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Paul Wade
OAM
Personal information
Full name Paul Wade
Date of birth (1962-03-20) 20 March 1962 (age 60)
Place of birth Cheshire, England
Position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984 Green Gully 28 (4)
1985–1986 Brunswick Juventus 49 (11)
1987–1995 South Melbourne 212 (27)
1995 Heidelberg United 6 (0)
1995–1997 Canberra Cosmos 45 (11)
Total 340 (53)
National team
1985 Australia B 2 (1)
1986–1996 Australia 84 (10)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Paul Wade OAM (born 20 March 1962) is an Australian retired soccer player, who is best known for his long-term role as captain of the Socceroos, Australia's national soccer team.

Club career

Born in Cheshire, England, Wade moved to Australia with his parents at age 11. By 1984, he had attained Australian citizenship and represented his adopted country for the first time, playing for Australia's "B" side against Tasmania. That same year, he made his debut in the National Soccer League with the Green Gully Cavaliers.

Wade played just one season with Green Gully before joining Brunswick Juventus the following season and helping them win the 1985 NSL Championship. He played two seasons with Brunswick before joining South Melbourne FC where he spent eight seasons, winning another NSL title in 1991, the NSL Cup in 1990 and a minor premiership (first overall at the end of the regular season) in 1993. Wade was also named NSL Player of the Year in 1988.

He joined the Canberra Cosmos in 1995 for what would be his final two seasons, but was unable to help the team from the bottom of the standings in either campaign. He announced his retirement from competitive football in 1997 at the end of the NSL season.

Wade's club career was spent entirely in Australia, a rarity for players from that country who often go to Europe on the lure of a better quality of football, more passionate fan support and higher salaries. Wade played a total of 345 games in the NSL.

International career

Wade's 84 "A" international appearances for Australia make him the second most capped player in the country's history (only Alex Tobin, with 87, had more). In total, Wade played 118 games for Australia between 1986 and 1996. He represented the Socceroos at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea and in two FIFA World Cup qualifying campaigns (1990 and 1994).

One of his most famous moments came in 1993, during qualifying for the 1994 World Cup when Australia faced Argentina. Faced with the dubious honour of marking star Diego Maradona, Wade was valiant in helping Australia stay in the two games, although they would eventually lose 2–1 on aggregate goals following a 1–0 defeat in Buenos Aires.

His final international game was on 1 November 1996 in Canberra against Tahiti in the 1996 OFC Nations Cup final, which Australia won.

After retirement

Wade's experience and popularity as an Australian international allowed for an easy transition to a career as a sports presenter. Wade has worked as a commentator and analyst with both the Seven Network and SBS. He has also appeared on cable television channels TVN and Fox Sports 1 as a soccer analyst, but currently appears on Sky News.

He also began the Paul Wade Soccer Schools program, which visits primary schools in various locations around Australia developing the game of football. They have quickly risen to become the leading football development program in the country, aiming to help kids "play like a Socceroo legend." He coached the Scots College 1st XI football team in 2009.

Paul Wade also recently attended the Cerebral Palsy Football National Championships held between NSW, Queensland and a combined team featuring players from NSW, Victoria and the ACT. This took place at the Sydney Academy of Sport. Paul Wade is known to be a big supporter of disabled sports. Following this appearance, his interest grew and as of 20 July 2007 he has been ratified as Patron of the Cerebral Palsy Sporting and Recreation Association (CPSARA) of NSW.

In 1995 Wade released his autobiography, Captain Socceroo: The Paul Wade story.

Paul has been an active and popular Patron of Victoria Police Soccer Club since 1995.

Wade has epilepsy and often makes appearances at functions dedicated to promoting awareness of the condition. He relapsed while attending a non-league training session in 2014, but made a full recovery afterwards.

In 2010 Wade provided commentary for the Age newspaper of Melbourne in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup. He replied to the opening question "Can Australia get through its group?" with "When the draw first came out and people around the world were saying [group D] is the group of death, I think they were saying it because of us."

Paul was confirmed as a 'Walking Football Ambassador' for the sport in June 2020 and has recently attended Walking Football Tournament at QUT Stadium in Brisbane, QLD on April 21, 2021, leaving everyone in awe of him sharing some of his fantastic stories and his great achievements.

Honours

With Australia:

With South Melbourne:

With Brunswick Juventus:

Personal honours: