Feature Article - Michael Pirone
Michael Pirone is a natural born storyteller and he easily recounts, with precision, the journey of his soccer career that took him to see the world and create the friendships and relationships with people that he is most thankful for today. He describes that he began playing soccer at 5 years old by accident. Despite his dad having a football background and growing up as a Port Adelaide supporter, some how Michael began playing Elizabeth District Junior soccer and beginning a soccer career that he associates with the best times of his life. At a young age Michael played for Modbury Vista, Para Hills East and then at 15 years old debuted for Salisbury United U19's. In 1994 Michael earned a scholarship with the prestigious SASI, and in 1995 captained the team that won the SASI championship. In addition to SASI, in 1994 Michael was also selected for the Adelaide City NSL squad, playing his first game at 18 years old. He played for 3 years with Adelaide City, amongst a very strong squad including 5 who went on to play for the Socceroos, and despite enjoying his time there he found it difficult to get playing time. From 1995 to 1997 Michael was part of the U20's young Socceroos with team mates that included familiar names such as Brett Emerton, Vince Grella and his room mate, Harry Kewel, however he disappointingly missed out on playing in the World Cup. During this time Michael toured the world, including South America, South Africa, Tahiti, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay and played against soccer greats such as Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso and Roman Riquelme, in front of 40,000 strong crowds and even playing live on TV. "These are things you don't forget as a kid” Michael says. In 1999, Michael came to the realisation that for him soccer wasn't going to pay the bills and decided to concentrate on study, including a Bachelor of Management with a Major in International Relations. He continued playing soccer however and after stints at Elizabeth City and Croydon, in 2002 Michael began playing for Blue Eagles in what he describes as one of the best sides he has played in, with players including Altone, Brooks, Sergi, Delucia and Sattin. In 2003, despite Metro's best efforts to woo him, Michael stayed at Blue Eagles, scoring against the Stars in the grand final and winning 2-1. In 2007 when Metro once again came calling Michael happily accepted, swayed by the quality of the people at the club and the quality of the team including Altone, Karlovic and coach Mike Barnett, "and the fact that I would get to party with Godley, Robinson and Menechella”. "The last 2 and a half years have been some of the happiest football times of my life and for my wife, Vanessa” Michael says. "We have made some of our best friends here, life long friends, and that is the thing I am most grateful for from my football times. I am especially really happy that my wife has made really good friends here”. He describes one of his best moments as the 2008 FFSA cup final where he scored the winning goal against Adelaide City. But he describes the best part as being able to celebrate with friends at the club, especially old friend David Terminello. "I am really proud to be a part of Metro's history” he says in all seriousness. With heartfelt sincerity, Michael takes the opportunity to express his genuine gratitude for what he has gained from the Metro Stars soccer club. "I am so grateful to the club for restoring my will to play. Some difficult things have happened to Vanessa and I in the last 6 weeks but we will be forever grateful for the support of the Metro Stars soccer club and all our friends and to the football community. I am now looking forward to my retirement and the start of my new business which has always been a dream and hopefully looking forward to having a family”. For now Michael is very happy playing for Metro which he calls a second family. He has many interesting stories to tell and he tells them with a passion that is easy to listen to and get caught up in and lets you know how much his journey has meant to him. As he continues to play his best soccer, "A couple of weeks ago I scored against Campbelltown, the best goal I have ever scored!”, you know Pirone's story is far from over.