Meet The Players
These are the players from the last Free Kick Masters event held at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Harold (Harry) Kewell (born 22 September 1978 in Smithfield, New South Wales), is an Australian football (soccer) player. An exceptional dribbler on the wing also capable of playing as an attacking midfielder and as a second striker, he is often regarded within the media as "Australia's finest football export", despite his career being blighted with injury. Against Croatia he scored the crucial goal to get Australia through to the knockout stages of the 2006 World Cup. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Professional Footballers' Association.
Raised in the suburb of Smithfield located in Sydney's south west by his English father Rod and Australian mother Helen, Kewell received his early schooling at Smithfield Public School and secondary schooling at St. Johns Park High School before transferring to Westfield Sports High School as part of their youth Football program.
During his time at Westfields Sports High School, Kewell played at representative level for both school and club competitions. He played in the New South Wales Youth League representative team, and for the Marconi Soccer club from U13 to U15. Kewell was also a member of the NSW Soccer Academy of Sport at Valentine Park..
At the age of 15, Kewell was offered the opportunity to travel to England and trial with English Premiership football club Leeds United for a period of four weeks. Kewell travelled to England with his future Socceroo team-mate Brett Emerton. Both were successful during their trials at Leeds, however only Kewell was able to take up the club's offer due to his father's English heritage, which overcame strict visa requirements.
Leeds United (1995-2003)
Kewell made his Leeds United debut as a 17-year-old on 30 March 1996 in a 1-0 home defeat by Middlesbrough. Kewell made his Australia debut in April 1996 in 3-0 defeat by Chile. The first goal he scored for Leeds came some time later, in October 1997, in a 3-1 League Cup victory over Stoke City.
He was sent off in Leeds United-Galatasaray UEFA Cup 1999-00 semi-final match. Playing mostly in a left midfield role and in attack, Kewell became one of Leeds' young stars in a troop of highly promising youngsters, eventually forming a striking partnership with fellow Australian Mark Viduka. The high point of this period was when they helped Leeds to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League in 2000-01. However, the club began to suffer financial difficulties and, by 2002-03, having sold many of their best players, Kewell and Viduka's efforts in front of goal merely prevented Leeds' slide from being relegated from the Premiership. Kewell's efforts at Leeds United gained him international recognition for his talents as the finest left footer in the game at the time.
Kewell left Leeds under acrimonious circumstances. In an infamous interview given to the BBC shortly before his move to Liverpool, Kewell lashed out against the staff at the club, stating that the medical staff worsened his injuries and that his teammates had ostracized him.
Kewell moved to Liverpool for the start of the 2003-04 season, reportedly snubbing an offer from Manchester United. Kewell had been offered higher wages and champions league football from some of Europe's biggest clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United as well as AC Milan, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid but eventually chose Liverpool, the club he followed as a boy. Kewell's transfer was highly controversial because it was alleged that a significant portion (Ł2m of the Ł5m) went to Kewell's unregistered agent, Bernie Mandic to ensure that he ended up at Anfield. In a related matter, Kewell sued Gary Lineker in 2005 for defamation of character, but, with the jury unable to agree on a verdict, the parties had to settle out of court.
On 25 May 2005, Kewell became the only Australian-born player (Craig Johnston was born in South Africa) to win the UEFA Champions League, playing in Liverpool's win over A.C. Milan on penalties. Kewell was controversially selected by Benítez ahead of the defensive midfielder Dietmar Hamann, signalling the club's intent to attack from the outset. The gamble proved unsuccessful, and an injured Kewell was substituted early in the first half with a torn adductor muscle. Liverpool were losing 1-0 at the time and Kewell was infamously booed off the pitch by Liverpool fans with many suggesting he had faked the injury.
In November 2005, after recovering from the injury sustained during the final, Kewell spoke to the Liverpool FC official website, saying that he had a strong desire to repay his manager Rafael Benitez for showing confidence in him by fielding him in the Champions League Final. He also thanked his wife and friends for the support shown to him while he recovered from injury. He also re-stated the severity of the injury which had forced him off in the Final and told his doubters that they were misguided to question the severity of his injury.
Kewell's form for Liverpool in the 2005-06 English Premier League season showed what he was truly capable of, scoring goals and plenty of assists, lending support to his assertion that his prior mediocre performance was the result of poor health rather than apathy. Kewell scored his first league goal at Anfield in over 2 years when Liverpool beat Spurs 1-0 in January, he was also the only scorer when Liverpool beat Man City 1-0 at Anfield and scored the last goal in a 3-1 win over Everton in one of his best displays of the season. Kewell was also one of Liverpool's best performers in the FA Cup semi final win over Chelsea which Liverpool won 2-1.
Kewell played in the 2005-06 FA Cup Final, only to be substituted in the 48th minute due to abdominal pains (the supporters reaction this time was more sympathetic compared to the previous years champions league final). It was later confirmed by Liverpool that he had torn a groin muscle, but was expected to be fit for the World Cup.
On April 30, 2007 Kewell made his comeback from almost a year out of club football. He came on as a 55th minute substitute for Liverpool F.C. Reserves in a 'mini-derby' against Everton F.C. Reserves. On May 5, 2007, he came on as a substitute in the second half of Liverpool's match against Fulham at Craven Cottage, having not played for Liverpool since his substition in 2005-06 FA Cup Final. On May 13th 2007, Harry came on as substitute in the second half against Charlton in the last game of the Premiership. Speculation on whether he was to be selected in Liverpool's upcoming Champions League Final in Athens rapidly became positive for Kewell after providing an excellent game against Charlton. Harry provided a cross in for Dirk Kuyt to assist towards a Xabi Alonso goal and then scored a penalty on the 90th minute. He played in the Champions league Final in Athens, coming on as a second half substitute for Bolo Zenden.
Kewell was injured for the start of the 2007-08 season, and he faced an uncertain future at Liverpool having suffered yet another injury, which has sidelined him for the first month of the Premier League season. Kewell returned as a substitute in Liverpool's Carling Cup victory over Cardiff City F.C. on October 31, coming on in the 71st minute. He has since come on as a substitute in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League against Blackburn and Besiktas respectively. After his return Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez stated on the club's website and to other members of the media that a new contract for Harry to continue his career at Anfield is not out of the question. Many believe that if Kewell can stay injury free until the seasons end he will be offered the chance to remain with the club. Kewell himself has often stated his desire to end his English Premier League Career with the club before returning to Australia to end his career along with fellow English-based Australians Tim Cahill, Lucas Neill and Brett Emerton in the Australian domestic competition - The A-League.
|Full name||Harold Kewell|
|Date of birth||22 September 1978 (1978-09-22)|
|Place of birth||Sydney, Australia|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Playing position||Winger, Attacking Midfielder, Second striker|
|Current club||Free Agent|
1 Senior club appearances and goals