JOSH Rose is an A-League champion. One of the stalwarts of football in this country.
But he might not be where he is now without a life-changing move to play in the eastern European country of Romania.
Rose had just ended a short spell with the now-defunct New Zealand Knights after starting his playing career in the National Soccer League with the Brisbane Strikers and the young man from Rockhampton had a decision to make if he wanted to continue in football.
He chose to, but it would mean doing so in Romania – a country he knew little about.
“It was at a time when no A-League club wanted to sign me, so I was at that crossroads,” Rose told Australian Regional Media.
“I was asking myself ‘do I take this opportunity or not?’. At the end of the day it was the only thing I had, so it was either playing in Romania or look for a ‘real job’, pretty much.
“It was kind of good I went with that attitude as it was my last chance to be a footballer and the culture and the lifestyle over there worked well for me.
“It was a culture shock, but it turned out to be a great move in the end.”
Rose said there were some tough times in his 113 games for the now-defunct Universitatea Craiova, but that his experience stood him in good stead for the rest of his career.
“The fans were crazy, very passionate and they just loved the game,” he said.
“We lost our last game in the third season I was there, which meant we finished sixth instead of fourth and lost out on a Europa League place.
“Our fans were not happy about that and came on the field. They were also ripping seats out and hurling them at us. It was definitely an eye-opener and made me appreciate what we have in this country really.”
With his Romanian club struggling to pay players and threatened with closure, Rose made the decision to return home and became Graham Arnold’s first signing as the new boss of the Central Coast Mariners in 2010.
Six years ago this week Rose made his debut, before helping the Mariners to an A-League premiership in 2012 and a grand final win over Western Sydney in 2013.
The left-back has gone on to become one of the most consistent performers in the competition and has seen the A-League continue to improve.
“The league has definitely improved every year I have been here,” he said.
“I was lucky to come into a good squad when I first arrived at Central Coast and I think we finished in the top two for three years in a row – us and Brisbane Roar.
“I came in when it was a very good Roar side and we needed to better ourselves to be as good as them.
“And then when we got ourselves to the top we felt like we had to keep improving each year to stay at the top and, for me, that is the tell-tale sign that the league is continuing to improve.”
Rose puts a lot of that down to Australian coaches.
“They are working harder, they are learning more and they are adapting better these days,” he said.
“I spent four years in Romania and we had a couple of coaches from Italy and some from Romania, and a lot of the Aussie coaches I have had a little bit to do with such as Ange (Postecoglou), Arnie (Graham Arnold) and even the likes of Poppa (Tony Popovic) and Musky (Kevin Muscat), the work they put in and the knowledge they have and how to adapt to different styles, they are at least on a par with the coaches over there.”
Rose is 35 in December and has already set some plans in place for his retirement.
He is unsure of when that day may come but he certainly knows what he wants when he finally hangs up his boots.
“Definitely football and development is a big part of my life,” he said.
“It’s something I want to continue with when I have finished, playing with my academy. Setting up that on the Central Coast is a big ambition of mine.
“It’s been a big part of my life, the Central Coast, so I feel like I want to give the community something back and hopefully I can do that by helping develop a lot of kids around the area.”
And as far as coaching A-League is concerned?
“I don’t see that in my future but you never know.”
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