Newcastle Socceroos Honoured

Four Newcastle Jets players were yesterday awarded with Socceroo caps for having represented Australia in a full international.

Four Newcastle Jets players were yesterday awarded with Socceroo caps for having represented Australia in a full international. The quartet was awarded their cap at a fund raising function at the Merewether Golf club Monday afternoon with 9 other former Australian international players.

Local identity and former international, Ray Bartz, organised to finalise the presentation of Socceroo caps for the players who have already represented Australia but who had not been issued with their first cap. This process began about four years ago and has seen a number of former international players around Australia recognised for their achievements.

The four current Newcastle Jets who were awarded their Socceroo caps were Ljubo Milicevic, Kasey Wehrman, Ruben Zadkovic, and Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

Kasey Wehrman was capped 11 times for the Australian under-20 team and has played a number of times for the full Australian national team including unofficial and official international games making his full international debut in 1998 against Fiji in Brisbane. He was a surprise inclusion for a friendly match against Ghana in November 2006 after having been overlooked for the previous 5 years.

Milicevic made his senior debut against Indonesia at Subiaco Oval, Perth in March 2005; he then made three appearances at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup. Milicevic captained both the Young Socceroos and Olyroos, and went to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina in 2001.

Topor-Stanley made his international debut against Singapore in March 2008. Former Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek also included Nikolai in the Socceroos squad that drew 0-0 against China and that won against Ghana in 2008. Nikolai is the most capped Olyroos player representing Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Zadkovich made his debut at right-back in the last home game of 1st round 2010 World Cup Qualifications, against China, at ANZ Stadium on 22 June 2008. Zadkovich also took part in the 2008 Olympics as part of Australia's national team (Olyroos). He scored from close range in a 1-1 draw with Serbia, Australia's only goal in that campaign.

The Jets players were in good company with some of the great names of Newcastle football, who have represented the green and gold, also receiving their caps. They included Troy Halpin, David Lowe, Howard Tredinnick, Joe Senkalski, Col Curran, Ray Lloyd, Bill Mahoney, Gary Heaney and Reg Date.

After the presentation, Ljubo Milicevic stated “it is a great honour to be amongst these players from days gone by. Although we live in different times, the one thing that has not changed is the spirit and mateship that exists in the football fraternity”.

Former Socceroo, Joe Senkalski, stated “it is wonderful that the FFA are recognising all former Socceroos by presenting us with caps. The one thing that I will never forget is the experience of playing for the Socceroos, it is a lasting memory”.

In keeping up with the tradition, Newcastle Jets teen sensation Ben Kantarovski, was today selected in the Qantas Young Socceroos squad for AFC U-19 Championships. The Qantas Young Socceroos have been drawn in Group D of the competition along with Yemen, Korea Republic and IR Iran.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will play their opening match of the tournament against Yemen on Monday 4 October, followed by IR Iran on Wednesday 6 October with their final group match against the Korea Republic on Friday 8 October. The quarter finals will be played on Monday 11 October, semi-finals on Thursday 14 October, with the Final to be played on Sunday 17 October.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will assemble in Sydney tomorrow for a four-day training camp, which will include a training match against the Central Coast Mariners, before heading to Hong Kong on Friday to complete their pre-tournament preparations and will arrive in Zibo on Friday 1 October.