Did anybody happen to see Riley McGree’s goal on Friday night?
The insane ‘scorpion kick’ in front of a boisterous home crowd propelled the Newcastle Jets into the A-League grand final.
Perhaps even more significant was that the goal went viral. In this age of connectivity, McGree’s strike was seen all around the world, with many predicting he will win the coveted Puskas Award for best goal in the world for the year.
Let that sink in for a moment: the global game of football currently has its eyes on a team and a player – a teenager, no less – from our little, ‘mediocre’ league.
While the supporters of other codes make assertions that their game is about to ‘crack China’, then the world, and look to signs of small, amateur comps as sustained growth, football unites the world like no other game.
People marvelling at the skill of Australian players will no doubt serve as a boon for investors and players looking to access the Australian market.
We should be proud of this moment. We don’t need validation from the other codes and the A-League doesn’t need their ideas. This goal is but one example of the incredible talent that the domestic games displays on a regular basis.
The quality is there, the fans are passionate and engage like no other, and we are just beginning to tap the level of support the game here can bring.
Harnessing the global reach of the game is a start.