Five Minutes With… Brendan Griffin

At just 18 years of age, midfielder Brendan Griffin is amongst the youngest players plying their trade in the National Youth League competition. Young in years he may be, he already has an impressive football resume

At just 18 years of age, midfielder Brendan Griffin is amongst the youngest players plying their trade in the National Youth League competition. Young in years he may be, he already has an impressive football resume.

Griffin begun his sporting journey out wide on a rugby league field, but it was with the round ball that he really found his feet. When he made the decision to switch sports he found himself playing A grade level straight away. It was the start of a meteoric rise for the young man who found himself playing representative level two seasons later and with an Australian jumper by 2009.

Blessed with speed and vision, valuable commodities in wide midfielder Griffin has an ability to beat defences with ease and is enjoying the experience of playing in Australia-s premier league for young players.

Griffin talks to about his early days in football, his reaction when he was chosen to represent Australia and his ambitions for the remainder of a season.

For more information on Brendan, click here to view his profile.

What age did you first start playing football and what attracted you to the game?
I first started playing rugby league when I was about 8 years old and at school all my friends played soccer or “football” so I joined my local team in the Sutherland Shire, Bangor, at the age of 10. Before that I had never played soccer in my life, but in my first season I was lucky enough to make the A-team. The next season I played again for the same time before being selected to play in the Sutherland Sharks Under 12s representative team. What really attracted to me the game were my friends who were playing it at lunchtime at school.

Was it hard switching to football from rugby league at a time before football became popular in Australia?
It wasn-t really that hard switching between the two games, I played league for a while but because I was pretty quick they played me on the wing and I played on the wing when I switched to football as well. It was a bit different at first switching to football but I was having fun and I wanted to try different sports anyway.

Can you describe your experiences with the Emerging Young Socceroos?
When I first got the call up it was totally out of the blue, I was on my home from training with the Spirit. I got a call saying I was a reserve for the Young Socceroos squad that was about to go to Vietnam. My first reaction was “whoa this is kind of good” and they said that if someone gets injured you will get the make the trip. That was on the Monday and the team was flying out on the Saturday and we trained all week. On the Friday I was heading home and they told me pack your bags going to Vietnam tomorrow. I was amazed it all happened so quickly and playing for your country is such an honour. At my age I didn-t think I would ever get the chance to do it. The experiences over there were amazing they treat you like royalty. Pulling on the shirt, walking out in front of 4000 fans and singing the national anthem was awesome, there-s nothing better really.

What would you rate as your greatest strengths as a player?
My greatest strength would probably be my vision. When I was about 13 I went to a football academy and they gave us a home program to work on all those types of skills. It was with David Lee who-s a renowned coach and coached Harry Kewell at one point. He stressed the importance of playing to your strengths and for me that was vision. Plus I-ve got a bit of pace.

What areas of your game do you feel you need to work on?
I really need to become consistent day in and day out as a player that-s what you work towards and you can-t ask or any more than that. The skill I most want to improve is my heading that isn-t the best and I would love to get a couple of goals.

Who did you support growing up and what players did you admire?
I supported Manchester United and supported players such as Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, David Beckham, Pele, and Wayne Rooney.

How have you found the professional approach to playing in the National Youth League?
Playing in the NYL is awesome because they treat you like a professional footballer. Training every day really helps you improve your skills and getting paid to do something you love makes you feel very lucky. The important thing they really stress to us is recovery after matches so we can back it all up again. The recovery techniques took a while getting used to. The flying in and out on match days was a bit unusual at first but you deal with it, there-s nothing we can do about it so we just go out and play, which is the best part of football.

What are your own individual goals for the remainder of the season?
To score my first goal for the club would be terrific and to make the most of every minute of game time I get. I would also love to be involved with another Young Socceroos squad and to do that we need to keep performing as a team.