When Perth Glory's Josh Risdon was announced as a Socceroo today (Wed), we're pretty sure the first people he called were his parents, who racked up an astonishing 1700km per week driving young Josh to training when he was a junior in Perth.
Risdon hails from the WA town of Bunbury, which for those not aware, is around 170km south of Perth.
As a junior player, his parents Ray and Leanne mirrored the efforts of thousands of parents across the country, driving football-mad kids to training and games as they pursued their dreams of maybe one day playing for our Socceroos.
In the Risdons' case, it was an arduous four-hour round trip just for Josh to train and play in Perth in the junior reps teams... and that was five times a week.
Which is at least 1700km a week and over 20 hours of driving! Now that's commitment from Mum and Dad.
It’s been some few weeks for Glory’s Risdon and it's set to get better for the 23-year-old after his selection in the Socceroos squad for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Russia 2018™ Qualifiers.
The impressive right back has a Westfield FFA Cup final to play on November 7, and will then go straight into camp in Canberra with Ange Postecoglou’s squad for the matches against Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh.
A well-rounded right-back, Risdon is just as strong going forward as he is in defence, just the type of fullback Postecoglou likes (which is why he picked Risdon in the initial 46-man squad for the Asian Cup as a signal that he was on his radar, though he wasn't in the final squad that played in the tournament).
Since making his senior debut with Glory in 2010, Risdon has amassed almost 100 Hyundai A-League appearances and has matured into one of the best right-backs in the competition.
And the statistics back it up.
According to Opta Data, he led the Hyundai A-League last season for tackles (115) winning possession an impressive 82 percent of the time in his 25 starts. He made 103 defensive clearances and 72 interceptions.
Risdon loves the defensive side of the game but relishes the attacking element to the full-back role.
Who could forget that rocket from distance last season against Wanderers in Perth. It helped Glory snap a nine-game win-less streak in the 3-2 win last March.
Using his deceptive pace, Risdon loves to attack his opposite number and sent in 89 crosses last term, as well as making 39 successful dribbles.
Its impressive reading. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Risdon. He was ordered to shed some kilos two seasons ago, according to his Glory coach Kenny Lowe.
There were also rumours of a move to a Belgian club during the last off-season only for the deal to fall through. Risdon didn’t let the disappointment get him down and he’s started the new A-League campaign brilliantly.
An FFA Cup final appearance is a certainty and he could then force his way into a starting berth in the crucial qualifier against Kyrgyzstan in Canberra.
And as for his parents, we take our hat off to you.
Your commitment - like many others - drives the dreams and ambitions of our kids.
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