Cole's star rising
Shannon Cole has become the Hyundai A-League's hottest new kid on the block.
Shannon Cole's next door neighbour can see a large pay day coming.
Years of wear and tear on his fence - not to mention the countless wayward footballs collected - are suddenly worth the pain as the boy next door has transformed into the Hyundai A-League's hottest new kid on the block.
Rarely has an unknown talent exploded on the Australian scene so quickly and with so much impact as 24-year-old Cole.
The confident left midfielder announced his arrival by pushing aside - figuratively speaking - Sydney FC patriarch Steve Corica to take a crucial free kick late in the season-opener against Melbourne.
The left post saved Victory and prevented Cole from stealing the first-day headlines on that occasion.
A week later the post came to his aid, this time deflecting a swerving 30m effort past Danny Vukovic for Sydney's match-winning goal in a 3-2 thriller against Central Coast.
Back in a quiet street in Sydney's Concord West, Cole's neighbour allowed himself a wry smile - and then jokingly put his hand out for a royalty payment.
"My neighbour came over and said all the 'doosh, doosh, doosh' against the fence had paid off," Cole laughed.
"He told me that for every ball that's gone over his fence I owe him a dollar and I should now be able to pay him back."
As his neighbour can attest, Cole has an insatiable appetite for set pieces
When the back fence was in need of respite, a teenage Cole would kit up and head to the nearest park looking for new targets.
"It's not something that comes naturally. It's something I've worked hard on," he explained.
"It became an obsession when I was 14, 15 ... about the time (David) Beckham was becoming famous."
"I was infatuated with the dip he got on the ball so I used to go to the park and practice over and over to try and get it right."
"I used whatever I could find to aim at. Bins, trees, walls ... anything."
It's now A-League goalkeepers he has in his sights.
"I never threw my hand up to take the free kicks. If I was given the responsibility I was more than happy to take it," he said.
"John Kosmina showed faith in what he'd seen or what he'd heard."
"He said 'don't be shy, if the opportunity's there step up and take it.'"
Much like the opportunity handed Cole in the first place.
He was plying his trade with Sydney Olympic in the NSW Premier League, all the while showing he belonged in higher company.
Olympic's top men got in Kosmina's ear and suggested he take a look at Cole for himself.
Sydney FC got in just before the travel agents, signing the raw but exciting talent on a one-year deal.
"I was very focused on Olympic's season but after that I was keen to go overseas," Cole said.
"I wanted to use football to see a bit of the world."
"I then started training with the (Sydney FC) guys and the travel plans were put on hold."
"I'm not looking too far ahead. I'll do everything I can to learn and improve as a footballer and play as often as I can."
"We will see where I stand at the end of the season."