Monday, October 13, 2008
Scooter on track with Reds
After getting his first Socceroo call up and playing in the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League, Scott Jamieson will never forget his eventful, final days as a teenager.
The Adelaide United utility player who celebrates his 20th birthday on October 13th has made a dream return to Australia after three seasons with Bolton Wanderers in England. Since his A-League debut in August, Jamieson has quickly become an important member of an Adelaide side that has surprised Asia with its unexpected success in the region's premier club competition.
With Jamieson at left back, the Reds knocked out Japanese champions Kashima Antlers in the quarter-finals before stunning Uzbekistan's FC Bunyodkor - featuring former FIFA Player of the Year Rivaldo and coached by fellow Brazilian, Zico - with a 3-0 first leg victory at Hindmarsh Stadium.
But ahead of November's final, Jamieson could be walking a disciplinary tight-rope during the October 22nd second-leg in Tashkent after picking up a yellow card midway through the second half at home.
Adelaide's ground-breaking Champions League run - becoming the first Aussie side to reach the knockout stages - saw four uncapped players, including Jamieson, named in Pim Verbeek's Socceroo squad for the World Cup qualifier against Qatar on October 15th.
Clearly, the youngster's decision to come home rather than pursue further opportunities in Europe after being released by Bolton is paying off.
"Being considered for the Socceroos wasn't something I thought about when I returned to Australia so to get called up was a big surprise but a really special moment for me and my family," he told ESPNsoccernet.
Jamieson's stand-out performances for the Joeys - Australia's under-17 team - caught the eye of Bolton and he joined the Premier League club after the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships.
Although he never played for Bolton in the Premiership, he did make four first team appearances in Wanderers' pre-season campaigns and was part of the reserve team side that was crowned Premier League Reserve North Champions in the 2006/07 season: a decent achievement, considering the depth of talent in the north of England.
Jamieson was linked to a move to Dundee United in June before agreeing to a two-year deal with ambitious Adelaide.
"He's quick, aggressive, has a great attitude and definitely knows how to play," said Reds' coach, Aurelio Vidmar. "And for 19 years of age, Scott has played a lot of games."
Jamieson, a Manchester United supporter and a self-confessed fan of David Beckham, is known as Jambo or Scooter in the Reds' dressing room and shares a house with team-mate and fellow Socceroo squad member Robbie Cornthwaite.
Although he prefers to play in the midfield, Jamieson has slotted seamlessly in Adelaide's stubborn defence.
And his versatility hasn't gone unnoticed by Australia boss Verbeek, who sees the Sydney-born product as possible cover for Basel FC veteran, Scott Chipperfield. Jamieson would also be heartened by the knowledge that talisman Harry Kewell made his international debut as a left back in 1997.
Although Jamieson is unlikely to get any game time in the World Cup campaign, he could be thrown into the deep end when Australia's qualification path for the 2009 AFC Asian Cup begins early next year when many of the Socceroos' stars will be unavailable. He's certainly proven that he can perform against Asia's best at club level.
In the meantime, the former schoolboy team-mate of ex-Reds favourite Nathan Burns - now plying his trade with AEK Athens in the Greek league - will keep himself busy with Adelaide's bold foray into Asia and its A-League campaign.
Q: Scott, how would you sum up your experience so far since joining Adelaide United in the A-League?
A: So far I have enjoyed every minute of it. The standard of the A-League is very good and playing for a special team like Adelaide has made it the more enjoyable. We have a very good team here so hopefully we can have some silverware to show at the end of the season.
Q: What did you learn from your time with Bolton?
A: I had a great three years at Bolton. Being at a Premier League club with top players improved my game but also improved me as a person. Spending time with the players at Bolton made me realise what it takes to be a Premier league player and also the rewards you get. I'm grateful they gave me the chance.
Q: What were your best memories of playing with Bolton and how close were you to cracking a first-team spot?
A: My best memories at Bolton were probably the ones where I trained and played with first team. The ones that really stick out for me are when I was put on the bench for the first time against Charlton. That was pretty special but also special was being in the squad to face Chelsea and Liverpool. Under Sam Allardyce and Sammy Lee was the time when I was close to breaking into the first team. I was training everyday with them and playing well in the reserves but unfortunately it didn't work out.
Q: How do you think playing in the Asian Champions League (ACL) has helped improve you as a player?
A: Playing in the ACL has helped me a lot as a player. Playing against players from different countries helps you learn about the different styles and techniques used which I try to put into my game.
Q: You've played in both defence and midfield for the Reds. In your view, in what role are you most effective?
A: Personally I would say my best position is in the midfield but I'm really enjoying playing at left back. It's a position that I have played for about 3-4 years now and I'm used to it but as long as I'm playing I don't mind what position.
Q: What did it mean to you to be called into the Socceroo squad?
A: It meant a lot. Being considered for a Socceroos team wasn't something I thought about when I returned to Australia so to get called up was a big surprise but a really special moment for me and my family.
Q: What are your greatest ambitions in football for club and country?
A: I would say to play in the Premier League is still one of my big ambitions and also to play for the Socceroos at a World Cup is something that would please me a lot.
• Jason Dasey www.jasondasey.com is an anchor for Soccernet SportsCenter and two editions of SportsCenter. He covered the 2006 World Cup and 2007 Asian Cup for ESPN.