Shannon Cole: The TeleChoice Premier League’s’ Dead-ball specialist


The 23-year-old is developing a reputation as a free kick expert following some of his `bombs’ in the Johnny Warren Cup and the opening rounds of the Telechoice Premier League but laughed when quizzed on his thoughts on his dead ball prowess up against his idol. 
“I have heard a few things about me being like Beckham but I don’t pay attention to that sort of stuff,” he said.
“I have always worked hard on my free kicks and its great to see some of my shots hitting the back of the net but that isn’t all I am about.
“I am fortunate to be playing in a very good Sydney Olympic team and I am looking forward to challenging for the title this year.”
Cole met Beckham in Manchester five years ago after winning a penalty shoot out promotion through Pepsi and FM Sydney Radio station Nova 969.
Along with his father Gordon he flew from Sydney and met the LA Galaxy star at Manchester United’s Carrington training grounds.
“It was a great trip, my Dad and I got to stay in five star hotels and to then meet Becks was just unbelievable,” he said.
“He gave me a few pointers when striking the ball and I have incorporated those tips.
“The funny thing is despite all the fanfare in his life he was just a normal guy, very humble.”
Cole made his foray overseas in 2004 in his quest to become a professional footballer and linked up with American junior college Schoolcraft in Detroit, Michigan.
“Going to America was great for my career, I used to go to school in the morning and then train every night or have a game.
“It snowed all the time so we spent a fair bit of time indoors and in that time I got to work on my touch.?
Cole’s goal poaching ability soon caught the attention of NCAA powerhouse Clemson University in South Carolina, but he encountered VISA problems soon after his arrival and was forced to return home.
He then crossed the Tasman in 2005 and signed on to play for New Zealand Premier League team Waitakere United alongside former NSL stalwart Pablo Cardozo.
“That was another great learning curve, I started off over there pretty well and was getting some good coverage after knocking in a few goals but I then snapped my hamstring and was out for ten weeks.
“I decided to come home and got picked up by Melita and really enjoyed my time under Raul Blanco.
“Unfortunately they got relegated and from there I came across to Sydney Olympic and it has been the best move I could have made.”
Cole believes a lack of experience was the catalyst behind the former NSL giant?s poor Premier League campaign last year.
“We had a number of young boys and after we thumped APIA 4-1 in the opening game I think we had our heads in the clouds and struggled with the week to week intensity of the competition and after a few losses our confidence dropped,? he said.
“This year we have a new team and competition for spots is fierce and that is what you want, it keeps you on your toes.”
The Concord West resident harbours desires to play in the A-League and is doing everything in his power to achieve his dream.
“I don’t go out much and never drink, I prefer to just chill at home and relax with my mates.
“My whole life I have wanted to make a career out of football so I don’t want to have any excuses when I look back.
“I feel my game has come along in leaps and bounds in my time at Olympic and fingers crossed I can keep improving and then who knows what can happen.”
-By Andrew Hurrell