Gersbach debut generations in the making

Newly capped Socceroo Alex Gersbach says that his Australian national team debut against Greece was special not only for laying on the goal in 1-0 win but also because it was against the country of his grandparent’s origin.

The Australian-Hellas connection is growing throughout recent Socceroos squads with two generations of Greek players permeating throughout the national team.

The first generation begins with Greek born coach and striker Ange Postecoglou and Aposotlos Giannou, and the second with Terry Antonis and Chris Ikonomidis and it was increased even further when Gersbach made his Socceroos debut as the 19-year old’s grandparents come from Greece.

“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am now,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be in Australia. They came from Greece at a young age. They made a life for themselves here in Australia and to make my debut against Greece is really special and I hope it means a lot to them.”

“It’s really special for me and for my mum and for my grandparents especially. My parents are actually over in Greece at the moment watching with the relatives. Hopefully they enjoyed it as I haven’t spoken to them yet. 

“It feels really special to represent your country. To do it here in Sydney in front of all my family and friends. It’s really special. Everything has just happened so quickly since two years ago. I’m really enjoying it.”

Gersbach won his first cap for Australia by coming on as a substitute in the 82nd minute of play, replacing Liverpool Leftback Brad Smith.

And even though it was only a 10-minute cameo, Gersbach made a significant impact on the game.

After the Socceroos won a corner the former Sydney FC star delivered an inch perfect cross to Tim Cahill who headed into the goal with a trademark finish but the linesman ruled that the ball went out of play and the goal was disallowed.

However, that disappointment turned to joy within minutes as Gersbach’s pass into the box helped set up fellow Socceroo substitute Mathew Leckie to score the match winning goal.

“It was a good feeling to get the assist,” he said.

“Obviously it would have been nice for the first one off the corner (to have counted). It was just a very nice feeling to contribute and to come off the bench and make a difference.

It’s been a meteoric rise for Gersbach.

In the space of two years he has gone from playing at the Australian Institute of Sport with the Joeys, making his A-League debut for Sydney FC while still at high school and then signing his first European contract with Norwegian Champions Rosenberg BK.

“It’s tough I guess,” he said.

“I’ve had a lot of different football experiences in the last year especially. From playing for Sydney to the Olyroos. Obviously in Norway and now international football playing for the Socceroos – it’s very different and you have to adjust. It’s been tough but also really enjoyable at the same time.”

  • Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.