The best of the rest is a squad comprising 18 Australian A-League players that played in the A-League in season 2020/21.
It is great to see these sort of stories like Thomas Deng, who started out at a state league club and then ended up as the Olyroos’ captain.
His story is just a great endorsement of Australian football, the upcoming national second division and football as a global language.
In a Herald-Sun article from 2018, Deng discussed how important his junior club was to his development as a footballer.
“Melbourne Victory young gun Thomas Deng credits his formative years with Western Eagles Polonia for launching his career and is always keen to give back to his junior club.
“But his first-team exposure stretches back almost five years, when he was plucked from the reserves as a 16-year-old at Western Eagles Polonia.
“It may have been a few divisions below the halcyon days of the state league powerhouse of the 1950s and ‘60s, but the fourth division exposure was crucial for Deng – then a defensive midfielder.”
Polonia have a long list of achievements.
They won the Victorian State League in 1960, 1961 and 1987 and were runners-up in 1955, 1963, 1968 and 1984.
They were Victorian State League Division 1 champions in 1981 and runners-up in 1979.
The club was Victorian State League Division 2 runners-up in 1953 and Victorian State League Division 3 champions in 1952.
Plus, they were Victorian State League Division 4 champions in 1951 and 2018, Victorian Provisional League 2 (North-West) champions in 2003 and 2010, Victorian Provisional League 3 (North-West) runners-up in 2000.
Before the Tokyo Olympics, Deng said that captaining the Olyroos was a dream come true.
“In these tournaments you want to play the best and I think we have a fantastic group of boys and a good team and I think we can go all the way,” he said.
Hopefully the Olyroos get through in the last game of the group stages at the Olympics.
Come on Thomas Deng and the Olyroos!