Having recently been awarded the PFA’s Kimon Taliadoros Scholarship in recognition of his efforts away from football, Manny Muscat reveals why he has been so committed to improving himself off the pitch and what the support from the PFA has meant to him.

Since the PFA’s education support was established countless players have been assisted in their efforts to develop away from the game. Players have been provided with financial support to undertake scuba diving instructor courses, law degrees, Masters programs and many others in a variety fields.

However, none have  acquired the qualifications and skills necessary to build a house, wire it up and market and promote their business. In his eight years at the Wellington Phoenix, Manny Muscat managed to do just that.

When Muscat joined the Phoenix at the age of 23 he was already a qualified builder. It might have been easy for him to rest on his laurels and enjoy professional football, comfortable that he had a trade to fall back on. This was not the route taken by the now Melbourne City defender.

“Before I turned pro at the age of 23 I had been building homes and I was a registered builder. My family are property developers, we had an estate down in the western suburbs of Melbourne and we subdivided about 177 allotments,” said the Malta International.  “We sold off the ones we needed and kept the majority.

“When I turned pro I did miss it. I had a lot of time on my hands so I thought I could grow the business whilst I’m here and when the time comes I can get it straight back to the pace it was at prior to turning pro straight away and I would have more trades under the same umbrella. My brother is now a qualified plumber, I’m a registered builder and during my time at the Phoenix I became a qualified electrician. I have also learned how to draw concepts and do the marketing side as well. Whatever I have done has been to tie into the overall goal of property development.”

Having recently welcomed his third child into the world, Muscat said at times juggling his football and family commitments, along with his off field development, was very challenging.

“The older you get the more obstacles you have to jump. In your early days you don’t have to worry about kids etc but as you get older you do. When kids get involved life changes and to find that time is hard. It got harder for me. I’m not sure how I managed to find the time but I knew the end result would be very beneficial for myself and my family.”

The key for Muscat was utilising the spare time he had the best way he could.

“What was beneficial was that every flight for us was an International flight so we would have to get in two hours before and every flight and the flight was a minimum three and half hours and then there would be a bus ride at the other end, so technically all my off site education, schooling wise, was done then. I spent eight years at the Phoenix so imagine how much time I had. I also had some trips to Europe as well with the National Team so I just constantly put aside hours to study.”

Named in honour of PFA Co-founder and Life Member Kimon Taliadoros, the scholarship is warded annually to two players who demonstrate excellence in their development off the field, such as through education, business or community involvement.  Muscat he was honoured to have been selected by his peers as the recipient and said the support he had received from the PFA Player Development Program, in particular PFA Player Development Manager Helen Regan, had been invaluable.

“On a personal scale having funding is a big plus. Winning the award is an even bigger plus. My courses did cost more than the available money but I’m sure as the game grows there will be funds to cover the whole cost. It has been a big help and I’m sure that is the case especially for the younger boys.

“Helen has been very important to me. Her connections are great. I mentioned to her what my plans were and she did all the groundwork. She has those connections that allows her to do that. If you have someone in your corner helping you that much you don’t want to let them down. Helen has done so much for the Phoenix players and I’m forever grateful.”


For more information on PFA education support and scholarships contact your Player Development Manager or National Manager, Player Development Ben Robertson via ben@pfa.net.au