My Socceroos debut - Michael Beauchamp

The former Central Coast Mariners defender give us an insight into his debut match for the Socceroos.


Asian Cup Qualifier Date: 22 February, 2006 Venue: National Stadium, Riffa

Score: Bahrain 1-3 Australia Scorers: Thompson -53, Skoko -79, Elrich ‘88(pen). Crowd: 2500

Line-up: Ante Covic (gk); Michael Thwaite (Brett Holman 46), Michael Beauchamp, Jon McKain, Jade North, Alvin Ceccoli, Luke Wilkshire, Josip Skoko, Ahmad Elrich, Archie Thompson, Scott McDonald (David Carney 82)

Michael Beauchamp typifies the modern Australian footballer who has benefitted from the sport-s recent emergence in this country.

Signed by the Central Coast Mariners, he was one of the success stories of the inaugural Hyundai A-League season.

And his stellar season under Lawrie McKinna was rewarded with a call up to Australia-s inaugural Asian Cup qualifier against Bahrain - the first evident benefit of switching to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) from Oceania.

After a shaky first half, the Josip Skoko-led Socceroos bounced back to get their campaign off to the perfect start in steamy conditions.

“Walking out there was one of the highlights of my career,-- Beauchamp admits.

“Singing the national anthem out there was unbelievable, it is something I will never forget.

“I don-t remember too much from the actual game itself to be honest, but I certainly do remember being pretty nervous.

“I pretty much just remember it being really hot. Oh yeah, and I remember copping a ball in the face, which really hurt.

“Guus Hiddink could not coach that game because of his commitments with PSV Eindhoven, so Johan Neeskens and Graham Arnold took charge.

“Actually it was more Arnie coaching at that stage because Johan had just arrived.

“I remember Josip Skoko being in midfield and I would always look for him when I was coming out of defence.--

It is little wonder that Beauchamp remembers little from that match, as it kickstarted a whirlwind couple of years for the defender.

Three months later he was one of two A-League players selected for the 23-man World Cup squad - joining Mark Milligan on the tarmac next to a Qantas jumbo for the announcement.

“So much has happened to me since,-- he says belatedly.

“I went to the World Cup and then the Asian Cup.--

He also signed for German side Nuremberg on the back of his impressive A-League season - another tick for Australia-s new competition and Beauchamp himself.

Something which helps him trigger the memory of his debut is his Socceroos cap, which has followed him all over the world. The latest stop is Denmark, with Beauchamp having joined Aalborg, who are competing in Europe-s premier club competition, the Champions League.

Beauchamp has been a regular under Pim Verbeek, and was only grounded by a toe injury in the recent FIFA World Cup Asian qualifier against Uzbekistan.

But having turned up injured in pre season, he has recovered well and forced his way into Aalborg-s starting XI.

Beauchamp made his Champions League debut against fellow Qantas Socceroo Scott McDonald in the 0-0 draw at Celtic - where he was mistakenly sent off.

Lining up against Manchester United on September 30 will mark another chapter in his already impressive career.