Having spent the last couple of seasons playing overseas, Ben Garuccio will this season return to Melbourne City FC, the 25-year-old’s first professional club.
Garuccio said that he has seen a big transition for the Club since he left and could see there has been some big steps forward taken. He said the results on the pitch last season were clear evidence of this.
“Obviously being my first professional club and the club that gave me my first ever opportunity I've always had a little soft spot there so when PK called me and explained the opportunity of coming back, I was really excited,” Garuccio said.
He is one of just a handful additions to a City squad that is very similar to last season and Garuccio said the squad is in a good position to improve on last year and challenge for silverware.
“If you look around the group it's a really strong playing squad and there will be a lot of competition for spots,” he said, “That's what you want, there's competition every day and you know that you need to be at your best in every training session and every match.
“Having that competition each day is how you build that winning mentality and culture.”
Garuccio has spent the last two seasons playing at Scottish club Hearts of Midlothian FC and he said there were some big differences from the A-League and it took him a while to adapt initially.
“Here most teams try and play out from the back but over there it's much more direct so you have to adapt to a completely different style and then obviously on top of that you've also got the cold weather to adjust to as well,” he said.
Now having returned to the A-League and Melbourne City, Garuccio said he is a much more experienced and well-rounded player than he was when he left.
“I've been through quite a lot as a footballer,” he said, “I did my knee while I was over in Scotland which was probably one of the hardest points of my career but I really tried to remain positive throughout that whole process.”
This was an ACL injury sustained in a training session in March last year but Garuccio said after going through everything he went through; he now is a more confident and stronger player.
“I think that if I can get through such a serious injury on the other side of the world where you've got no one and not much support outside of football, I can get through anything,” he said.
Upon re-joining City, Garuccio was already very familiar with new A-League Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo, having played alongside him for three seasons, including two where Kisnorbo was captain.
“As a captain he was probably one of the best leaders I've played with and now seeing that transition into a gaffer, for me, he's still got all of those same qualities,” Garuccio said.
“Everyone can speak to him and everyone has a good personal relationship with him which is very important.”
Garuccio joins a team where the Club’s most established player, captain Scott Jamieson, plays in the exact same position as him, but he said it isn’t something he’s worried about.
“I welcome that and I think if you don't have that competition you start to get really comfortable because you know that even if you’re not playing at your best, you are still going to play and I don’t think that is healthy,” Garuccio said.
“I think some players would love that but for me personally, I like to get out of my comfort zone.”
Garuccio said that in the earlier stages of his career, playing was the most important thing but now at 25, he wants to be part of a successful club and is less selfish in the sense of wanting to play every match.
“I just want to play in a team that's going to be competitive, up the top of the table, and winning things,” he said, “I've never won a trophy so for me that's a huge goal for myself to get some silverware and I think this is the best possible place for me to do that.”
“Helping to bring a first A-League title to the Club would be massive for myself and the whole organisation.”