SOCCEROO keeper Mark Schwarzer is in the running to be named Sports Dad of the Year and has told au.fourfourtwo.com why family is so vital to him.
The 40 year old just moved to Chelsea from Fulham this season and is set for his third World Cup next year.
But away from the pitch he is husband to Paloma and father of Julian, 13, and Amaya, 11 - and one of 10 nominees for the Philips Sports Dad of the Year title.
You can help him over the line by voting online, and saying in 25 words or less let us know why Schwarzy should take the crown.
The winning dad will be given $5000 to donate to his favourite charity of choice - and you could win the Philips Ultimate Father’s Day Grooming Pack valued at more than $5000.
Vote now for Mark at sportsdads.com.au. Voting ends on Tuesday, August 27, and the winner will be announced on Father’s Day, Sunday, September 1.
In the midst of a huge year for Schwarzer with his big EPL move and Australia's sucessful World Cup qualifying campaign, Mark and family spoke with us about his life as he hits the big 40.
How big an inspiration are the kids to your career?
(Mark) Kids are great because they see life so clearly and simply. They keep you grounded and are fantastic for giving you perspective especially when things aren’t going so well at work. At the end of they day if they are healthy and happy that is more important than anything that may be going on in football.
Are you always mindful of setting a good example for them on and off the field?
Absolutely, and not just for my own kids but for all children. As a sports person representing our country I am acutely aware that we are role models especially to children. It’s a huge privilege and I feel an enormous responsibility to set a good example as have so many other great sports men and women who have represented our country before me.
Do they take an active interest in your career?
The children have always come to matches to watch me play. They have their own commitments now that they are older but when they can they still always come to watch me play. The last Asia Cup final coincided with my record breaking cap for Australia and my wife and kids surprised me by flying out to Qatar the night before the match. The first I knew about them coming was when they turned up at my hotel in Doha. When you’re away for a month and living in a hotel it’s priceless to see your kids’ (albeit bleary-eyed because they flew over night after being at school all day) smiling faces and to get a huge hug. They also turned up at the match with a huge banner they had made with spray cans and a bed sheet saying “88 caps we “heart” you Dad” Stuff like that is priceless and keeps me going.
Where's their favourite place they like you to take them?
I love taking them camping in our VW camper van. We usually end up on the beach in Spain where my wife’s family are originally from.
How hard is it when he has to be away from home on tour etc?
(Paloma) It’s easier now. When our son was first born it was tough because we lived in a small village in Yorkshire far away from friends and family and there was no Skype back then. It felt like it rained all the time, actually it probably did. I would spend most of the time indoors with the baby and when we did go outside for a walk, which I tried to do every day, it would be like a military manoeuvre getting layers of warm clothing and waterproofs the baby and the pram. We laugh about it now! The weather is a lot milder here in London where we live now and the kids are so much older and independent. We have been in England for over 16 years and have built up a fantastic network of friends who are always around to support me when Mark is away. My Mum and Dad have always come over to spend their summers with me since the kids were babies as this is usually when Mark is away for the longest periods with the Socceroos. I have always looked forward to the summers because none of my friends and family visit in winter. It’s just too cold.
What is his best asset as a father?
The fact that he just loves spending time at home with the kids and plays all their games on their level weather it’s ball sports, in the pool or at the beach. His energy is endless. Sometimes when they are in the games room sitting in the almost complete darkness laughing and blasting away at stuff on the PS3 it likes I’ve got 3 kids.
What is the best thing he does for you?
(Amaya) The best thing he does for me is he cooks me amazing food, he always plays on the PlayStation with me, plays cricket, basketball and tennis with us in the garden, he barbecues and it always tastes so good, when he is in the garden he plants lots of things and we pick them together and wash them then cook them, they taste divine.
(Julian) I feel that the best thing my father has done for me is being a role model. Yes he cooks amazing food and plays shooting games on the Playstation with me. But he shows me that when people knock him down and he is not wanted, he just gets back up, and works harder than ever. My parents always say: “ One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.“