Twenty years ago, playing on a February afternoon in Perth would have meant near sub-zero temperatures and a frosty pitch. However, for one local lad football on a February afternoon in Perth now means lining up in 34-degree heat and sweating before he’s even kicked a ball.
No, this isn’t a result of global warming – former St. Johnstone midfielder and Perth-born Kevin Moon has travelled nearly 10,000 miles to the other side of the globe to Perth, WA and he is loving every minute.
Moon came through the local youth set-up and is a product of St. Johnstone’s youth development system. Like many local kids, he started learning on Saturday mornings on the AstroTurf at McDiarmid Park in the community coaching sessions organised by Atholl Henderson. He also played locally for Bankfoot, playing at an age group two years above his own before he was snapped up by St. Johnstone’s youth side.
And Kevin still fondly remembers his first steps towards a career in football:
“Everyone remembers Atholl’s Saturday morning sessions. I think almost every kid in Perth has been to at least one! It was a fun environment and it was where it all began for me. From there my love for football just grew and grew. It helped that my family loved football so much too. I grew up in Luncarty and all we used to do as kids was have big football matches down at Langland’s Park. Kids of all ages from across the village just having a big kick about. It’s a shame that it doesn’t seem to happen as much these days and kids are inside playing their computers more now!
“From there I went on to play for my older brother’s Bankfoot team for a few years before ending up at Saints. It was a dream come true to play for my local team and to have made the first-team and play a part in some very good seasons for the team was amazing.”
Moon went on to amass nearly 100 first-team appearances for Saints and played a big part in the club’s First Division title-winning season and played in the Europa League. Spells with Alloa and Raith followed, before he made the move to Australia.
“I had just become a bit disillusioned with Scottish football and I needed a change. My former Raith teammate Gordon Smith was already out there and that’s how it came about. Perth will always be my home but I was after something different – it’s still Perth but it’s a lot different to the one I was used too! I came back home for a few weeks during the close season to see family and friends which was nice but I am loving it out here.”
Kevin now plays for ECU Joondalup in the Western Australia Premier League and his side narrowly missed out on the title last season. As well as playing, the 29-year-old has also embarked on a career in coaching and is currently working with the club’s youth set-up which is held in high regard in Australia.
“I’d never really thought about what I would do after playing until I came out here and was offered the opportunity to coach the under 11’s side. It’s something I really enjoy doing and I think it’s where I see myself when I retire from playing. The kids are only ten-years-old so I just want them to enjoy playing and make my sessions all about fun and development.
It’s a great experience and the ECU Joondalup youth system is very highly regarded. They have produced a lot of players that have gone on to have good careers in football. I will try to use all that I’ve learned from my days in the St. Johnstone set-up and pass it on to my players here!”
Do you have a football mad child who would want to follow in Kevin’s footsteps? For more information on some of the local football coaching sessions available click here.