Feature Article - Scott Tunbridge
When Scott Tunbridge told his primary school teacher he wanted to be a professional soccer player when he grew up the teacher turned to his parents and said "you know what, I think he will be”. From an early age Scott showed the determination and resilience that is needed to strive for a dream, no matter how many obstacles arise. As a 14 year old, Scott made lists of his goals for the year and would stick them to his wardrobe, fridge, bedroom door and bathroom door. Each year these lists consisted of small achievable goals that he knew would all one day make him the best professional soccer player he could be. Each year he completed every one of those goals. With ‘determination' tattooed on his arm Scott lives by the motto of "I don't accept failure, I fight it”. His story is inspiring and is tribute to the fact that no one can ever tell you that you can't reach your dream. That is entirely up to you. Scott started playing at Metro Stars in 2007 and at the time of this story, he was the top goal scorer with 8 goals in the past 7 games. Scott began playing soccer as a 3 and a half-year-old for Elizabeth Downs and having played there for the first 10 years of his career he is now a lifetime member. He debuted for Adelaide City in 1999 as an 18 year old and finished as the top goal scorer in his first 3 seasons for the club. He went on to play for South Melbourne in 2003 before venturing over to Scotland in 2004 and playing for Division 1 team at the time, Hamilton Academicals, for 3 years. A short stint at Newcastle Jets in 2006 followed, before coming to Metro in 2007. Scott's playing history is impressive with a mixture of National and International playing levels, however he will be the first to tell you that he had to fight for every small success. "I was never the most talented player in the squad, I was never the first one picked, I knew I had to work hard to get what I wanted. But it's not in my nature to give up”. When Scott first tried out for SASI as an aspiring young soccer player he was told not to get his hopes up and that he should realistically only expect to play 2-3 games at most. When many young players would be crushed and lose hope Scott thought ‘ill prove you wrong' and took the scholarship. In the first game of the season was put on to play as a substitute for an injured player. After his performance that game Scott ended up playing every game that year for SASI and the following year was captain of the team. His time playing in Scotland is a much similar tale of fighting sceptics and doubts. By the middle of his first season for Hamilton, Scott was top goal scorer when a knee injury saw him released from the club to come home for rehabilitation for 6 months. Going back to Scotland for pre season the year after provided some challenges, as a new team manager who had no interest in Scott was hesitant to sign him. Once the club president put his foot down Scott was re-signed but as fate would have it, at the end of his 2nd year Scott had a hamstring injury and struggled to get game time as a result. As a token Aussie in the Scotland team Scott had acquired quite a fan base and as a proper farewell to his fans, asked to play the last game of the season. In true Tunbridge fashion, right when it was supposed to be game over, Scott played his best game ever for the club. He was asked to come back for a 3rd and what would be final year, and after scoring 6 goals in 3 games a hamstring injury interfered once again. In 2006 he finally decided to come home when he was offered a 2-year contact with Newcastle. Scott remembers his time in Scotland very fondly, ‘it was the time of my life'. He made life long friends and shared the life of a professional soccer player with his wife in a country where Soccer has a huge fan base. He received a lot of publicity where just walking to the supermarket he would be stopped for a photograph, many articles were written about him in the paper and cartoon sketches appeared in the local magazines. For now the goal lists have stopped and Scott is content to be where he is, "I'm happy just playing at the moment”. 21 month old daughter Savannah Lily, and wife Emma (expecting their second child at the end of the month) also keep him content. "I love my family life. I love coming home to my daughter”. He thanks his wife for the support she provided to encourage him to pursue his dream. Scott sees each set back that has happened in his career, as a "hurdle that was there to test me. If you want it bad enough, you jump them”.