After 15 years in the A-League, including 12 for the Central Coast Mariners, Matt Simon is officially retiring from professional football.
Since he played his first professional minutes against the Newcastle Jets in 2007, Simon has represented everything that the Mariners stand for. 61 goals later in a Central Coast jersey and the striker goes down as a club icon.
Following a hugely successful 2020/21 campaign where Simon led the Mariners back to the A-League finals, his 2021/22 season was sadly cut short after just one match.
The striker injured his neck in an FFA Cup tie against Blacktown City and has never been able to fully recover.
“It has been a difficult eight or nine months after getting injured in the cup game,” Simon said.
“I have tried to use the past few months to try and get myself fit and back on the field and it just hasn’t been good enough to get back to where I need to be to give 100% for the team.”
Despite the injury, the Mariners legend is thankful for everything that football has given him. His accolades include three premierships, one championship, an FFA Cup and the title of all-time leading scorer for the Mariners.
“The game has given me more than I ever could have imagined. Coming into the club at 19, if someone told me that I would be retiring at close to 37 it would have been an absolute dream,” he said.
“To be able to play for my hometown team in the national competition for so long with so many appearances, one of my highlights has been able to play in front of my family and friends every single home game.
“It has been a great ride with plenty of ups and downs. Some successful times and some hard times but I have loved every single second of it, and I wouldn’t change any of it.”
On top of his A-League accomplishment’s, Simon has also represented his nation multiple times, becoming an Olympian in 2008, while twice playing for the Socceroos. He also spent two years in Korea between his time in the A-League.
Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery played with and managed Simon during his time at the club, knowing just how important the striker is to the Mariners.
“Obviously it was emotional, he is a champion of a guy and a legend of the club. As a footballer he will always be remembered for what he did for the club and national team, and the success he has had everywhere he has been,” he said.
“This club has been built on the foundation of being a small club with a big heart and Matt optimises everything about the Mariners. He has the biggest heart and is a guy who you would have on your team any day of the week.”
Simon will still be a part of the Mariners family despite retiring on field, accepting a role in player welfare and back-office operations.
The official celebration of his career will take place this Saturday October 8th at Central Coast Stadium, fittingly against the Newcastle Jets.
Purchase your tickets HERE to be a part of the celebrations.