Former Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United midfielder Zenon Caravella goes 1v1 to give the PFA an insight into his final season as a professional footballer, the decision to retire and his next move.

Q. Last year you made the decision to return to the Jets after having announced your retirement, what was it like returning after having thought you were finished?

ZC: I think I was relieved as after a few months away it become clear I was not ready to retire. I quickly got back into it, it was like a normal, typical pre season. Everyone had been training for four months and I turned up a month before the start of the season. Everyone was working really hard to get themselves ready.


Q. Things on the pitch didn’t quite start the way you would have hoped did they?

ZC: After six games you started to get the feeling that things were unraveling. Even though it was so early it felt like a lost cause and like there was no way out.


Q. Mid way through the season things would take a dramatic turn when the club would try to sack five players, how difficult was that time at the club?

 ZC: It was really disappointing, as those five senior players had really supported the coach and the owner to the point, where they were really reliant on the senior players asking us ‘how do we get ourselves out of thismess?’ They then disregarded everything and basically used the advice against the players to try to get rid of them. It was really disappointing and damaging for the morale of the players.

There were a lot of young players who were worried about their own futures and had no guidance. I have seen it happen before unfortunately, so I had experience of being in a situation like that. At the end of the day it just felt like a lost cause and you had to do what you could do to finish the season.

It was really hard because as players you have that drive to win, otherwise you would not be playing in the A-League. We were so short on numbers and you were relying on young players who were having so much put on them. For all of us it damaged your value as a player and had a big impact on whether or not you would get a new contract anywhere in the A-League.


Q. At the season’s end things would again take a turn for the worse and you would go without pay, how did you get through this with a young family of your own?

ZC: After dealing with everything on the field, we were then having to deal with even more off the pitch. When you have the head coach and the CEO saying that it doesn’t really matter if you are being paid late it makes you wonder. We have bills to be paid and we are just like everyone else.


Q. In the end you made the decision to retire, what were the reasons behind that decision?

ZC: I had a bit of interest in the A-League from other clubs but it got to a point where I was thinking ‘am I going to move my family around Australia again?’ It would not have been something new but it is really hard on them. I would love to have been a one club player and would have loved to have stayed at the Gold Coast for 10 years but it was not to be. It was time to settle down and stop dragging my family around to give them some stability.


Q. A few months down the line how do you feel about the decision now?

ZC: I feel much more at peace this time. Last year I was not quite ready. Even though last season was tough I enjoyed every minute. I’m now doing ambassador work for Queensland Football and Far North Queensland and I have my academy, which has just started a partnership with Gareth Edds’s football academy. I’m getting real buzz out of the game teaching kids.

For me it is all I have done. From the moment I was young kid watching my uncle (Frank Farina) play for Australia I have always wanted to be a footballer, it was all I dreamt about and to be honest all I have ever done well.


Q. Having seen the passion for football in the region how important is it that Brisbane Roar resolve the current situation at the club?

ZC: It is huge because Brisbane has been such a powerhouse and has been the benchmark for the last few years. It is hugely important that players from regional areas such as Cairns have players to look up to in the state. They need to get themselves back on track.


For more information on Zenon’s coaching academy go to:

For more information on the Gareth Edds coaching academy go to:

Each week the PFA will go 1v1 with a current or former player to gain an insight into the lives of professional footballers on and off the pitch.