Arca in 2014
|Full name||Julio Andrés Arca|
|Date of birth||31 January 1981|
|Place of birth||Quilmes, Argentina|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Playing position||Central midfielder / Left wingback|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:55, 12 September 2015 (UTC).
Julio Andrés Arca (born 31 January 1981) is an Argentine footballer, who currently plays as a left back or central midfielder for semi-professional football club South Shields. Arca has spent the majority of his career in the North East of England, firstly for Sunderland from 2000 to 2006, and then for Middlesbrough from 2006 to 2013. He retired from professional football following his release from Middlesbrough, and subsequently played Sunday League football for Willow Pond for the 2014–15 season. He later signed for South Shields, in addition to his return to Sunderland as part of the club's youth coaching staff.
During his professional career, he was seen as an attack minded player, with his key attributes including good long and short passing, as well as being a hard worker.
Sunderland's manager, Peter Reid, signed Arca in 2000 from Argentinos Juniors with a £3.5 million five-year deal, while holding off competition from Newcastle United and Leeds United. He was an immediate success, scoring on his debut at the Stadium of Light against West Ham United. Peter Reid spotted him in an Under 21s match playing against England at Craven Cottage and tracked him until completing the signing in July 2000.
Arca played for his previous club and national team at left back, but was successfully converted to left midfield by Reid. Arca was Reid's most expensive signing of that summer and was then second only behind Stefan Schwarz as the club's record buy. The youngster was tipped for the brightest of futures and full international honours in the near future.
Arca scored three times for the Black Cats in his first season in the Premiership. However, like so many Sunderland players, Arca's 2001–02 campaign was disappointing as he was troubled by a series of niggling injuries. He did not manage to rediscover his form of the previous season, and was out of action from February.
At the start of the 2002–03 campaign, Arca, who had then played 54 games for the club, stated his determination to get back to his best – both in fitness and form. He became a regular once again after Sunderland's relegation that season, and was arguably their best player as they returned to the Premiership under manager Mick McCarthy, winning the Football League Championship in 2004–05. Arca was also named in the PFA Team of the Year for the First Division in 2004, and for the Championship team in 2005.
Sunderland were relegated again in the 2005–06 season. As a result of relegation, Arca moved back to the Premiership joining North-East rivals Middlesbrough as a replacement for Franck Queudrue who moved to Fulham.
On 26 July 2006, Arca was Gareth Southgate's first senior player signing as manager of Middlesbrough, for a transfer fee of £1.75 million. He signed a five-year contract. Spanish club RCD Espanyol had also been interested in him.
Arca played his first Premier League game for Middlesbrough against Reading on the opening day of the 2006-07 season. He broke his foot and was substituted at half-time for Andrew Davies. After regaining fitness he proved a revelation. With the progress of Andrew Taylor at left-back, Arca has been utilised as central midfielder. He scored his first goal for the club against Charlton Athletic in December 2006.
He is still liked strongly by most Sunderland fans despite moving to their local rivals, and in the 2007 Tees–Wear derby at the Riverside when he went off injured after scoring against them, he was cheered by the visiting Sunderland supporters. Unfortunately, following this injury Arca struggled to regain his excellent form in the months prior to it.
In January 2008, Arca was named the new Middlesbrough captain by manager Gareth Southgate, replacing fellow midfielder George Boateng as skipper. His first game as captain was against Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League, the match ended 1–1. After only a few games leading the team, he was replaced by Austrian left back Emanuel Pogatetz.
Arca regained fine form towards the end of 2010, scoring in Middlesbrough's 2-1 win over Chesterfield in the League Cup and scoring his first league goal for over three years from a penalty kick, to give Middlesbrough a 1-0 victory over Cardiff. He scored his second of the season against Hull City, and later that week, he scored his third of the campaign on a 2-1 win over Coventry City.
His contract ended at the end of the 2010-2011 season, in which he was voted the Player of the Year by both the fans and his team-mates. Arca re-signed with a two-year contract on 12 August 2011. Two days after signing the contract, Arca came on as a substitute in an away league match at Leeds United and passed to Marvin Emnes to score the only goal of the game.
Arca retired from professional football after his Middlesbrough contract expired in 2013.
After his successful first season in the Premier League with Sunderland, Arca captained the Argentina Under-20 team which won the FIFA U-20 World Cup tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They beat the Ghana U-20 team 3-0 in the final to win their fourth title.
- FIFA U-20 World Cup winner: 2001
- Football League Championship winner: 2005
- PFA Team of the Year (2): Division 1 - 2004, Championship - 2005
- North East Football Award - Football League Footballer of the Year: 2004
- Sunderland Solid Gold XI
- As of 5 May 2011
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Argentina||League||Cup||League Cup||South America||Total|
|1999–00||Argentinos Juniors||Argentine Primera División||19||0||-||-||-||19||0|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
- BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Middlesbrough | Middlesbrough complete Arca swoop
- BBC SPORT | Football | Premiership | Reading 3-2 Middlesbrough
- BBC SPORT | Football | Football clockwatch
- BBC Sport - Julio Arca signs new Middlesbrough deal
- Sunday Sun - News, views, gossip, pictures, video - Chronicle Live
- "Julio Arca joins Shields". South Shields F.C. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- FIFA Confederations Cup - FIFA World Youth Championship Argentina 2001 - FIFA.com
- "Solid Gold XI". Sunderland AFC. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
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