What can you say about Josh Evans that isn’t already known? He is a strong and rock-solid central defender who reads the game better than most, but for all his brilliant skills with the ball, he also possesses without it; commanding and daring leadership and a winning mentality that has been at the crux of Edgeworth’s recent success. Josh only joined the NPL Northern NSW league in 2014 after moving from Queensland, but in that time has already enjoyed four premierships and two championships. He caught up with league correspondent Quentin to discuss his fantastic football journey so far including his time playing in QLD, his move to Edgeworth and why the club is so special to him, and all the challenges he’s faced along the way.
Where did you start your junior career and how did you progress into senior football?
I started out at the Capricorn Coast Eagles, which play out of a competition in Yeppoon, Central Queensland. I was about 15 when I started playing Senior football so it was good for development at such an early age.
Tell me about your playing history- What teams have you played for and when?
I played at the Capricorn Coast Eagles until about 15 years of age then represented Central Queensland and QLD Country through out my younger years. I then played for Brisbane Strikers in the National Youth League from 2003-04 then spent two years at Taringa Rovers. I won a QSL Championship with Pine Rivers in 2005, played at Souths United in 2006, then returned to Brisbane Strikers in 2007. I then took a break from playing soccer after joining the Defence Force, then in 2009, played with the North Queensland Razorbacks from 2009-12. That’s when I moved to Newcastle for work. I played for Nelson Bay for a year before then joining Edgeworth.
What player has been one of your favourite players to play with and you have admiration for and why?
Since Brisbane Strikers in 2003, I looked up to recently retired Brisbane Roar player Matt McKay. His professionalism and work ethic were unparalleled to any other player at the time. It helped inspire and motivate me in my work ethic on and off the field.
Which player is the hardest to play against? And why?
I participated in two Brisbane Roar Preseason Camps and playing against Alex Brosque was definitely a challenge I will not forget. In this competition, Kane Goodchild is one of the hardest to defend, and maybe Daniel McBreen when he has his legs.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing football?
I have a wife and two dogs, so spending time with them is a priority between football and work. I like motorbikes, guitar and reading up on finance and the stock market.
What do you do for work? Have you completed any studies?
I am currently in the RAAF and have been for ten years. I am called an Aircraft Safety Equipment Maintainer. I have previously studied a little while in fitness whilst I was in Brisbane and have completed a Cert IV in Fitness. I am currently quite passionate about finance and have started investing in stocks more and enjoy educating myself on that.
What was behind the reason for the move south to Newcastle? And how did you find and enjoy the move?
I first moved to Brisbane from Yeppoon to pursue a soccer career. After a few frustrating years, two knee surgeries and a stint at the AIS, the chips seemed to not fall in my favour. Whilst friends around me were moving on with their lives I was stuck playing soccer at a semi-professional level and I wanted more. It came to a point where I decided to pursue a career in which I could do both. The RAAF allowed me to play and work at the same time. The RAAF sent me to Newcastle in 2013. Being in the RAAF, you move around quite a bit and don’t really have a say in where you go. Luckily I found myself at a great club in Edgeworth. It was a challenging at first to find my feet in a new environment. When I first got to Newcastle an old mentor Robbie Middleby from NQ Fury gave me some numbers to ring for the coaches of Broadmeadow and Hamilton at the time. Both teams did not seem interested at all, so I decided to go play for Nelson Bay F.C. for a year just to see if I enjoyed the game again. Then I was approached whilst playing for Nelson Bay by a spectator who thought Edgeworth would be a good fit. Six years on and it definitely has been the right choice for me.
You’ve spent a bit of time now at Edgeworth and have been their proud captain – what is it about the club that you love so much?
The best part about the club is the unwavering support from everyone involved in the club. There are no egos or negativity at the club. Regardless of the outcomes, the club is supportive of all players. There is a culture of player development and hard work – if you put in the work, the opportunities will come. Everyone has to earn their spot on the field, week in and week out, which makes players work harder, regardless of status or age.
You have been touted and known as one of the best defenders in the competition for many years noww. Did you ever have thoughts of attempting to progress to that higher level?
I really did in my younger years. However, after what was thought as a career ending knee surgery at the worst possible time, I really thought I probably wasn’t going to make it. It ruined my chances of going to the under 20’s World Cup. It was difficult to lose that opportunity. That is why I joined the Defence Force, but in the back of my mind I sometimes wonder where I would have ended up if I stayed in Brisbane.
You now spent a bit of time now playing with former A-League champions in Josh Rose and Daniel McBreen. How is that? And what kind of things have you learnt from it?
It is great to have an opportunity to play with ex A-League players and learn from their experiences. They always bring consistency and professionalism to the field, which is great for myself and younger players to feed off. They are both very down to earth and are always willing to share their football knowledge and experience with the group.
Most memorable moments of your career so far?
I played ten minutes for the Brisbane Strikers vs Football Kingz F.C. in the NSL in 2004 at age 16 which I will never forget. Winning QSL State League with Pine Rivers was also memorable. The ups and downs of playing with Edgeworth over the last five and a half years have also been unforgettable; We have had a lot of great moments, but in particular representing Edgeworth against A-League clubs.
Most influential person in your career?
A coach by the name of Peter Tokesi. He gave me the opportunity to move from Central Queensland down to Brisbane for the National Youth League. He also gave me the opportunity to go to the AIS. Although he gave me these opportunities, his coaching and mentorship is what has shaped me and my football career.
What are you hoping to achieve from this year’s season individually? And as a team?
Individually, remain consistent and injury free. As a team, we have set out a goal to win the premiership and hopefully chase another Grand Final win.
What’s your plans for the future of your career, and where are you hoping to progress?
Just keep on playing and keep on enjoying myself. The day I stop enjoying it is the day I won’t play anymore. We will be in Newcastle for another two years for work, so after that we will wait and see where my career takes me and if football can be a part of that.