As Glory ramp up their preparations for Saturday’s trip to Adelaide, we caught up with a man who made a combined total of 185 Hyundai A-League appearances for ourselves and the Reds, finding the net 39 times along the way.
He also scored and provided a sublime assist on debut for the Socceroos, but doesn’t like to mention that more than once a day.
The man in question is, of course, the one and only Travis Dodd.
Now based back in his home city of Adelaide and currently pondering whether to continue his coaching career with prominent NPLSA side MetroStars, the 38-year-old was in fine form (with tongue firmly in cheek) when we caught up with him.
Perth Glory Online: Thanks for your time, Trav.
Your name invariably comes up when Glory face Adelaide given your history with both clubs; what have you made of Marco Kurz’s side so far this season?
Travis Dodd: They recruited well this year which is not something you could say for the past couple of seasons.
The foreigners, Daniel Adlung and Johan Absalonsen, when he’s been available, have come in and done well. Ersan Gulum has been solid in the defence as well and all they’ve really been lacking is a goalscorer who can bang 15 or so in a season. They were hoping that it was going to be Baba Diawara, but he’s broken down.
Overall, given the players they’ve got, the injuries they’ve had and the fact that theirs is a relatively young squad, I think they’ve done really well.
A few weeks ago they gave three players their A-League debuts against Sydney FC and came out of that game with a point, which was a pretty good effort.
The work that Kurz putting in is paying off and they are obviously motivated to play for him.
PGO: Ryan Kitto is a player who has been touted as a future Socceroo. What do you make of him?
TD: I think he just needs to play more games and get more experience.
When he was at Newcastle he had a very good season, got regular football and started to make a name for himself.
Since he’s been back in Adelaide, at the beginning anyway, his opportunities have been a bit more limited. But with the injuries they’ve had, he’s had the chance to get a lot more game time and has been playing some good football.
It’ll be interesting to see when they get a full squad whether Kurz has enough faith in Kitto to start him.
PGO: Nikola Mileusnic is another young Aussie who has been receiving plenty of plaudits.
How do you assess his performances this season?
TD: He’s been playing pretty well. Where I feel he lets himself down a bit, though, is in front of goal. He does a lot of great work to get into the right positions, but his final touch in front of goal has probably just been lacking a little bit.
He could easily have scored another five or six goals this year on top of the two that he has got.
PGO: Given your status over there in Adelaide’s footballing circles, have these rising midfield stars reached out to you for guidance?
TD: Amazingly, no.
Even though I’m a book waiting to be opened in terms of tips and knowledge borne out of having played at the very highest level, I haven’t been contacted by them as yet.
There’s no doubt that I could help propel them to the next level and once they realise that, I’m sure they’ll seek me out.
Staying on the subject of imparting football knowledge, how is your own coaching journey going?
TD: Good, thanks.
I was working as assistant coach at MetroStars last season and I might do the same again this year if I can find the time.
It’s quite tough juggling the other commitments that I have with work and my kids’ sport training and so on.
I’m also pretty disillusioned with the game right now having been overlooked for the Socceroos job.
PGO: That must have been a big blow. I think it’s fair to say we were all expecting you to be in the frame.
TD: The bottom line is that I’d clearly earned my stripes working as an assistant in the NPL.
I also know exactly what it takes to upset global powerhouse teams having put Kuwait to the sword pretty much single-handed back in 2006 and in fairness, David Gallop did offer me the job.
PGO: So why didn’t you take it?
TD: I don’t really want to go into details, but there was one main stumbling block.
For some reason, David seemed to think that relocating the entire FFA organisation to Adelaide and playing all future home internationals at Coopers Stadium was, and I quote, “an unreasonable and unrealistic demand”.
So talks broke down, but I’m sure if things don’t work out with Bert, they’ll be back.
PGO: And finally, Trav, can we get your best Glory and Adelaide memories?
TD: That’s a tough one because I loved my time at both clubs.
There was reaching several Grand Finals, obviously, the goals, the assists and the relationship with the two sets of fans.
But I think more than anything, the chance to destroy Scott Jamieson on the banter front at both clubs probably gave me the most pleasure.