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Paartalu’s Future Plans – ‘Wants to Focus on Football’

Erik Paartalu puts future plans on hold to concentrate on football at Brisbane Roar FC

28 August, Sydney, NSW: Brisbane Roar midfielder Erik Paartalu wants to focus on his football following the suspension of contract negotiations with Brisbane Roar FC until the end of the coming Hyundai A-League season.

Paartalu, who has made 69 consecutive appearances for the Roar since joining the club in 2010 (scoring 9 goals), and who has been instrumental in the clubs recent success under former mentor Ange Postecoglou says that football and his development as a player must always come first.

Paartalu’s defining moment at the Roar came in the 2010/11 A-League Grand Final, when he scored the equaliser in the 120th minute and then topped that off by scoring a decisive penalty to ensure a Brisbane Roar victory. Paartalu was also awarded the ‘A-League Solo Goal of the Year’ for the 2010-11 season. His International career has also taken off earlier this year when he was selected for the ‘Qantas Socceroos’ in a FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia earlier this year in Melbourne.

Paartalu’s agent David O’Keefe from Football Focus International, said, "Although on-going contract negotiations with Brisbane have been a little frustrating at times, we have conducted discussions in good faith throughout. Whilst every young footballer wants to maximise their earning potential in what can be a brutally short playing career, our paramount consideration has been Erik’s strong sense of loyalty to Brisbane Roar FC and his strong desire to see out his 3 year contract with the club.”

“With UAE club Baniyas SC today confirming they have signed Sydney FC star Nick Carle on loan, Erik has instructed me to suspend all further negotiations so that he can get on with the job of preparing for the new 2012-2013 Hyundai A-League season and concentrate on helping propel the club to its third straight title.”

Erik Paartalu concluded,” After careful consideration regarding my contract talks, I feel it is better for both parties that these negotiations take place at the end of the season so that I can focus 100% on the task ahead and have no further distractions during the all important pre-season build up. I am looking forward to the year ahead with renewed vigour and I for one cannot wait for the first game of the season against last years grand final opponents Perth Glory!”

Brisbane Roars’ Finest Kick Winning Goal at St John’s Anglican College Football Coaching Clinic

A Football Coaching Clinic held on July 15 2012 at St John’s Anglican College in South West Brisbane ended up being a “roaring’ success” according to St John’s College Head of Sport Richard Haines.

Headlined by FFI clients and Premiership winning Brisbane Roar players, Erik Paartalu and Shane Stefanutto, the clinic gave some very committed St John’s College football devotees a real taste of a professional football training regime and demonstrated why footballers are some of the fittest athletes around. According to Richard Haines,” The guys were absolutely fantastic and made a real impression with everyone who attended.

They both worked really well in conjunction with the Colleges own Coaches who put on a great day of football. It’s heartening to see sports people like Erik and Shane, who are at the top of their game, be so willing to give something back to students who could potentially be Australia’s next generation of football superstars. We would obviously love to see them back again.”

Poscoliero Hoping for a ‘Change of Heart’

Young Australian footballer Jacob Poscoliero trials with Melbourne Heart FC

10 July, Sydney, NSW: Back in Sydney for some well-earned R&R, Jacob Poscoliero who currently plays with Sandona Jessolo Calcio FC in the Italian Serie D League has been invited to attend an upcoming trial with Melbourne Heart FC.

With the help of former coach and now agent in Australia, Poscoliero turned up in Italy four years ago after spending time with Blacktown City Demons in the NSW Premier League where he won praise as a defensive/central midfielder. His previous clubs included Parramatta Eagles FC and Wollongong Wolves FC.

The 22-year-old, who originally hails from Wollongong, is one of a number of young, largely unheralded Australians who have been plying their craft overseas in the hope of an opportunity that will eventually lead to bigger and better things. With the game in Italy currently being in such disarray at all levels, the offer of a triall at Melbourne Heart according to Poscoliero was “just too good to refuse.”

Poscoliero said, “This has come as quite a ‘bolt from the blue’ but a very welcome one at that. Having been overseas for 4 years, I am looking forward to testing myself against some of the best players in the A-League here at Melbourne Heart FC and putting that experience to the test. I’m not in peak condition having just had 4 weeks of R&R, however I’m very grateful to the club for giving me such a great opportunity and I aim not to disappoint.”

