Corey Gameiro signed with Sydney FC while in Turkey during the U20 World Cup. The Young Socceroos striker played in all three World Cup games before returning to Australia to begin preparations for his first full season in the A-League. Though Sydney are finishing up their Italian tour with one more game to be played this week, Gameiro took some time out to discuss his loan spell at Wellington Phoenix last year, his move to Sydney and his expectations for the upcoming season:
From a street naming celebration to a visit to Venice, there have been plenty of off-field activities on your Italy our. How far along is the team on the field at this stage of pre-season?
"We were lucky to enjoy a few activities outside training but we worked really hard in Italy. I feel the team is coming together really well. It's always a challenge with new players coming in, trying to get on the same wavelength, but the progression we have made in a short time together has been impressive. We trained hard in Italy with one day off in three weeks, plus we played some tough games. Although we still have more work to do, I'm confident by the first game of the season against Newcastle, we will be ready."
Has there been a difference, for you, in training with and playing with Sydney FC as compared to Wellington Phoenix last season?
"I enjoyed my time at Wellington Phoenix after Ricki Herbert brought me on loan and I am thankful for that. It was a great opportunity for me to get back into the A-League and put myself in the shop window, so to speak. But having only been there for a short amount of time, it's difficult to compare Wellington and Sydney FC. Obviously, being a Wollongong boy, I'm very happy to have signed with Sydney FC and help the club move forward. I've enjoyed pre-season, which has been tough, but there is a real purpose to what we are doing. I wish Wellington all the best as I made some good friends there, but I'm a Sydney boy and I can't wait to play in the A-League for Sydney FC."
You've had a few loan spells since joining Fulham in 2011. How would regular playing time and stability affect your ability to contribute?
"There's no doubt that the more regularly you play and the more experience you gain, the more you can contribute to a team. Going on loan to Holland [at FC Eindhoven] before I went to Wellington helped me a lot. The Dutch have a great way of playing football and are very specific in their development of young players."
There are several high profile veterans at Sydney FC. What do you think the role of the younger players, like yourself, is within the club?
"Playing with players of the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Nicky Carle and Brett Emerton can only help all the younger players, including myself, to learn and observe their behaviors, and help me become a better player. All the younger players at the club understand that having many high profile players is a bonus not only for the team but for us as individuals. That applies not only to the three experienced players I have named, but they are each very close with the younger boys, which is great for the team as they are always willing to help."
You signed a two-year contract with Sydney back in June. Where do you want to be in your career development when that contract's terms expire in the winter of 2015?
"After my loan spell at Wellington, I had a lot of attention from a number of A-League clubs. After speaking with Frank Farina and discussing what he wants out of the players this season and what I can expect from myself, we had very similar goals and beliefs. I wanted to be part of a club where I am going to learn and develop but also a club that is serious about finishing as high up the table as possible. At the moment I'm not looking too far into the future, just concentrating on being at my best for the start of the current season and continuing to work hard. The rest will take care of itself."
What are you most looking forward to upon returning from your Italy tour?
"The benefits of being at home. Being away from family is always difficult, especially for the players in the team who have their own wives and kids. For me, I'll just be looking forward to getting back to my own bed and not having to wake up in the same room as Peter Triantis and Daniel Petkovski. HaHa."