Beyond the ever-enhancing A-League, with its small sprinkling of former Premier League players, lies the semi-expert Australian pyramid affected by players who have left the likes of Curzon Ashton and Lancaster City to play soccer down beneath.
“It’s notable when you wake up in the mornings and feature the clear blue skies in the summer season with the beaches not too far away,” says Ashley Dunn, a midfielder who is gambling in his fourth season in Australian soccer.
Sounds attractive, but how does it paintings? And is the entice of heat climate and BBQs at the seashore well worth the selection to stay and play more than nine 000 miles far from own family and buddies?
Non-league football in England ‘changed into honestly draining.’
Having previously performed for Bamber Bridge, Kendal, and Skelmersdale, Dunn made the circulate to Wodonga, Victoria, to play for the newly-shaped club Murray United in April 2015.
The 30-year-vintage, who works within the media enterprise simply as he did in England, finds it tons easier combining work, football, and own family life.
This is crucial for the footballer, who met his Australian partner Tegan six months into his spell in Victoria, with daughter Milla Rose arriving around 18 months later.
“We play 28 league video games a season over here and 4 or five inside the cup,” he says. “In England, I performed 50 or 60 games a season in all competitions, inclusive of masses of Tuesday nights.
“I became getting up for work at 6am and coming back from some midweek away video games after midnight – it was definitely draining.”
Dunn, who trains with his team twice every week just as he did return domestic, especially played in the Northern Premier League while in England (tier seven to eight). He thinks the department he performs in with Murray United – National Premier League Victoria 2 (tier 3) – is of a similar fashion, if not barely better.
“The essential distinction is the physicality for me,” says Dunn. “It’s now not quite as physical over here in comparison to non-league football in England. There are a few proper gamers and teams that play the right way.
“My game has improved over right here, and I sense it has long gone to an exceptional degree.”
‘The awful gamers are certainly awful.’
Another non-league footballer who had a spell down under becoming former Salford City man Gary Stopforth.
In January 2017, he left his existence in Lancashire for a new journey in Queensland.
The lively midfielder, who become playing for Stockport County inside the National League North previous to his departure, had some options at one-of-a-kind stages – he selected Brisbane Premier League group Michelson, who plays within the fifth tier of the Australian pyramid. It was a selection he regrets.
“I went to Brisbane as it’s sunny all 12 months round,” says Stopforth, who appeared at the BBC One documentary, Class of ‘ninety-two: Out of Their League.
“The widespread of football wasn’t the first-class, it becomes much like North West Counties in England, and it was given a bit irritating.
“Don’t get me incorrect; there had been a few precise gamers obtainable. However, the terrible ones were truly bad. The employer and the way matters had been completed at education wasn’t what I have been used to either.”
One of the largest difficulties for footballers going over to play in Australia is the distance.
This changed into something that became even greater apparent for Stopforth while his stepfather died three months into his time on the alternative side of the world.
“It turned into absolutely, simply hard,” he says.
“I got here lower back for the funeral and spent about three weeks back inside the UK.
“We haven’t got our own massive family, so my mum changed into a piece lonely. Then, when I got lower back to Australia, I became speaking to her each night, and it turned into very tough.”
Eventually, the situation became too hard, with Stopforth’s spell in Australia ending with more than two months of the season nevertheless remaining.
While some gamers set up their deals with Australian golf equipment, most people use an organization to help them find a team.
Elliot Livesey is the founder and director of Soccer Smart – a business enterprise that has been facilitating the movement of players from England to semi-professional soccer clubs in Australia when you consider that 2010.
“The ones on our books are frequently seen as marquee gamers,” says Preston-based Livesey, who performed non-league football himself.
”As quickly as the season finishes, my inbox begins to top off, and on average, we ship throughout around 50 gamers 12 months.
“Some coaches say ‘ship me the quality participant you have got’ and others say ‘provide me a left-sided center lower back of their mid-twenties.’ So it truly does vary.”
Despite frequently being visible as superb signings, the gamers who make a move throughout Australia do not generally benefit from their salary packets.
“It’s almost exactly the equal financially, but the massive element that sells it to the gamers is the exchange of way of life,” Livesey says.
‘I omit the fowl kormas’
That exchange of way of life is something Dunn has become conversant in. Still, together with his two-year working vacation visa now lengthy expired, he is counting on different manner to stay in Australia.
“My partner is technically sponsoring me; however, with a bit of luck in the following couple of years, I’ll be a everlasting resident right here,” he says.
“Visas can vary from $four hundred (£214) up to $10,000 or $15,000,” he says. “It’s now not cheap, but in case you want to live inside the united states, you have to get your office work in the location.”
For Dunn, dwelling to this point away from domestic for an extended spell has been understandably hard. However, current technology is a terrific assist.
“It’s now not too awful due to the fact you can FaceTime – I try to speak to my circle of relatives every couple of days thru video calls, and we’ve got given a circle of relatives WhatsApp chat going,” he says.
As nicely as his friends and own family, there is yet another component that the Murray United captain misses.
“Believe it or now not, I leave out the chook kormas,” laughs Dunn. “They simply aren’t the identical over right here, and neither are the chippys!”