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Feature Article - Ivan Karlovic

Ivan started playing for Metro Stars in 2004 and has been captain for 4 of those 6 years. He started playing soccer at 4 years of age before beginning club soccer for Para Hills East at the age of 5. At 11 years old Ivan moved to Raiders before being selected for the SASI team for 3 years. He then finally returned to Raiders to play in the first team for 2 years when at 18 years of age he began 4 years playing in the national league, 3 years with Adelaide City and 1 year for Sydney Olympic. When Ivan returned to Adelaide in 2004 he began playing for Metro Stars and has been captain of the first team since 2006. In his first year with the club, Ivan was part of the squad that won the 2004 championship, the first championship for the club and a first for Ivan. Describing that first win as one of the most memorable moments in his soccer career, Ivan's elation was short lived as the club began to struggle to reclaim the title a second time and adversaries emerged. So when 5 years had passed and a second championship still seemed elusive, Ivan led his team to the 2009 Championship finals. Metro's critics were silenced and Ivan's joy was heard when the squad won the second championship in Metro history. He describes the 2 wins as the most unforgettable moments in his soccer career and explains they had 2 distinct feelings. He remembers the first as a feeling of relief that this new club was finally showing its capabilities but the second was a feeling of pride in being able to firmly cement Metro's reputation as champions and show critics Metro deserved its place on the cup. Despite accolades as a captain of a championship team, Ivan takes the role of captain in his stride. "I have always tried to lead from the front, whether I was captain or not”, he says. And he credits his close group of experienced players as all being natural leaders. He believes the strength and resilience that comes from being a close team with strong bonds amongst the players is what makes Metro's first team prepared to win every match. Despite this confidence in his team, Ivan is preparing for a tough year as 2010 kicks off. He says "we are going in as champions, everyone wants to knock you off… this is going to be a test of character”. However, the mindset is still to win not just survive. With the same team of players as last year Ivan hopes to replicate the success of last season and take out another championship. His advice for young players keen to play for the first team is to have the right attitude from the beginning, including a willingness to learn and work hard and be determined to play every game. Ivan leads by example when in 2009 his determination to play saw him finish a whole season with a torn cartilage in his knee. As timing would have it, the injury became particularly painful just before the finals but he pulled through to lead the team not only to the finals but eventually the championship before ultimately having surgery immediately after. Unfortunately this first surgery was not successful but after a second surgery in January this year Ivan is back on track and again ready to play. Ivan is now enjoying the balance between work and play, which was not as present when he was playing competitively and his livelihood depended on being part of the starting line up. He has successfully run the Oporto fast food chains for 5 years and became happily married last year to Jessica. When asked what his philosophy is when playing he simply says "hard work”. "Don't take for granted how hard you have to work and the commitment it takes to make it at the highest level”, he says with experience.

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