Crossing the white line proved the easy part. Once on the pitch the uncertainty could be blocked out and his sole focus was football. Perth Glory midfielder Steve McGarry shares with the PFA the side of being footballer that often takes the biggest toll on their lives and those around them.

A frantic interchange of passes sees the ball driven into the striker who in turn neatly plays the ball into the overlapping midfielder who impressively lays it into the path of the striker to finish past the goal keeper.

The midfielder continues to buzz about the training pitch coming short to receive the ball, laying it off then quickly sprinting to get in behind the defence. The embodiment of training the way he plays Steve McGarry is full enthusiasm.

Throughout the Scots almost four years at the club he has been the same week-in-week out. Once on the pitch no matter the distractions he has faced he has been able been to focus solely on football.

Soon into our interview it becomes clear that this has been far from easy at times. Despite being one the club’s most consistent performers, and last season’s Player of the Year, he has had to contend regularly with uncertainty regarding his future having only signed a one year contracts in each of the last two campaigns.

Being a visa player it has meant that not only his future at Perth has been up in the air but also he and his family’s ability to stay in the country they now call home.

“Being a footballer can be pretty hard going and I don’t think people on the outside understand how hard it is dealing with things like coming out of contract,” McGarry says. “Last season and the season before everything was left until the last minute and we were not sure whether I was going to be offered a new contract or whether we could stay in Perth.

“Once I got on the pitch it didn’t effect me, I have always been able to block everything else out but away from the pitch it can effect you. Maybe it didn’t me as much but the uncertainty does effect your family. They are wondering where are we going to go? We have two kids so we now have to consider things like where are we going to enroll them in school and all those concerns.”

Having played the vast majority of his career in Scotland  McGarry said the task of finding a new club in Australia is a very different one to what footballers face in the UK.

“You have so many clubs in the UK. If there are things not happening in Scotland there is always the possibility of going down south to England so you have plenty of options so there is not as much pressure I guess as there is here for jobs. Here your options are much more limited so if you are released and looking for a new club it is going to be hard, and for me being a visa playing even more so.”

The uncertain nature of football has made McGarry determined to avoid a similar scenario when he hangs up his boots. Having completed his UEFA B Licence in Scotland the 34-year-old has been taking steps towards forging a career post football.

“I think you just need to give yourself the best possible start and best possible chance to start another career and that is what I am trying to do. Whether or not it will turn out that way I don’t know, you never what is going to happen in life. It can be hard for footballers leaving the game and knowing what to do next and I think a lot of footballers find it hard and I can understand why.

“I started my coaching badges in Scotland and it is something I wanted to continue when I came out here but it was difficult as the coaching courses are in Canberra. Coaching is what I would like to do but there is not that many jobs and so that is why I took up the Business Diploma through the PFA Education Fund and I have actually really enjoyed it. My aim is to have a football academy so its something I am interested in and something I want to do for my own business.”

Having a focus outside of football has not only prepared him for life after but also has enabled him to be more comfortable on the pitch. “It has made me mentally more assured as you don’t have to worry so much. I guess it could effect your game without you really knowing it as you could be worried about what you are going to do after football.”

For McGarry, one of over 100 A-League players coming off contract at the end of the season, the uncertainty will remain for as long as he continues playing. As he says “that is football there are some real highs and real lows.” And it is anything but certain.