At just 22-years-old, Braedyn Crowley has already featured and spent much of his career in the heights of the Hyundai A-League playing for both Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City as well as dominating at NPL level in Queensland, Victoria and now here again in Northern NSW. This season for Lambton Jaffas, Braedyn has spent most of the year at the top of the Golden Boot race and is consistently the man to watch for opposition defenders due to his incredible ability to score and create goals in abundance. With still so much time ahead for him, he has clear intentions of where he wants to be and how he’s going to get there, and he caught up with league correspondent Quentin, to discuss his future, and the journey he’s taken so far.
Where and when did you start your junior career and how did you progress into senior football?
I started my junior career with Nerimba Football Club in Rockhampton. My father was the coach and he had a rule that he would coach all of us kids for our first 2 years of our football. My father was a senior premier league coach for Saints Eagles South in Townsville which is where my career in senior football started. I trained with them from the age of 14 and started playing senior football with them at 15. In my first year of senior football I was lucky enough to play in a winning Grand Final alongside my two older brothers and with my dad as coach. My early progression to senior football definitely wouldn’t have been possible without them. I then played for North Queensland Fury. Whilst playing for them in a Pre-Season cup against A-League teams, I was fortunate enough to be asked along to train with the Newcastle Jets. Michael Bridges (who is now one of my coaches at Jaffas) played a key role in getting me to Newcastle. From the Jets I went to Melbourne and played for Northcote City in the NPL and then spent the almost three years after that at Melbourne City. I then had a short stint at FC Bulleen before making the move back to Newcastle and signing for Lambton Jaffas in the transfer window last year.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing football?
When I have a proper break, I like to get back home to Townsville to spend time with my family. Otherwise I like to take it pretty easy – gym, coffees and a bit of PS4.
What do you do for work? Are you currently studying? Or have you completed your studies, if so, in what field?
I currently work as a renderer. One of my team mates, Will McFarlane, owns a rendering business and took me on earlier this year. Top boss, top defender, but very average banter.
You’re originally a Townsville boy, how have you found living in Newcastle now? Do you feel at home here? Why?
Newcastle is 100% my second home now. I was essentially adopted by the Richards family and I consider them my family now – I often used to go have a break with them when I was in Melbourne instead of going home. I have also met my girlfriend here, so Newcastle holds a special place in my heart.
What player has been one of your favourite players to play with and you have admiration for? Why?
Luke Brattan would be one of the best players I have played and trained with. He has incredible vision and timing – one minute you think he is not in the game and suddenly he is there making a crucial pass. He has a way of slowing things down and giving himself all the time in the world. I have received a lot of guidance and help from some very good players like Tim Cahill and Neil Kilkenny but Luke helped me the most, he has always encouraged and believed in me.
Which player is the hardest to play against? And why?
Jade North comes to mind as a defender that I found hard to play against. Playing against Brisbane Roar, I knew that I had him for pace but he did everything he could to put me off my game either with niggling or a bit of chat. As a 17 year old, it was a quick, hard lesson learnt against a seasoned professional.
What was it like making your A-League debut? Talk me through it all.
It was a dream come true. It was very exciting and surreal realising the dreams I had visualised since I was a kid. I debuted for the Newcastle Jets against Western Sydney Wanderers and played about 5 minutes. Even though it was only a few minutes, I was so grateful to be out there and it was a very proud moment for not only myself but for my family and everyone who had helped me get to that stage. It’s a day I’ll never forget.
Do you have ambitions on returning to the A-League one day? If so, do you think you will get there?
Yes and yes. My goal is to play football at the highest level possible. I’m still only young and my motivation and ambition hasn’t changed. I think in this last year and a half, I have learnt more about myself and my football than ever before. I’m working hard and enjoying my game. If I’m completely honest, I think I’m a better suited player for the A-League now than I was a few years ago. I’m more mature, more confident and have no fear. I play my best football this way and will keep on doing whatever it takes to get back there.
Most memorable moments of your career so far?
That’s a hard one. Playing games in the A-League for both Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City was pretty special. But scoring a double in the NYL Grand Final for Melbourne City would have to be up there. I took and scored a penalty as the last kick of the game to get us the win.
Most influential person in your career?
My entire family has played a massive role in my football career. But my dad has been the most influential person every step of the way. He has always been my biggest supporter. He’s honest and will tell me exactly how it is.
What are you hoping to achieve for this years season? individually and as a team.
First and foremost, winning is our top priority. Of course, being premiers and champions is our goal and I 100% believe that’s achievable. Individually, winning the NPL NNSW Golden Boot and Player of the Season are my goals and have been from the start of the year.
What’s your plans for the future of your career? where are you hoping to progress?
Right now I’m focused on this season and being the best player that I can be for our team and club at Jaffas. I’m also focused on my full-time work and enjoying my football. I’m not sure what the future holds, but as I said previously, my goal is still to play football at the highest level possible.