Aussies Abroad wrap: Socceroos & U23's push on, while others begin pre-season

While most of our Socceroos and Australia U23's in Europe begin their pre-seasons, others are in the midst of their league campaigns.

In the last week or so, Adam Taggart and Mitchell Duke returned to action in Japan, while our Olyroos and Socceroos reported for pre-season across Europe and the United Kingdom. 

Meanwhile, Bailey Wright signed a two-year contract extension at Sunderland as they aim to cement their status in the Championship. 

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Asia & The Middle East

Starting in the Saudi Arabia Pro League, where Boyle’s Al-Faisaly had to get at least a point to survive on the final day of the season, but they lost 2-1 to Al-Hilal. 

Boyle started in the heart-breaking loss but was subbed off as Al Hilal secured the Saudi Professional League title and condemned Al-Faisaly to relegation for the first time in 12 years. 

Since making the switch from Hibernian five months ago, Boyle played 13 league games, scoring three goals and adding an assist. 

Despite the club's relegation, Boyle will at least have the consolation of playing in the Asian Champions League knockout stages. 

His team have reached the last 16 and face Iranian club Foolad in February after finishing first in the group stage. Boyle scored once and added an assist in his six group stage games.

In Japan, Taggart marked his return to J1 League action with 20 minutes off the bench as Cerezo Osaka played out a frustrating 1-1 draw against relegation-placed Shimizu S-Pulse. 

Taggart will be hoping to regain his starting place when Cerezo take on Kawasaki Frontale (Saturday 8pm AEST). Now in seventh position, Taggart’s side are seven points off an AFC Champions League spot as the season's halfway point approaches. 

Elsewhere in Japan, Duke played 45 minutes as his Fagiano Okayama side secured a 1-0 victory over FC Ryukyu in the J2 League just over a fortnight ago. 

Duke was not involved in the squad as Okayama played out a 1-1 draw with Mito HollyHock last week so he will be hoping to return to action against Roasso Kumamoto (Saturday 8pm AEST). Sitting in fourth position, Okayama are five points off third position as they chase the automatic J1 promotion/ play-off positions. 

The United States

To Major League Soccer, where Socceroos defender Milos Degenek and his Columbus Crew side returned to winning ways with a 2–1 victory over Toronto on Thursday. 

Since returning from Socceroos duty, Degenek has started in the centre of defence as Columbus chase a finals series play-off position. His side are next in action on Monday (9:30am AEST) when they host league leaders Philadelphia. 

Defender Brad Smith will also be in action for D.C United, as they travel to Orlando City (Tuesday 9am AEST) with the hope of picking up three points and leaving the foot of the Eastern Conference table. 

United Kingdom

Starting in England, where Wright has penned a new two-year deal with Sunderland. The 29-year-old was a stalwart last season, making 37 league appearances while captaining the side as the Black Cats returned to the Championship.

“I’m absolutely delighted to sign a new contract at Sunderland. What a way to finish last season at Wembley Stadium and I’m looking forward to enjoying Championship football this campaign,” Wright told Sunderland media. 

"I can’t wait to get started following my return to training, and to see all of our supporters back at the Stadium of Light next month for the opening game of the season.”

Elsewhere In England, Riley McGree has joined his Middlesbrough team for pre-season ahead of their trip to Portugal for a friendly match against Braga followed by ties against Morecambe and Olympique de Marseille on home soil. 

Kenny Dougall has also linked back up with his Blackpool teammates as they prepare for another season in the Championship.

In other Olyroos abroad news, goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic will return to Huddersfield Town for pre-season after spending half of last season on loan at Hartlepool United. Bilokapic will be hoping to fight it out against fellow Aussie goalkeeper Jacob Chapman for the Huddersfield Town B number one shirt. 

In League One, Jay Rich-Baghuelou will soon link up with his Accrington Stanley FC teammates for pre-season. The 22-year-old enjoyed a break-out season in League One as he started 11 matches and scored two goals after making the move from Cyrstal Palace in January. 

In Scotland, Kye Rowles and Nathaniel Atkinson will soon travel to Spain to link up with their Heart of Midlothian FC teammates for a pre-season training camp after being granted an extended break after the Socceroos' World Cup Qualifiers. 

It will be the first time Rowles meets his new teammates after recently securing a transfer to Hearts from Central Coast Mariners.

After also making the switch from the Mariners, Olyroos defender Lewis Miller has also joined up with his new club Hibernian. The 21-year-old made his Hibs debut in a 2-0 friendly victory over Hartlepool in Portugal on Wednesday. 

Hibs are in action again on Friday night against Burton (8pm AEST) as they prepare for a Scottish League Cup tie against Clyde on July 9. 


As the only Socceroo who is in season in Europe, Gianni Stensness’ Viking FK face Rosenborg BK in the Norwegian Eliteserien (Monday 4am AEST). While Viking are currently third on the ladder, they are winless in their last five matches.

In Germany, Connor Metcalfe got his first pre-season minutes for his new club St Pauli as they lost 2-0 to Holstein Kiel. Metcalf joins his Socceoos teammate Jackson Irvine at St Pauli as they prepare for the start of the Bundesliga 2 season on July 16. 

Fresh from signing for La Liga outfit Cadiz CF, Awer Mabil will report for pre-season training on Monday. As Cadiz prepares to kick off their season against Maty Ryan's Real Sociedad in August, the side will face Barbate CF in their first friendly on July 15. 

Meanwhile, Ryan returns to Spain shortly as he prepares for Sociedad’s first pre-season friendly against Denis Genreau’s newly-promoted Toulouse FC on July 17 in San Sebastian. 

With the Ligue 1 season starting on August 7 in France, Genreau’s side began pre-season last Thursday. They face Ligue 2 side Nîmes Olympique on Sunday to kick off a series of pre-season friendly matches. 

Having recently signed for KAS Eupen, Jason Davidson is also preparing to link up with his new club as he joins Jimmy Jeggo in Belgium. 

Elsewhere in Europe, Danny Vukovic also began pre-season in the Netherlands last week while Joel King will soon report for training with Odense Boldklub as the Danish Superliga kicks off in late July. 

Ajdin Hrustic and Fran Karacic will also link up with Eintracht Frankfurt and Brescia Calcio teammates after being given an extended break following the Socceroos' qualification for the World Cup. 

In Olyroos news, Hosine Bility will be hoping to return to Besta-deild karla action in Iceland when his Fram Reykjavík side take on Keflavík ÍF (Monday 5:15 AEST). The 21-year-old centre-back, who is on loan from FC Midtjylland in Demark, started in Fram’s Icelandic Cup match last week but was sent off after receiving two yellow cards. 

Joshua Rawlins has started training with FC Utrecht after signing a four-year deal from Perth Glory. The 18-year-old full-back will be hoping to get some minutes in upcoming friendlies against Genk, Club Brugge and OFI Crete FC. 

Alou Kuol will link back up with VfB Stuttgart after spending the second half of last season on loan at SV Sandhausen while Jordan Courtney-Perkins will return to Raków Częstochowa after being loaned to Warta Poznań in Poland. 

Tristan Hammond will also report for pre-season with Austria Wien II as he looks to build on the two goals he scored in 2. LIGA last season. 

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