Chianese keen to build on late success


It was undoubtedly one of Glory’s best goals of last season. 30 minutes had elapsed in the finals clash with Melbourne City at AAMI Park when Diego Castro, who had already given the visitors an early lead, sent an inch-perfect pass into the path of Joel Chianese.

The former Sydney FC man took control out on the right without breaking stride, cut inside the defender, opened his body up and curled a stunning, left-foot shot beyond Dean Bouzanis into the far corner of the net.

The goal capped what was a strong finish to the campaign for Chianese who started the last five games having previously featured largely off the bench.

And he admitted to being frustrated at not having had the opportunity to continue his fine run of late-season form.

“I knew that I’d come to an established team at Glory and that I would have to be patient and wait for my chance,” he said.

“It didn’t come until late in the season and then I didn’t want the season to end because I was starting to play well, get some momentum and I scored a couple of goals.

“Hopefully I can kick on again now at the start of this coming season.

“With that Melbourne City goal, you know that you can put yourself anywhere and Castro will find you. I like to cut inside and then I just thought I’ll have a strike here and fortunately it came off.”

That burgeoning understanding with Castro has its roots off the field where Chianese’s love of languages has enabled him to forge a close connection with the club’s Spanish maestro.

“I have an Italian background and my grandparents taught me Italian when I was really young,” he explained.

“I’ve always been able to pick languages up quite easily and I can chat to Castro because Spanish is quite similar to Italian.

“We became roommates last season and became quite close and that definitely helped our understanding on the pitch as well.

“I used to joke that when he was talking to his wife in Spanish in the hotel room I could understand what he was saying!”

The 27-year-old’s linguistic flair and willingness to embrace new cultures also served him well during a recent stint in Malaysia where he hit a rich vein of form before seemingly becoming the unwitting victim of club politics.

“After my fourth season with Sydney FC,” he said, “I was a free agent looking for a club, but unfortunately I couldn’t find anything in the A-League.

“I was lucky enough that Mike Mulvey, the former Brisbane Roar coach, got a job over in Malaysia at Sabah FA and asked me to sign for them.

“I snapped up the chance to go over because it was a chance to get back playing professionally. I went to Sabah mid-season and filled one of the four foreigner spots.

“We were doing quite well to start with, but towards the end of the season, two of our other foreign players got injured and our results dropped off. We ended up finishing mid-table and the guys running the club decided they wanted to start afresh and not keep any of the foreign players. That was disappointing, but I had done really well and I knew it had been a chance for me to get plenty of game time.

“For the next season, I signed with Negeri Sembilan FA where another Aussie, Gary Phillips, was in charge. There were four Australians there, including Andrew Nabbout. We were doing really well and running second and Andrew and myself were the top scorers at the club. Then for reasons we still don’t understand, we were told we weren’t needed. We were back in Australia during the Ramadan break and were told by email not to come back. Sometimes these things just happen in Malaysian football.

“I was probably playing some of the best football I’ve ever played at the time, but it worked out ok in the end because Andrew went to Newcastle and did well there last season and I came to Glory.

“I tried to learn a bit of the language over there and joke around with the locals and I think they could see that I was trying to make an effort and appreciated it. I found that it made life a lot easier on and off the pitch.”

Having entered the professional ranks fairly late and subsequently endured his fair share of the game’s ups and downs, it is perhaps unsurprising that the likeable Sydneysider has already taken steps to prepare for life after football.

“I only started playing professionally at 20 or 21,” he explained, “and before that I worked in an office in Parramatta, so I’ve experienced both worlds. That has really given me a greater appreciation of being a pro footballer, that’s for sure

“Last year, with the help of the PFA, I did a real estate sales course. I’m quite interested in property and I did some work experience with a company called Ethos Property. I was learning the basics and the guy there recommended that I did the course, so I did that and completed it.

“You have to be realistic and know that your playing career is not forever and the sooner you start building up some other qualifications, the better.

“In terms of actually owning properties, though, a lot of the other lads at Glory are far more advanced than me!”