The Western Sydney Wanderers continue to impress both fans and onlookers as they continue their rise up the A-League ladder. If they win this Saturday, against second-last Perth Glory, the Wanderers will rise to the top of the ladder for the first time in their short history, a truly astounding achievement.
Many might point to big names, such as Shinji Ono, or masterful tactician, Tony Popovic, to attribute their success to – perhaps even their incredible supporter-base who have accumulated such passion in such a short amount of time; but a simple examination of the club will reveal the true potion behind their accomplishments, a club culture that breeds both success and healthy longevity.
The impact of this culture, which reverberates throughout their success on the field and in the terraces, is exemplified in none other than Jerrad Tyson. Despite being the second choice goalkeeper (behind veteran Ante Covic), a position often heralded as the most psychologically difficult in football, Tyson has made himself a fan favourite among Wanderer’s supporters.
From day one fans have noticed the cheery and equally determined nature of the young goalkeeper – who, unlike many in this sport, seems happy enough just to be part of a football team; though always ready to claim his position in the first team when the opportunity arises.
On Twitter, he has become quite the personality – engaging his followers in charity FIFA matches with room-mate Tahj Minniecon and providing his positive opinion on all things Wanderers.
Despite having yet to make a first team appearance for the Western Sydney side, Tyson has shown himself to be a perfect role model for upcoming sports men (across all codes) and he was kind enough to answer some questions for me!
You started your journey in the A-League with Gold Coast United and even had a short stint at the North Queensland Fury; both clubs were created as expansion teams, but have since failed to maintain their spot in the league. Were you, therefore, at all worried about joining the Wanderers – another expansion club?
I admit that when the opportunity to trial presented itself I realized my two past clubs were defunct expansion teams. A thought crossed my mind that perhaps I was a bad luck charm, but that quickly flew out the window when I joined the Wanderers. My first week at the club was beyond anything I’ve experienced before, at any level of the game, including other so called “professional” teams, national teams and the AIS. It was an environment and a standard in which no excuses could be made and nothing but success could be achieved and that has proven to be the case so far this season.
I have so much pride in this club and so much appreciation to Popa [Tony Popovic] for giving me the opportunity to contribute everything I can to this team and community and I’m confident that success will never be found far from the Wanderers tree.
If your Wikipedia page is anything to go by, you were born in Hobart? Do you know anything about the football scene in Tasmania and any potential for an A-League side sometime in the future?
Wikipedia is correct. I was born in Hobart and played my first ever game with Cambridge United U7s.
I believe that further expansion of the A-League is not in the immediate plans of the FFA but am aware of a bid being formed by a ‘Tasmania United’ group for when the time is right. Obviously there are many things to be ironed out first, but relationships with professional sporting clubs such as Melbourne Victory and even Hawthorn in the AFL are great steps to increase public thirst for their own team in one of our big national leagues. Hopefully they can continue their good work and not only be a future A-League side, but a successful one.
Mr. Popovic has been a brilliant coach for the Wanderers in their debut season, but he seems like quite a serious man! Without getting yourself in trouble, what’s he like around the boys and does he appreciate a bit of fun?
As fans and spectators you only get to see us on game day when there is nothing in our minds except desire to execute the game plan and win. Often that makes us look quite one dimensional emotionally, but I can assure you that we all have soft spots too.
Our success has come from knowing when to be serious and when to be laid back. The boss is the same. As players we know exactly what he expects of us in every situation of every second of the day so it’s easy to have a laugh and a joke with him or just talk to him normally about things away from football. It’s just about knowing when it’s the time for being casual and when it’s the time to grit your teeth and get a job done.
The tough question: you’re infamous room-mate, Tahj Minniecon – what are his worst habits around the household? Is he jealous of your incredible FIFA and Monopoly skills?
My monopoly skills would terrify anyone. I can make a property earn me money without even owning it, but in terms of FIFA, Tahj can certainly hold his own as long as Ibrahimovic has his shooting boots on.
In terms of worst habit, I don’t really know. He’s a great housemate but dishes have never been his strong point. I’d say it would be leaving his plates wherever he eats.
The RBB: what is your take on the Wanderer’s active support so far this season? What can they improve on, and what would you like to see them incorporate in the future?
The Red and Black Bloc have taken active support to a new level. I’ve said it a number of times but without question the RBB have been directly responsible for a number of vital points claimed in our rise up the ladder. Whether it was inspiring us to go harder in the last 5 mins against Roar and get the winner, or dominate Melbourne Heart with 10 men for almost the whole game and win. They inspire us to do the things that no other club is doing.
Their desire to energize us and the fans from warm up to past the final whistle regardless of the weather or result has never been seen at any club in any code before. And are rightly the poster men and women of support in this country.
I know for a fact they are as ambitious as the players on the field so I look forward to seeing them grow and develop even further as the years go by.
Aaron Mooy has the Dutch words for “live, laugh and love” on one of his tattoos. Do you have a motto by which you live life and approach your football?
I didn’t actually know that. I’ll have to check him out a bit more next time we’re in the change rooms. Haha *insert winky face*
But that is exactly how I approach my life. I like to see the good in things, be positive and make the most of any situation whether it’s in rain, hail or shine. I find that when I’m happy off the field that I’m at my best on it so having genuine laughter and love in my life are non-negotiable.
In saying that, there will always be things that get you down, but I make a point in both life and football to never act without a clear mind and a deep breath. Often, focusing on the obvious in tough situations makes a positive outcome or the appropriate course of action to easily and calmly deal with the issue seem more absent then it is.
Finally, the Wanderers have surprised just about everyone with their incredible success this season; are the boys dreaming big about a potential championship and what were expectations at the start of the season like comparatively?
From day one all the players understood that we were embarking on something truly special and the honour that we all felt in being a part of it helped us to grow together very quickly. We worked as hard as we possibly could both physically, mentally and tactically under the boss’s guidance and all bought in to what he was building.
Obviously we knew it would be tough, and early on and when results weren’t going our way we knew if we kept playing hard for the club and the community that the points would eventually come.
Now we’ve got ourselves into a good position but it’s come because we never look beyond the next game. The media and the fans are becoming excited and that’s great because they deserve to share the success they’ve helped us achieve but we will be going game by game with our feet on the floor until the season is finished and then we’ll look to the trophy cabinet and see if we had a good season or not.
Thank you so much for your time – you’ve been an amazing and much loved member of the Wanderers family and I hope to see you between the posts in Wanderland sometime soon! Good luck to all the boys.
Truly a role-model for anyone interested in football, sport or just living life – I’m sure Jerrad Tyson will want to see all of you down at Parramatta Stadium for Saturday’s match against Perth. The Wanderers might just claim first place and create history.
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