Thanks to Soccer World, with stores in Brisbane’s north at Stafford and south at Mt Gravatt, we catch up with a player who’s had an interesting and varied footballing career, including time spent in overseas leagues. Learn more about Albany Creek’s Sasa Radulovic.
QSN: How were you introduced to the game and your first junior club?
SR: We played football on playgrounds every day. Once I was old enough to join the club at seven years of age, I went to trials. My first club was Čelik Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
QSN: Tell us about your football playing history.
SR: My football history goes from Bosnia until I was 15 years. For next the next five years it continued in Germany at amateur levels. I then Moved to Brisbane and played XXXX League (the Premier League in Brisbane at that time) for a year.
After that, I spent two years in the old NSL with the Brisbane Strikers and Marconi in Sydney. In 2002, I moved back to Germany and played at professional level for a few years. In that period had a one year loan to Norway and one year in Hungary.
After 2008, I started playing in the Brisbane Premier League with Wolves FC and now I’m at Albany Creek.
QSN: Wow, that’s quite a resume so football must have given you plenty of opportunities.
SR: Yes it has. I’ve met some great people and made lots of friendship with sports people around the world.
QSN: What are your greatest individual and team moments in football?
SR: My greatest moment was to play against Brazil in a friendly game in 2000 for their preparation for the Olympic Games. Some big superstars were in their team.
Team moments were winning titles with Wolves. The time there was fantastic. Those players are still like my brothers. I never experienced something like that in my whole career.
QSN: You were a stalwart with a very successful Wolves FC side in the BPL for many years and made a move to Albany Creek Excellsior (ACE) last year? What were your motivations behind the move to ACE?
SR: I knew some people at ACE. Les Moodley was at Lions when I first came to Australia. Les and some other people at Lions helped me a lot at that time. Knowing he was there made my decision easy. I knew coach Pouria Nabi from Wolves time and I liked his philosophy. He is very passionate and hungry for success. I also knew about Adam Piddick at the NPL’s Moreton Bay. For me, it was a challenge to join such a big club where I was full of respect as to how the club survived. Something I was very keen to continue and help the club reach next level. (Sasa is also now the Technical Director for junior development at Brisbane Knights)
QSN: What are your personal goals for the 2016?
SR: To reach the top 4 with ACE and get more players/teams at Brisbane Knights FC in order for the club to develop a junior base.
QSN: What are your longer terms aspirations? How do you see your involvement in football in the future? Coaching or another role?
SR: I can’t imagine my life without football. Any role in football for me is ok: player, spectator, scout, coaching kids or assistant coach. I still want to play in BPL for another two seasons. The most interest is to help young players pursue their dreams of becoming professional players.
QSN: You are a very experienced footballer, what is your assessment of the quality of the young footballers coming through in Queensland?
SR: I am going to be honest with this answer. There are some good players but it depends for which league we are talking about. For BPL and NPL we have here lots of good players. For A-League or European Leagues, the number of players is not big unfortunately. It is for many reasons but I want to mention that young players should invest more time in their football. Training two to three times a week will make them good BPL/NPL players. For some, it is not going to be enough for professional level even though there is a lot of potential out there. My advise to younger players to do more/extra individual skill training, even at younger ages like eight, nine or ten.
QSN: Who is the best player you have played with or against in your career?
SR: There are lots of players I have had the opportunity to play with and against. Just to mention some. I played with: Zoran Mamić from Croatia and Vladimir Jugović from Serbia. Both were top class players. In Australia: Archie Thompson, Angelo Costenzo, Buddy Farah, Vlado Zorić and Mark Babić.
The best player I played against in Australia would be Craig Moore. The other one was Ronaldhino in 2000 friendly match in Sydney.
QSN: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
SR: My own individual warm up includes lots of stretching. It’s an absolute must-do thing for me.
Time for 5 rapid fire questions! Your favourite drink. I don’t have any specific- water, music listening to variety of music even in different languages, food love food as long as it’s not spicy – Italian-Greek-Mexican-Japanese, football idol Zlatan Ibrahimovic and which football club do you support Barcelona
QSN: Who was you most influential coach or main football influence and why?
SR: My dad was a most influential person. 90% of all subjects at home was football.
My most influential coach was Sam Saif. I never had an opportunity to speak about why and I know many people will think I am saying that because I am good friend with Sam.
When I came back to Brisbane it was for a family reason. My son was born with autism and I decided to quit football as it was hard to deal with the situation and to live in Europe away from family.
Dragan Vilic (currently junior Technical Director at Capalaba) got me involved with coaching at Wolves once a week. Sam was a senior coach there. He then made me return to football after a year and brought back all the joy I always had. I didn’t care what league it was. I enjoyed football again, losing and winning.
One sentence Sam used to say which I never believed was that I will play football for a few years before I retire. That was 2009. I am still playing and I am now involved in football like never before in many different roles. Football became my best friend again thanks to Sam and his positive mind set and his lovely family. Also his team, the players and many other people at Wolves made it very easy for me. All I can say is thank you. It’s a great learning curve and a lesson for life.
A good coach can have the best sessions, the best tactics, the best knowledge but man management is the most important thing. Making a player able to give their best. The confidence, believe and winning mentality. Luckily we have (currently) the best example: Ranieri with Leicester City!
QSN: What do you do with yourself away from the football pitch?
SR: I follow football in many other countries. I follow players, coaches, watch lots of games and looking to learn when ever there is an opportunity (coaching, scouting, management etc).
QSN: Do you have a passion away from football?
SR: Charity – to help people in need. I have some plans and looking to spend more time on that. Recently we from ACE (coach Pouria Nabi, reserve coach Greg Bradley, our captain Cameron Millar and myself) visited Nursery Road Special School. We had an opportunity to meet kids and school staff. We made a financial donation to the school and gave some soccer balls. It was a great experience. Our club president Tony Dooley supported us with this initiative.
QSN: If you weren’t a footballer, what other sport would you play?
SR: I loved basketball and handball.
Thanks Sasa for taking time out to talk to us. It’s clearly evident that you are very passionate about the game and junior development.
Sasa’s Albany Creek side currently in ninth on the Brisbane Premier League table but it’s so congested at the moment that teams rise and fall rapidly every week so Saturday night’s trip to Albany Creek will be crucial to ensure that Sasa’s goal of making the top four can remain a reality. Kickoff is at 6pm at Cornubia Park.
Name: Saša Radulović
Nationality : Australian
Age : 37
Height : 178cm
Preferred Position: attacking midfield