The Caltex Socceroos camp had a few special visitors as Jamie Maclaren and Danny Vukovic were among five players to receive their caps for Australia.
Matt McKay, who featured in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, and Jade North, capped more than 40 times for the Caltex Socceroos, presented Vukovic, Maclaren, Dimi Petratos, Thomas Deng and Awer Mabil with their caps.
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McKay said it was an honour to award players their first caps on home soil, and hoped they would cherish it throughout their careers.
“[I hope they understand] how precious [the caps] are, it’s a privilege for myself and Jade to come in and present those,” McKay said.
“I explained my first cap to them, and hopefully how memorable it is for them - they get their cap, and can cherish it and put it up anywhere they want in the house.”
North echoed McKay’s sentiment, reflecting on what it meant for him to represent the Caltex Socceroos.
“It was a long time ago, but I was very proud to get my first cap back in 1999, 2000 - I can’t even remember now, it’s been so long,” North said.
“Those are the memories that will live with me for the rest of my life. It’s just a proud honour to be here tonight, just to share our experiences with these boys.
“It’s great to see these boys are doing well for themselves, playing at the top level in Europe and all over the world.”
The Caltex Socceroos culture
Both players praised Graham Arnold for the culture he’s created within the Caltex Socceroos quad.
According to McKay and North, these were important steps into building a successful squad.
“Arnie’s great at that, he knows what he needs to build, and that’s by starting a culture,” said North.
“The players, the support staff, everyone involved will buy into the culture, it’s great to see.
“You can see the change right away. Just knowing there’s a great culture involved and building something special here, [I] can’t wait for the game against Korea Republic.”
McKay agreed: “I think it’s great from Arnie, to be honest. It ends pretty quickly, that’s the Socceroos experience, you might be playing and then you might be out of the squad.
“So you’ve got to cherish it, and I’m sure these boys will. They’ve got some big tournaments coming up, and they want to do Australia proud.”
The Caltex Socceroos do battle against Korea Republic at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, November 17 at 7:50pm AEDT. You can purchase tickets here.