Merson Kean (@mersonk1)
‘Off The Pitch’ is back for 2016 and we’re proud to announce that Queensland’s premier football specialty store, Soccer World with stores at Stafford and Mt Gravatt, has partnered with QSN to bring you another side to football figures across the state.
We open up this year’s series with a player who’s racked up a number of achievements in his short footballing career and along with his brother Rhys, is beginning to make a mark at his new club for 2016. It’s Gold Coast City’s Morgan Saunders.
QSN: How were you introduced to the game and who was your main football influence?
MS: I was introduced to the game by my parents at the age of five when I played at local club Mudgeeraba. I think I was keen to play after I watched my brother (Rhys) playing the year before I started and I wanted to play on his team as well.
QSN: Tell us about your football playing history.
MS: I played with quite a few clubs through my junior career including Mudgeeraba for four or five years then Merrimac before a season at Musgrave.
In under twelves I moved to play in the Rebel Sport Junior Premier League with Gold Coast. I played there for five years straight with my last year being under sixteens for Gold Coast where I was top goal scorer and played in the attacking midfield.
At the age of sixteen I went to play first team football at Magic United FC where I played for three years. The club was promoted from the second division in my second year there and won the Gold Coast Premier League in my third year there which was last year. I have moved to Gold Coast City this year in the National Premier League and I’m looking forward to the competition.
QSN: What opportunities has football given you?
MS: Football has given me many opportunities with travelling over Australia. I represented Queensland at the Nationals in under thirteens in Canberra as well as under fifteens when I travelled to Sydney for a tri-series against New South Wales. I have also played against the Brisbane Roar and had a training session with Sydney FC when they were up on the Gold Coast so it was good to see the standard of football that is at the higher level.
QSN: How was your time at Magic FC?
MS: Magic FC was a great club for me as I learned at an early age what senior football was like and had to get use to a different style of football. All the boys there and coaches are great people and also had a winning mentality which was good for the team. It was a good experience winning the Gold Coast Premier League with them and I hope they have a good season this year as well.
QSN: How are you enjoying playing at Gold Coast City?
MS: I have enjoyed playing at the club so far. I think I’ve been training well and had one start to a match and scored two goals (against Peninsula Power at the Macron Cup). I enjoy playing against higher rated opposition and playing with a very talented squad and I’m hoping to show that I can not only fit in to this level of football but also be a key player in the years to come.
QSN: Now you have scored some crackers in your footballing career so far, what was your best goal and why?
MS: The best goal I can remember would probably be in under sixteens with Gold Coast. I remember my coach got me to talk my team through the goal at full time. I think it was against South West Queensland. I got played a ball down the sideline and I looked up and saw the keeper and I thought I could catch him out from the hard angle if I caught it right. So I went for it and it looped into the far corner.
QSN: How was the adjustment from Magic FC to Gold Coast City?
MS: I think it took me a few weeks to get my touches and movement right but the off season may have played a part in that as well with less touches of the ball. The teams have different playing styles and I have been playing in the midfield whereas at Magic FC I was on the wing but I think if I play my own style of football and get my fitness right, I can play well consistently at this level of football.
QSN: Who is the best player you have played with or against in your career?
MS: I did get the opportunity to play against the Brisbane Roar in a friendly match last year for the Gold Coast All-Stars and I got to see the standard and type of football they play. The best player that day was Jamie Maclaren. His finishing and movements were superb and he was always in the right positions when going forward. I think he will prove to be a very good goal scorer in the A-League.
QSN: Time for 5 rapid fire questions. Your favourite drink, music, food, football idol and which football club do you support?
MS: Strawberry Milkshake, Pop/RNB, Chicken Parmigiana, I’ll go Ronaldo but I rate Suarez in terms of finishing chances, Manchester United
QSN: If you weren’t a footballer, what other sport would you play?
MS: Probably tennis. I have played a bit of tennis and enjoy watching all the major slams. I think my height would help me with my serve as well.
QSN: Thanks for sharing your story with us Morgan and we wish you all the best for the season ahead.
You’ll have plenty of opportunites to see Morgan and his Gold Coast City side in action over the coming few days. They play in the BLK Silver Boot semis on Thursday night against the hosts Lions FC at 8:30pm as well as the Macron Cup Final at Peninsula Power on Saturday night at 6pm.
Depending on the result from the Silver Boot, they will either play in the final at 7pm or the 3rd v 4th playoff at 5pm on Sunday.
Morgan Saunders – Statistics
Nationality – Australian
Age – 19
Height – 6 ft 4
Preferred Positions – Attacking midfield or anywhere in the front three
Career Highlights –
- Winning Kanga Cup in Canberra in under 11s
- Winning Gold Coast Champions Cup
- Playing for Queensland at Nationals and in Sydney against NSW
- Winning Gold Coast Premier League with Magic FC
- Team of the season in the Gold Coast Premier League
- Top Scorer in Rebel Sport Junior Premier League