We are now just one week away from the official kickoff of the 2012 Hyundai A-League season, and excitement is beginning to grow as players prepare for the biggest club soccer tournament in Oceania.
Ten teams from across Australia and New Zealand are set to battle it out over 27 rounds of nail biting soccer action for the honour of raising the A-League Cup.
Defending champions the Brisbane Roar will be hunting their third consecutive title after topping both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
Coached by Rado Vidosic and captained by Matt Smith, they boast a squad of young and experienced athletes that includes names such as Albanian Besart Berisha and German Thomas Broich.
However they will face some determined competition, not least from last year's runner ups the Perth Glory.
The Glory, captained by Jacob Burns, will be looking for redemption after going down 2-1 in the 2011-12 final. Their squad also features prolific New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz, who is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and skillful players in the league.
The opening game of the season is set to be a cracker, with plenty of local pride at stake when the Melbourne Victory take on the Melbourne Heart at Etihad Stadium next Friday night (October 5).
The Melbourne Victory have an ace up their sleeve – Socceroos forward Archie Thompson, who holds the record for the second most goals scored in the A-League, after only the aforementioned Shane Smeltz.
However it would be foolish to discount the Heart, who have already made a big impact during their short A-League history. Last season they finished a respectable sixth on the table with nine wins, ten draws and eight losses, and will be looking to improve on that performance this year.
Of course, a summary of the 2012-2013 Hyundai A-League wouldn't be complete without mention of Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero, who will be turning out for Sydney FC.
All eyes will be on this veteran with nearly two decades of experience under his belt, with many waiting to see what impact he will have on the game in this country.
Fans were forced to wait to see their hero however, after a friendly between Sydney and the Central Coast Mariners was called off earlier this week.
That means your best chance to see Del Piero in action will be at Sydney's opening game of the season against the Wellington Phoenix next Saturday (October 6) – it's sure to be a thrilling contest not to be missed!
If you'd like to kick start your A-League training into gear – or just have some great fun with some friendly people – why not come on down to Strathfield Sports Club and try out our state of the art facilities for yourself?