Dutch 'Googling' A-League after Socceroos heroics

Perth Glory’s Dutch winger Youssouf Hersi says respect for Australian football in Holland is surging after the Socceroos’ World Cup exploits – and that’s fuelling added interest in the A-League.

Hersi was back in the Netherlands during the World Cup and saw first-hand what local fans think of the type of football Australia is now playing.

The Socceroos outplayed the highly fancied Dutch for large parts of the group game in Porto Alegre before losing 3-2. 

It took many Dutch fans by surprise, he said. And that is increasing interest in the Hyundai A-League with fans, media and players alike.

“Everybody was surprised because they’d (the Socceroos) had lost against Brazil and France in big defeats last year so they thought they’d win this,” the new Glory winger told a-league.com.au.

“Then Tim Cahill scored an unbelievable goal and they played well. After the game they had a lot of respect.

“A lot of people started Googling the A-League asking: “What’s going on there?” And a lot of managers they’d be asking me: “How is it there and how’s the level?”

“And I’d be saying, ‘yeah it’s pretty high’,” said the 32-year-old.  

Despite the salary cap and visa restrictions in the league, Hersi sees a bright future for one of world football’s growing competitions, set to kick off its tenth season on October 10.

“Now you can see David Villa is coming here and Damien Duff, and maybe other players too," he said.

"I think after five or six years the league will be massive.

“Here is a beautiful country and a lot of people will come (to the A-League) to see a different football to what they are used to before.

“Now football is actually taking off here and if the salary cap opens up, better academies ... there’ll be a big boost for the game.”