A “SNAP decision” at his daughter’s birthday party convinced Travis Dodd to pull on the soccer boots again.
The former Adelaide United captain last week signed for SA Premier League club MetroStars, almost three years on from his last competitive game.
Dodd, 36, enjoyed a glittering career in Australia and abroad, racking up more than 380 professional appearances and two Socceroos caps.
He says speaking to close friend and MetroStars assistant coach Robbie Saraceno at a gathering for daughter Mia’s birthday three weeks ago attracted him to the Klemzig club.
“It was a snap decision to be completely honest,” says Dodd, who returned to Adelaide from Perth with his young family last month.
“I was actually going to sit out a year from coaching and I had no intention of playing.
“But as soon as you put the boots on and get back into training, you get that hunger back.“I have a competitive nature and I’ve missed being in that team environment and having that bond with teammates.”
Dodd made his senior debut in the former National Soccer League with Adelaide City, aged 16, before stints at Newcastle Breakers, Parramatta Power, Johor (Malaysia) and Panionios (Greece).
The winger joined Adelaide United in 2005, but was deemed surplus to requirements after 137 games and 30 goals for the Reds.
He joined Perth Glory, but a torn ACL in March 2013 ended his time at the club and seemingly his playing days.
Then a year as assistant coach at WA Premier League side Bayswater City reignited his passion for the game.
“My rehab was complete by the time I finished at the Glory, which was a huge bonus,” says Dodd, who led Adelaide United to the Asian Champions League final in 2008.
“Although I didn’t play (at Bayswater) I joined in at training on a semi-regular basis, so I know the knee is 100 per cent.
“I’m not the young player I used to be, but as you get older you play a bit smarter.”
Three-time top-flight champion MetroStars endured a disappointing 2015, finishing seventh and missing the finals for the first time since 2000.
Coach Michael Pirone has brought in last season’s State League leading goal scorer Doni Pollock from Adelaide United, goalkeeper Isaac Carmody (Pirates) and playmaker Bailey Truscott (Para Hills) to boost the club’s title bid.
Dodd, who became the first indigenous player to score a goal for Australia in 2006, believes his experience can guide the youngsters after veterans Daniel Godley, David Menechella and Matthew Deegan retired.
“There’s certainly talent among the young boys that are out there, it just needs to be directed in the right way,” the part-time Fox Sports analyst says.
“When events are unfolding on the pitch during the game, hopefully I can coach them through those moments.
“I want to be part of a side that wins trophies and I know MetroStars is a club that wants to succeed.”