Joey Didulica

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Joey Didulica
Personal information
Full name Joseph Anthony Didulica
Date of birth (1977-10-14) 14 October 1977 (age 36)
Place of birth Geelong, Australia
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
North Geelong Warriors
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1996 North Geelong Warriors 1 (0)
1996–1999 Melbourne Knights 60 (0)
1999–2003 Ajax 16 (0)
2001 Germinal Beerschot (loan) 2 (0)
2003–2006 Austria Vienna 87 (0)
2006–2011 AZ 29 (0)
Total 195 (0)
National team
1998-2000 Australia U23 10 (0)
2004–2006 Croatia 4 (0)
Teams managed
2012– Melbourne Heart (youth GK coach)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Joseph Anthony "Joey" Didulica (Croatian pronunciation: [ˈdidulit͡sa][lacks tonal diacritics]; born 14 October 1977) is an Australian-born Croatian former footballer who played as a goalkeeper. On 11 October 2011 he announced to quit his career after ongoing neck and head complaints.[1]

Club career[edit]

Didulica was born in Geelong, Victoria to a Croatian father, Luka, a Croatian-Australian mother, Mary and an older brother, John and sister, Trish. His father emigrated to Australia from Poličnik, a village in northern Dalmatia, about 10 kilometres outside of Zadar.

He started to play football in the North Geelong Warriors. In 1996, he moved to the Melbourne Knights, a club whose team primarily consists of Australian Croats, and played for them until 1999. Then he transferred to Ajax Amsterdam, whence he was first loaned to Belgian side Germinal Beerschot for a couple of months in 2001 before eventually moving to Austria Vienna in 2003. After spending three seasons as a regular in goal for Austria Wien, Didulica returned to the Netherlands and was signed by AZ Alkmaar. He made seven Eredivisie appearances with the club before being forced to take a longer break following a brain concussion he sustained in a league match against PSV Eindhoven in October 2006 after being hit with the ball in his head from a shot by Eindhoven's Australian international Jason Čulina.[2]

On 24 April 2006, an Austrian court sentenced Didulica to a fine of 60,000 euros on the count of physical injury resulting from negligence, for slamming Rapid Wien's Axel Lawaree at a Vienna derby in May 2005.[3]

In June 2007, Didulica successfully appealed the decision of the lower court to the High Court of Vienna. The original charges against Didulica were quashed and he was acquitted of everything, the Court ruling Didulica had played the ball, not acted unreasonably and did not intend to cause injury to the opponent.

On 11 October 2011, Didulica announced his retirement from football due to his persistent neck and head injuries.[4]

International career[edit]

In 2000, Didulica was selected to the Australian squad for the Sydney Olympics, but had to withdraw due to injury and never received an international cap for the Australian national team at A-level. In 2004, he decided to play for the country of his parents. According to Didulica, his decision was based on the fact that he had not been selected to represent Australia by then coach Frank Farina. Additionally, Australia had not qualified for a World Cup for around 30 years and he saw more opportunities for success with Croatia, who qualified for both World Cups they entered at the time.

He made his debut for the Croatian national team in a friendly match against Macedonia on 28 April 2004 in Skopje and was subsequently selected to be part of the Croatian team at the Euro 2004 finals, where he served as the second-choice goalkeeper without making an appearance. He was a member of the Croatian team in both the qualifying and finals of the 2006 World Cup, but did not play a single minute during the competitions as Tomislav Butina played eight of ten qualifiers and was replaced in the remaining two qualifiers by Stipe Pletikosa, who also played every minute in all three games at the finals. In more than two years of being part of the Croatian national team, Didulica only made four appearances in friendly matches, against Macedonia, Korea Republic, Hong Kong and Austria. Just a month after the end of the 2006 World Cup, Didulica announced his retirement from international football with an explanation that he wants to concentrate more on his club career.

Personal life[edit]

Joey's older brother, John, a lawyer and former football player, is the manager of the football business at the new Melbourne Heart franchise in Australia's A-League. He was formerly the CEO of the Australian Professional Footballers' Association.

In January 2006, Joey married fiancée Kate. The couple now have a daughter Angelina (7) and two sons Luka (6) and Nicolas (3) .

Honours[edit]

Club honours[edit]

Netherlands Ajax

Austria Austria Wien

Netherlands AZ

References[edit]

External links[edit]