How an Aussie country town came together to help make sure youngest Socceroo ever Garang Kuol could make his football dream come true
- Garank Kuol made his debut for Australia against New Zealand last week
- The 18-year-old is pushing to be included in the Socceroos’ World Cup squad
- Kuol is the youngest player to be called up to the Socceroos since Harry Kewell
- The teenager was born in Egypt after his family fled Sudan
- The Kuols then moved to Australia and settled in northern Victoria
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
Garang Kuol’s mother revealed the community spirit of a country town in rural Victoria deserves credit for her son achieving his life-long of playing for Australia.
The 18-year-old became the youngest player to be called up to the Socceroos since Harry Kewell, when he was included in the squad for two friendlies against New Zealand as Graham Arnold’s men fine-tune their preparation ahead of the World Cup.
And his mother, Antonita, believes none of it would have been possible without the support the family received from the local community in Shepparton.
Garang Kuol is the youngest player to be called up to the Socceroos since Harry Kewell
‘All the community around is supportive. If I can’t take them [her kids] [to a game] they will take them, and they sometimes bring them home,’ she told the ABC.
‘You feel like your kids are going to be okay […] your kid can be safe around them.’
Kuol, who made his senior debut for Central Coast Mariners last year, was born in Egypt where his family had fled from Sudan. From there, the Kuols eventually moved to Australia and settled in northern Victoria.
Antonita worked as a seasonal worker at SPC in Shepparton, but could not afford the costs involved with sending Garang and his brother Alou – who currently plays in Germany for Stuttgart’s reserve side – to overseas tournaments.
The teenager made his senior debut for Central Coast Mariners last year
The local community, however, stepped in and raised approximately half of the $8,000 needed to allow the Kuol brothers to represent regional Victoria in Japan and Spain.
‘That was very amazing. And I really don’t want to forget it. That time was a very, very big time to see somebody can pay thousands of dollars to help you,’ she said.
‘We are very blessed to be in Shepparton.’
Kuol, who made his Socceroos debut last week, was similarly grateful of the support he and his brother received from their parents, who used to embark on a four-hour round trip to Melbourne every fortnight to allow them to train.
Kuol made his debut for the Socceroos last week in a friendly against New Zealand
The 18-year-old is hoping to earn a place in Graham Arnold’s World Cup squad
‘[My parents] do anything and everything for us,’ he said.
‘They used to work all day every day, just to make sure there’s food on our plates […] [and] drive two hours to Melbourne every second week.’
Kuol scored four goals in eight appearances in his first season in the A-League and his appearances have attracted interest from a host of European clubs, including Newcastle, Celtic and Borussia Dortmund.
And, according to Sky Sports, the Magpies are closer to finalising a deal with the Mariners for the 18-year-old, who would join the Premier League club in January.