Brisbane Roar Veteran Fullback Shane Stefanutto Joins FFI family

Contemplating ‘Life after football’ for Shane Stefanutto

8 July, Sydney, NSW: Brisbane Roar Vice Captain Shane Stefanutto has signed a two year deal with local football management agency Football Focus International (FFI) in what he says could be a ‘’springboard’ to other opportunities outside of football.”

Stefanutto, who has had a long and illustrious playing career, trained at the Queensland Academy of Sport before playing for the Brisbane Strikers in the now defunct National Soccer League from 1998–2004. After moving overseas to further his playing career, Stefanutto joined Lillestrøm S.K. in Norway in 2007. His contract with Lillestrøm expired at the end of that year whereupon he agreed to play for another leading Norwegian team Lyn Oslo for the 2008 season. Stefanutto returned to Australia in 2009, joining the North Queensland Fury, before signing a three year contract with the Brisbane Roar.

Stefanutto, a talented left fullback who enjoys exploiting attacking options down the wing, is now part of the Roar leadership group alongside club Captain Matt Smith, Erik Paartalu and goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos. Since joining the team, he has enjoyed a well-earned reputation for being one of the most consistent performers in the Hyundai A-League.

Stefanutto’s received his first call-up to the Australian national team for an international friendly against Ghana, in London but did not play. On 24 March 2007, Stefanutto won his first international cap in a friendly match against China. He then remained out of the team for more than two years before being recalled in Australia's final qualification match for the 2010 World Cup against Japan in June 2009.

Stefanutto commenting on why he chose to sign with FFI said,” Football is a tough sport and I have been injured many times. Each time I am sidelined, my thoughts turn to my other interests and of course, what I will be doing eventually after football. Being able to support my family is obviously important to me and I decided to take this decisive step because of FFI’s expertise in professional career development advice outside of the game. Football will always be important to me but the future beckons, and I have a number of other projects that I actively want to pursue.”

Football Focus International Managing Director David O’Keefe said,” FFI’s values based business model is predicated on taking a ‘whole of life’ approach to client’s business and personal affairs. In addition to the traditional sports agent role, we advise our clients about their aspirations and income potential, in other areas, not necessarily related to football. Shane is keen to pursue a career in sales & marketing and has also expressed an interest in coaching at a grass roots level. One of the things I am most passionate about is helping to facilitate players lay the foundations of some alternative options both during and after their football careers. The team at FFI are well-equipped to do this and we’ve already had some initial discussions with Shane regarding a couple of options which we are actively pursuing on his behalf.”

Australian Goalkeeper Ben McNamara flies out for European club trials

18 June, Sydney, NSW:: Ben McNamara, who currently plays custodian for NSW Premier League competition leaders Bonnyrigg White Eagles, flies out today for formal trials with European clubs AFC Wimbledon and Doncaster Rovers in the UK and Irish Premier Division club Shamrock Rovers.

Pending the outcome, McNamara may also take up an invitation to go to Malmo FC in Sweden to showcase his goalkeeping skills, which have been honed in a succession of solid Australian clubs like Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Rockdale City Suns and the Newcastle Jets FC over a career spanning 10 years. During the coming weeks/months, the plan is for him to experience some solid training and several trial games in the United Kingdom with a view to a long-term stay as part of the next chapter in his playing career.

Football Focus International (FFI) Managing Director, David O’Keefe said,” Ben has quite rightly decided the time is now right to make the move overseas after becoming frustrated by the lack of opportunity and interest from any of the A-League clubs in Australia. This is despite a positive track record with the Newcastle Jets FC back in 2007/2008, and also having been in outstanding form in the NSW Premier League (NSWPL) competition for the past two seasons.”

He continued, “Ben is one of the most dedicated footballers I’ve come across both on/off the field. I’m very confident he will adapt well to the challenges that lie ahead in the UK and Europe.

He’s in great physical shape and is mentally prepared to remain overseas for as long as it takes to secure a professional contract. Australia has a habit of producing top quality Goalkeepers, and whilst Ben hasn’t been given the opportunities he deserves in Australia, we know that he will fulfil his true potential overseas and prove a few people wrong in the process.”

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