Joshua Kennedy

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For other people with the same name, see Josh Kennedy.
Joshua Kennedy
Joshua Kennedy.jpg
Personal information
Full name Joshua Blake Kennedy
Date of birth (1982-08-20) 20 August 1982 (age 34)
Place of birth Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
Height 194 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Twin City Wanderers
SS&A Boomers
1999 AIS
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2000 Carlton 4 (0)
2000–2002 VfL Wolfsburg 8 (2)
2002–2003 Stuttgarter Kickers 23 (1)
2003–2004 1. FC Köln 4 (0)
2004–2006 Dynamo Dresden 60 (16)
2006–2007 1. FC Nürnberg 12 (1)
2008–2009 Karlsruher SC 33 (7)
2009–2014 Nagoya Grampus 128 (63)
2015 Melbourne City 12 (2)
Total 284 (92)
National team
1999 Australia U-17 9 (0)
2001 Australia U-20 14 (7)
2006–2014 Australia 36 (17)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14:26, 26 June 2015 (UTC).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 14:26, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Joshua Blake "Josh" Kennedy (born 20 August 1982 in Wodonga, Victoria) is an Australian former professional soccer player, who last played as a striker for the Australia national soccer team and Melbourne City.

Kennedy is known by Australian fans as "Jesus" due to his apparent resemblance to traditional depictions of Jesus earlier in his playing career.[1][2]

Club career[edit]

Joshua Kennedy with Karlsruher SC in 2008.

Kennedy began playing junior soccer in Albury/Wodonga, near his hometown of Yackandandah in Victoria, Australia. There, he played with the Twin City Wanderers and later SS&A Boomers. His talents won a scholarship place in the Australian Institute of Sport program, leading to a professional contract at new National Soccer League club Carlton in 1999, alongside fellow AIS graduates Vince Grella and Mark Bresciano.

After a season, he made a move to Europe transferring to Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg. His debut as a substitute coming on five minutes from time in the 4–4 draw against fellow Northern German side Hamburger SV on 13 September 2000, at age 17 made him the youngest player ever to appear for VfL.[3] It was his only appearance for the first team that year, and the following season brought little change for Kennedy as he managed just seven appearances for the Bundesliga side, starting only once. However, he scored two goals in the 2001–02 season, with his first ever Bundesliga goal coming on 8 September 2001 against Energie Cottbus.

At the start of the following season Kennedy was transferred to Regionalliga Süd side Stuttgarter Kickers, where he was a regular feature playing 23 games for the Swabian side. After just one season Kennedy left for Cologne where he joined (at the time) Bundesliga club 1. FC Köln. However he mostly played for their reserve team in the Regionalliga Nord, where he was the club's second-top scorer of the season with nine goals in twenty-three games.

Having just won promotion to 2. Bundesliga, Dynamo Dresden were looking for a striker and found it in the then 22-year-old Victorian. This transfer, his fourth in four years, proved to be a vital one in Kennedy's career. He immediately found a first-team spot with the Saxon side and played in all of the club's thirty-four league matches – again becoming the second-top scorer of his club with nine goals. The following season he was again an integral part in the club's fight against relegation scoring seven goals and setting up four. This attracted the interest of Bundesliga club 1. FC Nürnberg who signed Kennedy to a three-year contract, and of Australian national coach Guus Hiddink who called the previously uncapped Kennedy up to the Australian Squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

In July 2006, during his first training session with Nürnberg, Kennedy ruptured his right Achilles tendon.

On 11 January 2008, fellow German Bundesliga club Karlsruher SC announced the signing of Kennedy via an undisclosed transfer fee. He is contracted until June 2011.[4] His first goal for Karlsruhe came on his debut against his former club Nürnberg in what would turn out to be a cruel twist of fate for the latter – just weeks after leaving them. Kennedy went on to score four goals in his first five appearances and was widely praised for his performances. However, following this stunning start he did not manage to score in 21 consecutive Bundesliga matches and finally lost his starting position. After a further disappointing appearance in an important cup tie on 28 January 2009, Kennedy was replaced in the second half of the match and subsequently refused to shake hands with his coach. Due to this behaviour, he was thrown out of the squad. On 2 February 2009, Kennedy once again made negative headlines when he announced his intention to leave the club as soon as possible.[5] After five months without any Bundesliga appearances Kennedy was finally allowed to return to the squad even though he still refused to apologise.[6] On 18 April 2009, he was part of the starting line-up for the first time since his suspension. Altogether, Kennedy started 20 of his 23 appearances but – after 27 goalless games – was only able to score twice in the final match of the season which proved to be of no relevance because Karlsruhe nevertheless was relegated from the Bundesliga.

