Former Socceroo Vince Grella is backing the south-east Melbourne A-League bid and is proudly acting as an ambassador for ‘Team 11’.
On Monday, Team 11 announced their plans for a 12,000 – 15,000 capacity stadium in Dandenong should they be granted a place in the A-League in 2019/20.
Grella grew up in Melbourne’s south-east playing for Springvale City White Eagles and continued to have an illustrious career in Italy, England and for the Socceroos.
The 38-year-old admitted to FourFourTwo in Dandenong that he was jealous there was such an opportunity nowadays and said it would open plenty of doors.
Grella also said expansion was vital as it would give a chance for more players to prosper as more teams provide more options.
“It’s what we dreamed of when we were younger, we were just unsure if we were ever going to get one. The idea that the possibility is there is exciting all of us,” Grella told FourFourTwo.
“We’re all excited because we grew up in this area and to be talking about having a team and having a new stadium.
“It will open doors, it will give young boys and girls of the region not only an opportunity to support a club, but to also play for a club. Just to feel it as theirs, it’s going to be a great opportunity for boys and girls of the area to have their own team.
“It’s a fantastic and we have the numbers in the south-east to be able to do it.
“Both of my older brothers played football when I was younger, I was playing with them in the backyard and in the street.
“My two older brothers played at Springvale City and then I joined the club, then that’s where I played my junior football.
“Basically Ross Reserve was our second home, I spent more time there than I did at home.”
Grella currently resides in Italy, but after being contacted by Greater Dandenong Councillor and Team 11 committee member Jim Memeti, he said he was happy to pump up the bid as it was something he held close to his heart.
“Jim talked to me about this idea, the concept and asked if I would be happy to be an ambassador and to give some advice and be involved,” he said.
“I said ‘with great pleasure’. I’ve always tried to make myself available when I’m back in Australia. Whenever I’m home, I’ll always catch up, I’m regularly updated and I’m just interested in seeing the progress.
“I haven’t lived in Australia for 20 years, but I have seen a lot of changes and how much it’s grown. I think because of what football can do to a community, I think it’ll help unite all of the people in the area.”