How 2006 Caltex Socceroos inspired City teen's rise

Dylan Pierias challenges for the ball with Roar's Jacob Pepper last weekend at AAMI Park.
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As a six-year-old, Dylan Pierias got up in the middle of the night, like most of Australia, to be thrilled by the Caltex Socceroos' exploits at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Now, as a 16-year-old he became the first millennial to play in the Hyundai A-League.

Thrust into City’s starting line-up after a raft of suspensions and injuries last weekend, Pierias showed maturity beyond his years in an eye-catching performance against a full-strength Brisbane Roar outfit.

Playing at right-back in a makeshift City back-four, Pierias proved he’s more than capable at A-League level to help Michael Valkanis’ youthful side to an impressive 2-2 draw at AAMI Park.

But if it wasn’t for the exploits of Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and Co in Germany over a decade ago, Pierias may not have been playing football at all.

“I was playing Aussie Rules at the time just for my local club,” Pierias told the Herald Sun’s Matt Windley (@MattyHeraldSun)

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“We still liked soccer though, my family, so I hopped up and watched the World Cup games and just loved it.

“Tim Cahill, he was one of my favourite players. I asked my dad if I could give this game a go and he said ‘sure’.

Melbourne City's Tim Cahill has scored the opening goal on six occasions this season.

“That tournament changed my life. The games I was watching influenced my thinking at the time.”

Fast-forward ten years and the youngster is now sharing a training pitch with Cahill and could line up alongside the Socceroos legend this weekend against Wellington Phoenix.

It’s been quite a month for the Year 11 student.

An integral member of City’s Youth team, Pierias played the full 90 minutes as Joe Palatsides’ side claimed a thrilling last-gasp 3-2 win over Sydney FC in the Y-League Grand Final just over a fortnight ago.

Pierias has begun training with the senior squad over the past two weeks and had the opportunity to work alongside the likes of Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic, Danish international Michael Jakobsen and Uruguayan sensation Bruno Fornaroli.

Dylan Pierias.

But it’s a certain Tim Cahill which has left the biggest impression on the youngster, admitting he was left star struck when he first came across Australia’s all-time leading goal-scorer a few months back.

“He was still at the club one day and I saw him. He was so nice when I saw him, that was really cool,” Pierias said.

“He just said ‘how’s it going mate? What’s your name?’ I said ‘Dylan’, he said ‘I’m Timmy’ and I said ‘yeah, I know’.

“Obviously it’s pretty cool that now I’m training with him and possibly could even play with him.”

And with Ivan Franjic and Michael Jakobsen both sidelined with injury, Pierias may just get that chance this weekend in New Zealand.