Graham’s Oz adventure

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A Fraserburgh-born football coach has recently been celebrating success at the Australian Schoolboys U16 Football Championships.

Graham Fowlie, who emigrated to Australia nearly 50 years ago, coached the South Australia team to a silver medal in the tournament held in Adelaide earlier this month.

Graham himself played his schoolboy football in Strichen before representing Buchan Schools, Fraserburgh Academy and Buchanhaven Hearts.

His family emigrated to Adelaide when he was 16 for work opportunities and Graham signed for Burnside Budapest (now known as Campbelltown FC, in the National Premier League (NPL) as a junior for the U18s.

He finished up playing seniors that season at 18 in a semi-pro environment before going on to play for Cumberland FC in the Adelaide First Division as a senior semi-pro player.

“I learned a lot from different coaches, and finished up playing first division competitive football in Adelaide for a few years. Being paid helped and kept me in Australia,” Graham added.

“I started coaching at 26, injury forcing me out of the game. I coached for a number of years, and gave it away for a long time as the qualifications were still not recognised by FIFA.

“In 2008 it all changed when Australia was on the FIFA map after qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.

“I could see a future in coaching and have now progressed to Pro Licence in Australia and UEFA ‘A’ licence in Scotland.

“The squad I have had this year has been exceptional, selected from a pool of players throughout South Australia, but mainly Adelaide.

“The squad was a good blend, with a number of players being versatile in different positions.

“I still have ambitions to coach overseas professionally, and can see myself coaching for a number of years to come.

“Once I complete my licences next year, I have always wanted to coach in Scotland.

“I have spent many years in Australia, but I like the way football is played in Scotland.”