When Perth born, attacking midfielder Richard Garcia steps out onto nib Stadium for the first home game of the Hyundai A-League season in less than 40 days, he will have fulfilled a lifelong dream.
The 33-year old has carved a living out of football for almost two decades but 2014-15 will be his first time in Perth Glory FC colours.
Garcia is no stranger to the Hyundai A-League. Last season he played alongside Alessandro Del Piero at Sydney FC and in the year before that he was voted as Melbourne Heart's (now City) best player.
Garcia comes from a talented football family. His older brother Michael played for Perth Glory FC and continues to serve the club in its Community Department. Michael was also appointed senior coach at WA-NPL outfit Inglewood United last month.
Even after playing in the English Premier League for West Ham United and Hull City, Garcia says wearing the purple strip has been his calling for many years.
“Since Perth Glory FC have come on the scene I‘ve always wanted to play for them, I’ve made that well known, so for me to come home and have this opportunity I’m really excited and looking forward to having a great season” he said.
“It’s been about 17 years now since I’ve been able to come home so it means an awful lot to me to play for my home town club”.
The former Socceroo says while the line-up has changed much in the off season he feels the squad is bonding well.
“The club has welcomed everyone really well, the boys have gelled on and off the park very well and we’re all excited about the season ahead”.
Garcia travelled to Adelaide and Melbourne last week to take part in the pre-season friendlies against United and Victory. He says the games, which resulted in a 1-1 draw and a 3-0 loss were a good hit out for the boys.“I think we played pretty well in patches but obviously we’re still learning how to play as a team”.
Perth Glory FC take on Victorian NPL outfit St Alban Saints in the round of 16 of the Westfield FFA Cup on September 23.
However the Saints appear to be in turmoil, their coach Toby Paterson and his son Brodie have been sacked after an onfield incident during a match with Richmond earlier this week.
Captain Ryan McGuffie is expected to take over the coaching reigns.
The match kicks off 7.30 pm (EST) at Knights Stadium in Melbourne.