Harry Kewell's decision to put family first and stay in England to support his wife, Sheree, through her mother's illness is to be applauded.
There comes a time in every footballer's life when the personal takes over from the professional. While it is relatively simple to make self-centred decisions when young, footloose and fancy free, that becomes less so as players mature into their late 20s and older. Often, clubs, media and fans forget that footballers have partners - many of whom have their own careers also - and children who are at school and with friendships that are hard to leave.
Having said that, Harry will be a big loss to the A-League. While Ange can re-shape his Melbourne Victory squad without Harry, a fit, focused and in-form Harry Kewell - as he was in the second half of last season - is a huge asset to any coach. Harry is also a media magnet and that will be missed. The only story in last year's close season was Harry, and he continued to generate welcome publicity for football away from sports pages throughout the season. The dearth of publicity in this close season is noticeable, and FFA seems incapable of filling the void.
My thoughts are with Harry, Sheree and their extended family.
On another note, it was good to see that Young Socceroos coach, Paul Okon, is taking his charges to an Under 22 tournament in Indonesia from 5-15 July. This is great match experience for the Under 19s as part of their preparation for the qualifiers in November for the 2013 World Youth Cup. It's a good young squad with the likes of Terry Antonis, Yianni Perkatis, Mitch Cooper, Corey Brown (who is the son of my old teammate, Rod Brown) and others.
It is good to see FFA supporting participation in this tournament. I hope the boys go well and wish Paolo all the best on his tournament coaching debut. Paul Okon is one of the finest players Australia has produced, and if he can do the business as a coach half as well as his playing potential, our young guys are in good hands.
Until next time!
Note from Frank
It's a game of opinions and I've always thought everyone's entitled to theirs.