It was an afternoon to remember for two local football players as they made their A-League debut for Macarthur FC.
Michael Ruhs and Liam Rose both made their debut on home soil on January 3 much to the delight of fans who came to support the Bulls at their first home game of the season.
The two teammates played together at NPL1 side Sydney United 58 FC before joining Macarthur FC, known as the 'Bulls' to fans, in its inaugural season.
The youngest player in the club at age 18, Ruhs made his professional A-League debut for the Bulls at the first home game at Campbelltown Stadium against the Central Coast Mariners.
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"It was good to make my debut at home and in front of the home fans," he said.
"It was a buzz to come on and see everyone ringing the cowbells and cheering the team on.
"It wasn't the result we wanted but I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to make my debut thanks to the coaching staff and all the boys."
Ruhs said he was happy with his performance in his first game.
"I came on hoping to play a simple game and swing the momentum in favour to Macarthur," he said.
"When I came on I think I made an impact, which is positive for the team."
The Joey's player and current number 19 for the Bulls has had a life long passion for the game.
Ruhs started his football career at the age of five for Liverpool Olympic Football Club, before moving to NPL clubs Mounties Wanderers and Sydney United 58 FC.
The young striker has also represented Australia at an international level in 2019
"I made my international debut for Australia in Turkey against Guinea in a U-17 youth tournament," he said.
"I played in another tournament in England, where we played a series of friendlies against Brazil, South Korea and England.
"At the end of 2019, I was part of the U-17 World Cup in Brazil against the best teams in the world."
With a strong family support base, Ruhs credits his family as his influence.
"Off the field, my biggest influences are my parents, my uncles and grandparents," he said.
"They teach me a lot about being a good individual on the field and off the field. They teach me life skills, values and morals.
"On the field, it would probably be Ivan Franjic, Aleks Jovanovic and some of the older boys. They've really helped me in the team and become a better person on and off the field.
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"The transition into the team has been good, a young boy coming into a team isn't always the easiest thing but I was welcomed by them.
"Mark Milligan helped me a lot to transition into the dressing room smoothly and have a good time with the boys and bond."
Ruhs also has some advice for aspiring football players.
"Just work hard. Nothing comes in life without working hard," he said.
"Stay dedicated, life is not easy, so stay positive, stay dedicated to your craft, put your head down, look up to people and be the best person you can be."
While it was not Rose's first foray into the A-League, it was the first time he donned the Bulls kit.
The 23-year-old previously played for the Central Coast Mariners back in 2015 and had a stint with Armenian club Ararat-Armenia in 2018.
Rose said it felt good to make his debut in front of the home crowd.
"It's a new club and to make my debut is a great feeling," he said.
"Obviously the result didn't go our way and that was disappointing but I tried to get on the pitch and do my best to help the team.
"I've been out of the league for a bit and I'm just focusing on doing my best for the team."
The midfielder first got into the game as a five-year-old playing for Mounties Juniors Soccer Club and has his dad to thank for his football career.
"I started playing as a kid and I played a few years up with my older brother in a team my dad was coaching," he said.
"My love for the game started back then and it sort of progressed for there. I couldn't stop playing and developed a love of the game."
Rose also credits his dad as his biggest inspiration.
"He's been a massive help from when I first started when I was young," he said.
"Even now with his advice, he's not a crazy football parent. He always offers constructive criticism or just keeps me positive and in the right headspace, he's great at doing that.
"He's a great man and I really look up to him as I do with all my family and people close to me."
The transition to a Bulls player has gone well for Rose who credits Sydney United for helping him get back to the level he wanted to be at.
"Sydney United help me find my confidence, they are a great group of boys there and they helped me get back my love for the game," he said.
"Training day in and day out with the Bulls, you start to get that intensity pretty quick and get up to speed.
"I've been working hard each day and feel that I'm getting better and better and I'm looking to improve every day."
As for any advice for aspiring players, Rose said it's important to work hard.
"Work hard, that's first and foremost," he said.
"You can have all the talent in the world but if you're not willing to put in the work it will only get you so far."
The Bulls won their first game against Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on December 30, 2020.
They went on to lose their second game to Central Coast Mariners at Campbelltown Stadium on January 3.
Macarthur FC will face Wellington Phoenix in the next A-League clash at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday January 9, 2020.
Macarthur FC and Olyroo midfielder Denis Genreau said the team has a lot of respect for Wellington Phoenix.
"With them moving to Australia so the league can be played is a huge sacrifice," he said.
"We're expecting possibly a similar game to Central Coast. They were really organised against Sydney FC last weekend and we know it'll be a tough game.
"We've done a lot of video review on where we can improve and we're looking forward to Saturday night."
Ruhs and Rose echoed Genreau's sentiment.
"We know it's going to be a tough game," Ruhs said.
"We versed them in the pre-season so we know how they play. Hopefully at the end of the day we can get the result at home, put on a show and start picking up points."
Rose said he feels good in the lead up to the game against Wellington Phoenix.
"Obviously the result last week was disappointing," he said.
"All the boys are raring to go and are looking to right the wrongs of the previous game and put in a very good performance on the weekend so we can get the win."
Macarthur FC has partnered with local football associations Macarthur Football Association, Southern Districts Soccer Football Association, Bankstown District Amateur Football Association, Highlands Soccer Association and Southern Tablelands Football Association.
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