On 17 June 2009, he signed a contract with Nagoya Grampus until 31 December 2011. Kennedy scored a goal on debut for Nagoya Grampus in his side's 1–1 draw. In the 2010 season, Kennedy helped Nagoya win their first-ever league title, becoming a joint top scorer with Ryoichi Maeda on 17 goals.[7] He was also named in the 2010 J. League Best Eleven. On 23 September 2011, Kennedy scored off a Kensuke Nagai cross to help his side to a 3–1 win over Vissel Kobe. The result put Grampus one point behind leaders Gamba Osaka and gave Kennedy his 15th goal of the 2011 J. League season,[8] putting him one goal above Ventforet Kofu's striker Mike Havenaar.[9] Kennedy finished the season with 19 goals and the J-league golden boot.

On 6 November 2014, it was announced that he had signed with Melbourne City as their Australian Marquee. He joined the team in January 2015. Kennedy debuted for City against Melbourne Victory, being substituted on the field for Safuwan Baharudin in the 60th minute. He opened his scoring account for City with their second goal in the clinical 3-2 win over Adelaide United. He added a second goal to his record with a composed finished against the Wellington Phoenix in their Finals eliminations clash.[10]

Kennedy announced his retirement from professional soccer on 26 June 2015 due to persistent injuries.[11] Kennedy finished his career with a J-League Championship, two J-League Golden Boots, a DFB Pokal Cup and 17 international goals for the Socceroos across three World Cup campaigns.

International career[edit]

Kennedy warming up before a game for Australia in 2010

In 1999, Kennedy represented Australia at the U17 World cup and the Young Socceroos in 2001 at the U20 Youth World Cup in Argentina.

Kennedy received his first international cap in a pre-2006 World Cup friendly against Liechtenstein and made his mark in this game with a headed goal. He came on as a substitute in Australia's first 2006 World Cup game, in which Australia beat Japan 3–1 by scoring three goals in the last eight minutes. Kennedy was touted as Hiddink's secret weapon against the Japanese because he was taller than all of the Japanese defenders. He followed this up with a second appearance as a substitute in Australia's third Group Stage game against Croatia.

Injury prevented Kennedy from participating in Australia's 2007 AFC Asian Cup campaign. Kennedy was recalled to the Socceroos squad to face Argentina in a friendly on 11 September. On 6 February 2008, he scored his second international goal against Qatar in a World Cup qualifier held in Melbourne, his third against South Africa, fourth against Holland and his fifth against Qatar again. On 1 April 2009, he scored his sixth goal for Australia, Kennedy came on as a substitute on the 60th minute for Scott McDonald and scored a header against Uzbekistan giving Australia a 1–0 lead.

Under new Socceroos coach Holger Oseick, Kennedy has flourished scoring eight goals in just five matches. These goals included two against New Zealand in June, the equaliser against Thailand in September, a double against Saudi Arabia, another double against Malaysia and Australia's second goal in a 3–0 win against Oman.

