Within minutes, the Macarthur FC players forgot they could have been on holidays.
It was Saturday morning, a fortnight after their season had finished. Many of their A-League opponents were going through the check-in counters at airports, posting stories as they started their breaks. The Bulls’ players too started taking to social media shortly after but not for any travel plans – instead, a community visit they described as “awesome”.
“The boys really got behind it today. It’s really cool to see the kids faces light up,” Bulls defender Jake McGing said. “We all had a bunch of fun. It’s massive just to have programs like this set up in the local community. To have people of all walks of life play football is really an amazing thing.”
The entire team, including Macarthur FC head coach Mile Sterjovski, paid a surprise visit to Macarthur Magic in Narellan Vale – an inclusive soccer club for kids and young adults with disabilities. Run entirely by hard-working volunteers in South West Sydney, the club was treated to the Bulls joining in Saturday’s training session. The players ran drills, taught Magic players new skills while some joined in the games with some of the older Magic players.
“The greatest pleasure is to give back to the community because without them, ultimately we are nothing. We are really grateful for them and it’s been a top day,” Bulls defender Ivan Vujica said.
“There is something intimate about this one to be honest. We got into the game, me and Tomi [Uskok] were defending. Mile [Sterjovski] was on the other team with Johnny [Aspropotamitis] and Filip [Kurto]. It was very intimate and very nice.”
The Bulls visit only added to the cheer at Nuggets Beames Reserve. The players were jumping with joy. The volunteers that run the program every weekend were overwhelmed with positivity.
“Words can’t say,” Macarthur Magic vice president Steve Weatherly said. “Macarthur Bulls is our local A-League team in the Macarthur area so to have them come down to a Macarthur Magic gameday is absolutely fantastic.”
“Hopefully the Macarthur players get a lot out of this just as much as our players, volunteers and parents.”
That much was evident by the smiles on the Bulls’ faces as they presented awards to the stars of the Magic after the session. As they stayed back for photos, signatures and handing out merchandise – some literally giving jackets off their own backs – there was little doubt the Bulls players didn’t want to be anywhere else.