Former Socceroos striker Scott McDonald has emphatically backed Team 11’s A-League and W-League bid, saying Victoria’s south-east is “100 per cent, absolutely” in need of a professional football presence.
McDonald, a 26-time Socceroo, grew up in the south-east, playing for Doveton, Springvale City and Casey Comets before carving out a successful career that has so far seen him play for the likes of Southampton, Celtic, Middlesbrough and Motherwell.
An avid all-round sports lover, McDonald, 34, said the south-east’s sporting landscape as a whole is a relatively untapped goldmine despite Victoria’s status as one of the sporting capitals of the world.
“It’s been well documented for a long time that this side of the city, over the years, hasn’t gotten what it’s wanted and probably deserved from a footballing or even a sporting perspective,” McDonald said.
“Ever since they took Waverley Park away from this area, from a sporting perspective I think we’ve missed out.
“So to have something a little bit similar to what the Western Sydney Wanderers have done, I really see a south-eastern suburbs side fitting into that type of mould.
“People can relate to it, it’s their club, they’re from that area, and I really think that’s something that is missing at the heart of a Melbourne soccer team.”
McDonald joins current day Socceroos Jackson Irvine and Bailey Wright as prominent supporters of Team 11’s bid, while Vince Grella, Clint Bolton, Theresa Deas and Debbie Nichols have previously been named as official ambassadors.
An all-encompassing A-League, W-League and Youth League bid, McDonald said Team 11’s junior pathways would become the jewel in the crown of the club if its bid for admission to Australia’s top flight is successful.
“If there’s a football club not too far away that’s playing in the A-League it gives these boys the possibility of a pathway or something to aspire to,” he said.
“I think that’s a little bit lost at the minute for some of these kids, who are asking the questions of how are they going to get picked up, where are they going to get picked up?
“Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City might be that little bit out of the way. Where are these select squads we had as kids? I don’t think they’re there anymore.
“It’s really an academy direction that we’re going and if we had an A-League club out here that would be amazing and I’m convinced we’d see a few more Socceroos coming from here.”