Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today described Sydney FC’s signing of Qantas Socceroo Brett Emerton as a landmark moment for the Hyundai A-League in Australia’s most competitive sports marketplace.
Emerton learned his football in the junior ranks in Greater Western Sydney and was a star for Sydney Olympic in the former National Soccer League.
“Brett Emerton is the quintessential football success story,” said FFA CEO Ben Buckley.
“He developed on the fields in football’s heartland in Sydney’s west, before a spectacular spell in the NSL in his home town then great success in Europe and on the international stage with the Qantas Socceroos.
“Sydney FC has found the ideal marquee player and a wonderful ambassador in Brett Emerton. On behalf of the football community, I congratulate Sydney FC on securing Brett’s signature and I’m delighted to say ‘welcome home, Brett’.”
In terms of connecting the Hyundai A-League with the grassroots of the g
Sydney FC last night completed the signing of Qantas Socceroo Brett Emerton on a three-year-deal that brings one of this country’s finest football ambassadors back to Australia.
Emerton, who was born and raised in Sydney, returns home after a stellar 11-year career in Europe, where he played 338 matches for Feyenoord and Blackburn, during which time he was one of the most consistent and effective players in the Socceroo squad.
With 87 National Team appearances, Emerton is the second most capped Socceroo and represented Australia at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. He is still a critical member of the National Team and has every intention of representing Australia at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me,” Emerton said. “I-m a Sydney boy and I-m looking forward to representing the people of Sydney every week and playing in front of friends, family and Sydney football fans.
“Football has been very good to me and I have always said I-d like to come back and play in the A-League while I still have something to offer and thanks to Sydney FC and Blackburn Rovers that opportunity has come about a bit earlier than I had thought.”
Sydney FC Vice Chairman Scott Barlow said “The Sydney FC Board has for some time viewed the signing of Brett Emerton as a major priority. We have been fortunate that this has come to fruition a year earlier than we had anticipated after Brett requested, and was granted, a release from the last year of his contract with English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers.
“Brett is an incredible role model for all young footballers in Australia and his return to his home town of Sydney while he is still at the peak of his powers is a major coup for Sydney FC and the Hyundai A-League.
“We are committed to delivering the highest quality football experience we can to our fans and today’s announcement is an important step towards this goal.”
Sydney FC CEO Dirk Melton echoed the sentiments of Mr Barlow: “This is a landmark day in the history of both football in Australia and Sydney FC,” Mr Melton said. “Brett is one of the best football players Australia has produced and he is coming to our club at a time when we are focussed on building a sustainable foundation for the future.
“The attributes that Brett will provide Sydney FC both on and off the field will greatly assist our objective to create a high performance culture and realize our vision of enhancing the passion and belonging that fans have for our club.”
Emerton will play his last game for Blackburn Rovers on Saturday night when he takes on Tim Cahill-s Everton at Ewood Park in what shapes as the perfect final chapter in his eight-year stint at Blackburn and his 11 year European career.
He will then fly home and join the Qantas Socceroos for the opening 2012 World Cup Qualifiers before joining his Sydney FC team mates as they prepare for the start of the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League against Melbourne Victory on 8 October.