Leijer playing for Melbourne Victory in 2010
|Full name||Adrian Leijer|
|Date of birth||25 March 1986|
|Place of birth||Dubbo, Australia|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position||Centre Back|
|2009||→ Norwich City (loan)||4||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10 February 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Leijer was born, and largely grew up in, the New South Wales town of Dubbo to a family of Dutch and English heritage. He played from Under 10 - Under 14 with SASS Strikers Junior Soccer Club in the Dubbo & District Soccer Association. Whilst with SASS, he represented Western New South Wales and New South Wales Country in football. In 1998, Leijer was a co-captain of Orana Heights Public School in Dubbo.
When Leijer was 15 years old his family moved south to Jan Juc on Victoria's surf coast and attended Belmont High School where he joined Geelong SC and represented the U-15's Victorian Country team. Ian Greener, then Head of Coaching & Development at the Victorian Soccer Federation, spotted his talent and recommended him to the head coach of the Victorian Institute of Sport Football program, Ernie Merrick.
Leijer spent two years at the Victorian Institute of Sport and then moved on to the Melbourne Knights for the last season of the now defunct National Soccer League, where he made 18 appearances during a season where the club finished second last in the competition.
While still training at the VIS, Leijer and his future team mate Kristian Sarkies were selected to trial with Premier League Everton Football Club for three weeks. However, they both failed to impress and returned home to Australia.
Upon his return to Australia, he was signed by Melbourne Victory, a team in the new A-League competition. His former VIS coach Ernie Merrick, who had taken the reins at Melbourne Victory, stated; "Adrian is a reliable and uncompromising defender with a football maturity beyond his years. He is already part of the senior leadership group within the club and is the second youngest player in the squad,"
The club's first season was reminiscent of Leijer's time at the Melbourne Knights as Melbourne Victory finished second last overall. Leijer, however, played 20 games for the club, only missing their final game against the New Zealand Knights through suspension. At the end of the season he was awarded the Players' Player of the Year and Clubman of the Year awards.
Melbourne Victory's second season was more successful, starting with seven straight wins and culminating in a 6-0 victory over Adelaide United in the Grand Final. At the A-League's end of season awards, Leijer won Young Player of the Year.
Leijer consistently played for the Fulham reserve team throughout the 2007–2008 season and was also included in the squads to face both Liverpool and Reading, but stayed on the bench both times. Following Adrian's return to Fulham after an unsuccessful Olympic campaign with the Australian U/23's team, Leijer returned without having played any games in the Olympic tournament. Whilst tipped by Fulham reserve coach Billy McKinlay to make a greater impact in the first team that season, Adrian missed most of the club's pre-season due to the Olympic tournament and only made the bench once, in a League Cup defeat to Burnley.
On 2 February 2009, it was announced that Leijer has moved on loan to Norwich City until the end of the 2008–09 season, becoming Norwich City's 40th loan signing since they were relegated in their 2004–2005 season. This loan spell was mostly unsuccessful for Leijer, since it did not result in him seeing a great deal of first team action.
It was announced that Leijer would return again to Australia during their 2009-10 season, after being re-signed by his former Melbourne Victory for three years. Melbourne had suffered shallow defensive stocks with numerous key players unavailable prior to the announcement. After a promising start, slotting straight back in to the side hours after landing, former captain Kevin Muscat commented on his potential to be a key figure in the club. On February 2011, Adrian Leijer was appointed the captain of Melbourne Victory. Leijer was formerly the captain of Melbourne Victory from February 2011 to September 2013. On 17 September 2013, Leijer was replaced by Mark Milligan as Melbourne Victory's captain.
Adrian Leijer's first taste of the senior international scene was when he was selected by Guus Hiddink to train with the Socceroos before the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. After his short training stint with the senior team he continued being selected for Young Socceroos squads. He is currently a regular member of the Australia national under-23 football team, the Olyroos.
Leijer earned his first cap for the senior Australian national team against Singapore on 22 March 2008.
With Melbourne Victory:
- Leijer joins Fulham
- "Leijer Exclusive". Fulham Official Website. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- "Victory Bring Back Leijer". FourFourTwo Australia. 21 August 2009.
- "Adrian Leijer rejoins Victory". Fox Sports. 21 August 2009.
- "Jan Juc's Adrian Leijer flies into winning form for Melbourne Victory". Geelong Advertiser. 24 August 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- Bernard, Grantley (3 September 2009). "Muscat replacement looks to lead in future". Herald Sun. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- "Milligan to captain Victory in A-League". The Age (Melbourne).
- "Socceroo Mark Milligan confirmed as Melbourne Victory skipper for 2013-2014 A-League season". Herald Sun. 17 September 2013.
Young Player of the Year Award