He’s played at some of the biggest stadiums in England including Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge but Richard Garcia’s career started at the humble home ground of Balcatta Junior Football Club.
This week's round of Hyundai A-League action will celebrate the contribution made to our game by grassroots clubs, coaches, players and officials while encouraging young people to head down to their local clubs and give our great game a try.
Now 33, the Perth Glory FC winger is no stranger to success having been an integral part of Hull City’s promotion to the Barclays Premier League in 2008 – however ‘Garc’ hasn’t changed much as he still loves to get on the score sheet.
“My fondest memory of juniors was scoring lots of goals. I was a striker back then and I loved to score,” he said.
Every player loves to score goals, and Garcia has scored some important ones including Hull City’s goal of the season back in 2007-2008 but who you score them against can make them all the more sweeter.
Reflecting on his junior days, Garcia said there were clubs that he couldn’t wait to play against.
“We always had great rivalry with Perth and Bayswater, they were always tough battles but if memory serves me right most of the time we won.”
From representing Balcatta, a suburb of roughly 10,000 people to representing Australia as a Socceroo, Garcia said his first coach was never far away.
“My brother has been coaching me since before I started playing and he still hasn't stopped,” he joked.
“He has been a big influence on my career especially in my junior days.”
As he enters the twilight of his caree, Garcia has a few choice words for youngsters looking to embrace the world game.
“Just jump right in, it’s a wonderful game.
“I've had the privilege of having a great career out of football and hopefully with the growth that we are seeing here in Australia, many more youngsters will have a career in the game as well.”
Players, coaches and referees can register to “Play Football” by logging onto Australia's biggest online sports registration portal, which can be found at http://www.myfootballclub.com.au/
Get down to the following Centres this weekend to meet your Hyundai A-League heroes and get involved in some fun football activities.
* Newcastle Jets - Westfield Kotara – Saturday 7th February 12.30–2.30pm
* Melbourne City - Westfield Plenty Valley – Sunday 8th February 11am-2pm
* Perth Glory - Westfield Whitford City – Sunday 8th February 11am-2pm
* Western Sydney Wanderers - Westfield Penrith - Thursday February 12th 4.30pm-5.30pm
* Melbourne Victory - Westfield Knox - Friday February 27th 4pm-5pm
Check back regularly as more clubs announce their appearances.
Check westfield.com.au for more detailed information.