We start with a Northern Irish journeyman who became mates with Tim Cahill when they played for MLS outfit NY Red Bulls.

Jonny Steele

Anyone who’s played for the Syracuse Salty Dogs, Baltimore Blast, and Puerto Rico’s Islanders will have some stories. 

Heavily-tattooed Steele was last spotted with non-league English club Ramsgate in 2019. A big coup, trumpeted the Kent club, but Steele was released three months later. 

The attacking midfielder's six-month spell at A-League club Newcastle Jets in 2015 may seem a fleeting cameo in a career that began in his home country of Northern Ireland before spells in England, USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia.

Jonny Steele (ctr) in action for his A-League club the Jets

With religious intolerance rife in Northern Ireland (the “Troubles” were a blight) Steele began a lifelong love affair with US soccer in between a youth deal at English club Wolves in 2004. 

One of his high-points in the US was signing with Real Salt Lake and with NY Red Bulls in 2013, where he met the Socceroos legend Tim Cahill.

Steele’s next move was to the A-League, albeit for a few months of the A-League season before departing back to the US in early 2016.

As Steele's Twitter feed states: "Just an Irish man living the dream!!! Family 1st!!!"

The former Northern Ireland international is 34 years of age. He has had 18 clubs around the world. 

Naum Sekulovski

A lovable character, Sekulovski, now 38, was a Perth Glory favourite in the A-League, but now he is a Business Development Strategist And Sales Account Manager. 

The former Gippsland Falcons player in the NSL spent six good years in Perth playing A-League football from 2006 before a dream move took him to Indonesia playing in front of some huge crowds for Persema Malang. 

However, sadly, the defender injured his ACL, which in effect closed the door on his pro career. He moved back to Melbourne. 

Naum Sekulovski during his six years in the A-League with Perth Glory

Since then he’s played semi-pro football in Victoria (his home state, having played his junior footy in Springvale) while building his career outside of the game. 

The former VIS and Joeys player was last seen at a club very close to his heart, Preston Lions, joining them for a second stint.

He’d joined the NPL club in the year before the A-League kicked off in 2006, topping and tailing a career defined by his bubbly personality and no-nonsense defensive work. 

Kew Jaliens

A-League fans will remember the Dutch central defender during the Phil Stubbins regime at Newcastle Jets. 

Not the happiest period in the club’s history, but clearly Newy took Jaliens' fancy.

Kew Jaliens playing for his second A-League club, Melbourne City

After a short spell with Melbourne City, the credentialed former Netherlands International (he was capped age 27 by Marco Van Basten) retired and returned to the Hunter to work with Weston Bears. 

Now 41, the one-time Jets skipper is owner and director of Newcastle-based JIFA-Jaliens International Football Academy. 

Mark Bridge

The nuggety forward made his name at the Jets and Sydney FC, but it was at Western Sydney Wanderers where “Bridgey” became “King Bridge”. 

The fans loved him and under Tony Popovic, he was the fittest he had ever been and he played, arguably, the best years of his career. 

From 2012 to 2016, he was part of the Red and Black’s greatest era to date. However, he broke fans' hearts by leaving to join a Thai club. 

Bridge left WSW as an A-League great

But within a year the goalscorer was back at the club to fulfill a two-year deal - his final as a professional. 

Now retired, he’s turned out with local club Mounties Wanderers and just 34, he’s still living locally in the West of Sydney.

The Wanderers legend (over 140 appearances, earning accolade after accolade, including scoring the club’s first-ever A-League goal) and former Socceroo is Managing Director at Want Access Major Projects. 

Kaz Patafta

Patafta was a very good footballer but perhaps lacked guidance at crucial times in a career that didn't take off as it should, or perhaps could, have. 

The Canberran was destined for the very top after Guus Hiddink brought the former Benfica fringe player (where he trained with David Luiz,  Simao Sabrosa, and Nuno Gomes to name just three) along to the 2006 World Cup with the Socceroos. 

Patafta returned to the A-League from Benfica for a loan spell at Victory

Chelsea and Porto (who offered a five-year deal) were after Patafta around this time, but with an apparent lack of good advice, he was allowed to go out on loan at Melbourne Victory.

It kind of scuppered his European career. 

A spell with the Jets hinted at his potential later in his career and some time in Laos where he had heritage but it didn’t quite match the potential many thought he had. 

Now 31, and retired from professional football, he has a consultancy firm in Singapore and is also said to be launching an investment fund that will help finance European football clubs. 

From A-League football to the corporate boardroom in Asia

Patafta leads a regional consultancy firm McDonald Patafta in Singapore and surrounding countries and is a former Board Member of AustCham Lao, Honorary Legal Advisor to the British Embassy in Laos, and is a barrister and solicitor admitted in the Australian Capital Territory. 

One of his employees in his Singapore office is Zac Anderson, currently playing locally in the Singapore Premier League, and a former A-League player. 

Adrian Caceres 

Sadly, not all footballers transition smoothly from the bubble that is pro-A-League football. Perhaps Caceres is one such case. 

The former Victory, Mariners, and Glory winger’s life turned upside down after he was convicted and jailed for 18 months in 2019 for dealing ice. 

Phoenix was one of a number of A-League clubs for the attacking midfielder

He admitted to police that he had become a dealer after hanging up his playing boots.

But said he had been using ice since 2003, from the age of 21 to 35, and while playing in the A-League.

His lawyer Louis Kristopher said Caceres had struggled after retiring from the A-League.