“Off the Pitch” is back for 2015, where we profile Queensland footballing identities but forgive us if we’re a little self-indulgent with our first effort for this year. As part of the Brisbane Strikers ‘Sponsor a Player’ program, Queensland Soccer News is delighted to announce that we are sponsoring a player who has changed clubs in the off-season but can’t quite get away from the colour yellow. He was a vital cog in Wolves success in the Brisbane competition over recent years, it’s Trent Clulow.
QSN: How were you introduced to the game?
TC: I started playing in Gatton when I was about five. I used to tag along to games with my school friends.
QSN: Tell us about your football playing history.
TC: I played Rooball in the early days with the Gatton Redbacks. When I hit under 12’s, I changed clubs to Willowburn in Toowoomba who are one of the biggest clubs in the area.
I didn’t really have any aspirations at a young age, I was playing more for fun and for the social aspect. Then I started watching the game on TV and it was around that time, under 14’s and 15’s, that I started making representative squads like South-West Queensland that I got hooked on the game.
I then made the Queensland Schoolboys side in Year 12 and when I was 16, I linked up with Toowoomba Raiders who were playing in the Brisbane Premier League.
Sam Saif then came to Raiders and he moved to Wolves FC in 2008, inviting myself and Nathan Reardon to go with him. I thought it was a great opportunity and another challenge for myself.
QSN: Who have been the influences on your football?
TC: I don’t have any one influence, I tend to admire players who have flair and creativity. I follow Liverpool and Steven Gerard is a player I admire a lot but mainly, it’s family and friends from the area I grew up in.
QSN: What opportunities has football given you?
TC: I’ve had some really good opportunities with trials in Australia and overseas.
When I was at Wolves, we had some American players come over and that link gave myself and Kado Aoci (former Wolves teammate) a couple of weeks trialling in Chicago. An agent then connected me to clubs in Sweden and Norway. I then went over to trial in Sweden and Norway with three different clubs however I missed the Norweigan transfer window on my first trial.
I was then offered a contract at a Division Two Swedish club but it wasn’t financially viable for me to accept at the time with my family circumstances here at home, so I made the decision to come back at rejoin Wolves.
In 2012, I was also invited with another Wolves player to train with Western Sydney Wanderers in their first year in the A-League. They played a friendly against Wolves and I trained with them for eight days and then played for them in the match. It was in the early stages of their formation, they only had twelve contracted players but it was great to be involved in a full-time environment, training at that standard each day and I definitely saw improvements in myself as a result of that experience.
I’d really love a professional opportunity but I’m at that stage of life where I have a lot of family commitments so it’s a balance I would need to find. We’re currently established in Brisbane and a lengthy trial of six to eight weeks away from my family and work would be difficult. I did have the opportunity to go back to Sweden at the start of the year so the opportunities are still there but as I said, I’m at an age where it needs to be the right opportunity.
QSN: Wolves were a very successful club but there was turmoil at the end of 2014 that resulted in most of the players leaving and going their own way. How did you end up at the Strikers?
TC: I’d been with Sam (Saif) for ten years and in the Brisbane Premier League for even more so I was looking for a different challenge.
The Strikers have an excellent reputation and they had good results in the FFA Cup last year. As soon as Kevin (A’Herne-Evans) knew he was going to be coach he got in contact with me. The discussions progressed, the concept of the NPL appealed to me and that’s how I came to make my decision.
QSN: You mentioned earlier that the Strikers had a reasonably successful FFA Cup campaign last year, how important is that competition to you from a player’s point of view?
TC: I believe the level between the non-professional leagues and the A-League is quite distant at the moment so the FFA Cup allows players like myself the chance to test ourselves against the best. Added to the ‘something different’ is the travel aspect, the chance to play in front of big crowds and against A-League clubs. It’s an awesome concept and competition.
If you do well, there’s also scope to be seen throughout all of Australia, providing a stronger platform to be noticed by A-League clubs. As the years go on I think competitions like this should make the gap to gain a professional contract smaller.
QSN: Are there any differences in how you’re being deployed in the Strikers set-up as opposed to Wolves?
TC: The shape of the Strikers is different to Wolves. At the Strikers, my role is either playing out on the right or as an attacking midfielder behind the striker, depending on the tactics employed against different teams.
At Wolves, I had more of a floating role. From a tactical perspective, the Strikers are more of a persistent passing team, very technical and focused on movement.
QSN: Time for five rapid-fire questions. Your favourite drink, music, food, football idol and which football club do you support?
TC: Drink – Asahi Beer, Music – I have quite a diverse music interest but mainly Rock, Food – Indian Curry, Football Idol – Steven Gerrard, Football Club – Liverpool FC
QSN: If you weren’t a footballer, what other sport would you play?
TC: Maybe a cricketer, definitely an all-rounder although I haven’t played for a long time. Athletics maybe too. Middle distance, either 400 or 800 metres.
QSN: Well thank you Trent for talking with Queensland Soccer News. We wish you every success for the season ahead.
The Brisbane Strikers make the short trip to Brisbane City on Friday night in round two of the PS4 NPL Queensland at Corporate Travel Management Stadium (the artist formerly known as Spencer Park) with kickoff at 8pm.
If you get there early, there’s a curtain raiser where legends from both clubs will take part in an ‘Old Boys’ match. Both sides were clubs that played in the National Soccer League, the pre-cursor to the A-League.
Playing number: 18
Club Name: Brisbane Strikers
Field Position: Winger
Home Town: Gatton
Weight: 72 kg
Height: 180 cm