Newcastle Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski is not the only talented player in his family with younger brothers Michael and Alex out to make their own mark in football.
Michael Kantarovski, 18, is a member of the Jets National Youth League squad and Alex Kantarovski, 19, is a former Jets youth team player who is now with Broadmeadow Magic in Newcastle’s local NBN State League.
“They like to play footy, they’re pretty good as well,” Ben said. “It’s always good family backyard fun when the three of us are out there for a kick.
"It’s funny - we all pretty much play the same position. We’ve been mixed around, Michael’s a bit more attacking, he’s maybe got a bit better with both feet. We’re all similar players. I’ve been told that we run alike.”
All three are defensive midfielders, holding players who learned their football trade as Broadmeadow Magic juniors. They also have skills away from the football field, with Alex studying radiography at Newcastle University and Ben currently doing psychology, while Michael has just finished high school.
Ben, 21, as the oldest has been the trailblazer, making his debut in the A-League as a teenager and representing and captaining Australia at junior levels. He has one year to go in his psychology degree.
“I started like anyone, I didn’t really know what to do,” Ben said. “I started with that, I was there I had nothing else to do with my time.
"When I first started playing I was at high school so I was always studying while I was playing so I didn’t really know anything different. I had so much spare time I didn’t know what to do. It’s not like you can just go out and get drunk like normal folks and do whatever.
"I had to occupy my time with something so I started studying again. The more I’ve done it now, the couple of years that I’m into it, the more interesting its gotten and the more interesting I’ve found it.”
Alex was released from the Newcastle Jets’ national youth league side last season after suffering a series of knee, hip and groin injuries. He went on to star for Magic in the NBN State League, in both central defence and midfield on occasion, helping them take out the 2013 grand final.
All three Kantarovski siblings have been through the Northern New South Wales Football Federation’s elite juniors programs and come under the eye of technical director David Smith.
Smith describes all of them as being technically gifted players.
“All three are very smart footballers,” he said. “Alex probably doesn’t have the drive of Ben but he’s a very good player.
"Michael could go further. He has really improved out of sight in the last two or three years. He can play a killer pass. He has the ability to make the A-League.”
Ben said the three brothers compete against each other but haven’t talked about playing in the A-League together.
“We’ never really spoken about that, it’s more of just oh we beat you, or we did this,” he said. “It’s more of we got this over you, so it’s always going to be a case of someone’s always going to win.”
Ben credits his parents as having been the biggest influence on his own burgeoning football career.
“They never really pushed anything at all they just wanted me to finish school,” he said.
“I think that just gave me level-headed grounding and somewhere to start at. From there I just wanted to achieve as much as I could.”comments