Serbia opens stopper's eyes
YARALLA goalkeeper Marko Radovanovic has returned to the Harbour City after two months in Serbia where he trialled with a number of club sides from the SuperLiga (Serbian professional league) and the Srpska Liga (Serbian third division).
Five teams put the former Peninsular Power player through his paces, including SuperLiga perennial powerhouse Partizan.
The local talent received an offer from Serbian third division side FK Dinamo Panèevo, but he is still weighing up his playing options.
“The offer wasn't what I would have liked,” he said.
“It's not the right time for me at the moment, so we'll put that on hold and still keep on talking and who knows maybe in a year or two I might go back when it all picks up again.”
The 20-year-old painter and decorator said his Serbian sojourn was the trip of a lifetime that opened his eyes to the European world of football.
“Over there it's like a whole new ball game. It's European and everything comes from the heart,” he said.
“When I trialled with FK Partizan it was unbelievable. It was good European football.
“It was quick, everyone knows each other. It was like the A-league but three times faster, there were better balls, better shots, everything was unbelievable.”
The Australian-born Serb said that the passion and commitment he witnessed in the European game was incredible.
“Over here you train twice a week, over there you train twice a day every day.
“It was a great experience, I enjoyed it and if I could do it again I would.”
For the moment, Radovanovic is back between the sticks for Yaralla and is focused on improving his game before potentially pursuing professional football again in Europe or the USA.
“All I can do is just try out and if I don't get in, it's all a good experience; you only get success once you've failed so you just get up again and keep moving forward,” he said.
“It'd be good if I could get a contract to play every day, but at the moment I'm taking it a day at a time and training my butt off. Like they say, practice makes perfect,” he said.
Radovanovic rose through the local playing ranks from humble beginnings as a junior with Wolves to stints at Clinton and the Capricorn Cougars in the senior grade.
Peninsular Power contracted the rising star as their first-choice keeper at the end of the 2006 season.