His most important goal, however, came in Australia's last World Cup qualification match on 18 June 2013. After not earning a game for over a year, he came on as a 77th-minute substitute for Tim Cahill and scored Australia's only goal against Iraq with an 83rd-minute header to secure a win and a spot in the World Cup finals.[12]

Nicknamed "Jesus" due to his former long haired aesthetic which many thought resembled traditional artistic representations of the Christian religious figure, many sections of the Australian media praised Kennedy as a "saviour" in their commentary during the World Cup Qualifying game against Iraq. Some publications chose to play on the fact that the statue of Christ The Redeemer statue is an iconic image of Rio and Kennedy's goal scoring celebrations were seen to mimic the pose of the statue.[2]

Headlines such as "Jesus Saves!" were amended as a result of complaints that largely focussed on religious insensitivity given that Iraq is a predominantly Muslim nation.[13]

Kennedy was selected for the Brazil 2014 World Cup squad, after his goal qualified Australia for the tournament. On 4 June 2014, at the socceroos' training camp near Rio, Kennedy was cut from the team due to injury.[14]


Kennedy is married to Australian Opals player Jacinta Hamilton.[15]

Career statistics[edit]

International goals[edit]

Josh Kennedy at Rotterdam Airport before leaving for the World Cup Finals in Germany in June 2006

Scores and results list Australia's goal tally first.

No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 7 June 2006 Donaustadion, Ulm, Germany  Liechtenstein 2–1 3–1 Friendly International
2. 6 February 2008 Telstra Dome, Melbourne  Qatar 1–0 3–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
3. 19 August 2008 Loftus Road, London  South Africa 2–1 2–2 Friendly International
4. 6 September 2008 Philips Stadion, Eindhoven  Netherlands 2–1 2–1 Friendly International
5. 15 October 2008 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane  Qatar 4–0 4–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
6. 1 April 2009 Stadium Australia, Sydney  Uzbekistan 1–0 2–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
7. 1 June 2010 Ruimsig Stadium, Johannesburg  Denmark 1–0 1–0 Friendly International
8. 5 June 2011 Adelaide Oval, Adelaide  New Zealand 1–0 3–0 Friendly International
9. 5 June 2011 Adelaide Oval, Adelaide  New Zealand 2–0 3–0 Friendly International
10. 2 September 2011 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane  Thailand 1–1 2–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
11. 6 September 2011 Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium, Dammam  Saudi Arabia 1–0 3–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
12. 6 September 2011 Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium, Dammam  Saudi Arabia 2–0 3–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
13. 7 October 2011 Canberra Stadium, Canberra  Malaysia 2–0 5–0 Friendly International
14. 7 October 2011 Canberra Stadium, Canberra  Malaysia 4–0 5–0 Friendly International
15. 11 October 2011 ANZ Stadium, Sydney  Oman 2–0 3–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
16. 18 June 2013 ANZ Stadium, Sydney  Iraq 1–0 1–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
17. 16 October 2013 Craven Cottage, London  Canada 1–0 3–0 Friendly International



1. FC Nürnberg
Nagoya Grampus





  1. ^ Habashy, Angela (19 June 2013). "Josh Kennedy the world cup saviour". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Tannus, Tony (19 June 2013). "Redemption all round as Jesus sends the Roos to Rio". The Roar. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Demireli, Fatih (19 March 2008). "The saviour from Wodonga". Bundesliga (Official Website). Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2008. 
  4. ^ "Joshua Kennedy wechselt in den Wildpark" (in German). Karlsruher SC. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2008. 
  5. ^ "Kennedy will sofort weg" (in German). kicker. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  6. ^ "Becker begnadigt Kennedy" (in German). kicker. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2009. 
  7. ^ "Scorers 2010 J.LEAGUE Division 1 [34th Sec]". Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Australians abroad: Socceroo Tim Cahill injured in loss to Manchester City, Brett Holman hits winner for AZ Alkmaar". 26 September 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Scorers 2011 J.LEAGUE Division 1 [34th Sec]". Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Melbourne City Lands Josh Kennedy". 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Josh Kennedy retirement: Melbourne City and former Socceroo striker Josh Kennedy announces retirement". Fox Sports. Fox Sports. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  12. ^ Lynch, Michael (18 June 2013). "Mission accomplished with hearts in mouths". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Hassett, Sebastian (19 June 2013). "Kennedy the redeemer seals World cup spot". Canberra Times. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Lynch, Michael (3 June 2014). "Josh Kennedy and Tom Rogic miss Socceroos' World Cup squad". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Josh Kennedy in the Socceroos". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 May 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2008. [dead link]

External links[edit]