perhaps the region’s most notable product and one of many who wore the south-east regional team’s green shirt before kicking on to play professionally and internationally.
But Grella is just one of no less than 15 Socceroos, 25-plus internationals and in excess of 50 players to have played in the Hyundai A-League, National Soccer League or overseas, that have been produced in our local backyards, parks and football fields.
Current Socceroos trio Jackson Irvine, Bailey Wright and Ajdin Hrustic were all born and bred in the region before pursuing their professional dreams overseas, along with Scott McDonald, Ljubo Milicevic, Curtis Good and Eugene Galekovic.
Former Socceroos captain Paul Wade also grew up and played in the region, while John Hutchinson headlines the many products from the Latrobe Valley, many of whom got an opportunity during Morwell Falcons’ (later Eastern Pride) almost decade-long spell in the NSL.
John Maisano, Joey Di Iorio and Anthony Pelikan are among the players who’ve officially represented Australia at youth level.
Naum Sekulovski, Simon Storey, Joey Rajher, Rade Culibrk, Antun Kovacic, Paulo Retre, Xhezair Sulemani and Paul Byrne are among the locals who have played in the National Soccer League and/or the Hyundai A-League.
The region has also produced Westfield W-League and Matildas players, but that number will only increase in the future, headlined by exciting local prospect Jacynta Galabadaarachchi.
The region is represented in the WNPL competition by Southern United.
Currently there are 89 clubs and over 12,000 registered players in the south-east, and this number is growing rapidly.