Hyundai A-League lads and their dads

In the week of Play Football, @AndyHowe_statto looks at family football connections across our national club landscape and reveals some fascinating stories.

One of many legacies of the old National Soccer League (NSL) is the number of players whose sons have played in the Hyundai A-League since 2005.

Round 17 of this season’s A-League saw two more surnames added to a lengthening list of father-son Australian national league pairings.

James McGarry

Wellington’s James McGarry (above) is the son of former Sydney Olympic and NZ national team player Mike, while Steve Ugarkovic, who recently joined the Jets after several years playing overseas, is the offspring of John who played for Sydney Croatia in the mid-1980s.

Now, more than 30 Hyundai A-League players have fathers who played in the NSL, Australia’s original national football league which ran from 1977 to 2004.

The current Newcastle Jets squad, along with Brisbane’s, have the most to thank NSL fathers for – each team having four sons of former national league players.

Corey Brown

Brisbane Roar players Corey Brown (above – son of Rod), Steve Lustica (Bernie), Jamie Maclaren (Don) and Dimitri Petratos (Angelo) all had dads who ran around in the NSL.

Current Newcastle players Nigel Boogaard (son of Mike), Nick Cowburn (Brett), Daniel Mullen (Joe) and Ugarkovic can boast the same pedigree.

Adding another level of greatness are NSL fathers with more than one offspring who matched their achievements.

Nick Cowburn

Nick Cowburn’s (above) brother Jason played for Newcastle United in 2003/04, making former Newcastle KB United midfielder Brett Cowburn the father of two national league sons.

The Mullen clan takes the fantastic football family theme up another notch, with Daniel’s cousin Alex part of Sydney FC’s senior squad and Alex’s brother Matthew a former of Adelaide United player, while their uncle Tim was a teammate of Joe at Adelaide City in the 1980s.

Grandad/dad John Mullen must be one very proud guy.

Looking at the 2015/16 A-League squads, the other sons of former national league players are Oliver Bozanic (son of Vic), Troy Danaskos (Tony), Scott Jamieson (Alex), Paulo Retre (Carlos) and Carl Valeri (Walter).

Some of these NSL fathers had massive careers. Rod Brown, Don Maclaren, Joe Mullen and Vic Bozanic each played over 200 NSL games, while Brown also scored 137 NSL goals in a career that included two Championships.

In recent years, the Westfield W-League has also seen several offspring of national league players take the field, including Newcastle players Emily Van Egmond (daughter of Gary), Siahn Bozanic (Vic) and Adriana Jones (Mark).

Emily Van Egmond

Gary and Emily van Egmond (above) is the only father-daughter pairing to play at ‘A’ international level for Australian senior teams although Kim Schaefer, daughter of 1974 World Cup player Manfred, played a couple of non-A international matches for the women’s team.

Current men’s national team player Jason Davidson is the son of former Socceroo Alan, the Davidsons adding to an extensive list of father-son national team pairings that started with Queensland players Alec Gibb and his son Lex way back in the 1920s-30s.

In terms of combined all-time Australian national league appearances of fathers and their sons, the Mullens top the list with a combined 426 games as at Round 17 this season, Joe with 333 appearances for Adelaide City, and 93 games for Daniel so far.