Humans of MUSC: Stu Dow

In this instalment of Humans of MUSC we talk to Stu Dow, who lives by the motto “Football is life”. In this special edition we explore his 6 year involvement with the club including an exclusive play by play of his top 5 goals!

Can you introduce yourself please:

I’m Stu, I’ve been at the club for almost 6 years, have played in most of the men’s teams throughout that time, from the State Reserves to the VicSoccer Masters and most teams in between.

Why did you choose to play at the Melbourne University Soccer Club?

I moved to Carlton North (after 3 months in tropical QLD) and was desperate to get back into playing football after 18months out (knee injury & “travelling”) – I had a decent experience at my first few sessions and the coach allowed me to continue training with his squad for the last 6 weeks of the season, even though I wasn’t eligible for match selection.

What do you feel are the main benefits of playing at MUSC?

MUSC has a great community-based attitude and approach, it lacks the politics and hierarchy that is evident at many other long-standing organisations, which is in part down to the transient nature of the membership. It’s a very hands-on club and allows all club members to help shape the present and the future of the club. The only home ground I’ve been to that has a better location (in relation to the city and public transport) is St James’ Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Training and playing at Princes Park, with the cityscape backdrop, is one of Melbourne’s hidden gems especially at night!

Has there been a favourite season at MUSC, if so why?

Each season at the club has been a new challenge and offered something else than simply training and playing, particularly as I became aware that MUSC was much more than the team I played for. Helping at the committee level, then being invited to be part of the club’s Board, has allowed me to see the bigger picture at MUSC and how all 18 (now 19!) teams need to come together to create a great experience for all club members. I was honoured to receive the inaugural “Harry Gill Medal” – as recognition of someone who has put in a great deal of time and energy into helping to run the club. I’ve tried to go by what I said at the time “the more you give, the more you get” – it’s been great to see former team-mates promoting and supporting this mantra in the last couple of years. In terms of “on the pitch” activity, we had a fun season in 2017 as the Metro 1 “development squad” – with most players going on to represent the club at State level and/or the University at Nationals.

What about your current involvement in the soccer club?

Last year I was one of the club’s Vice Presidents; I barely played as I struggled with an ongoing hip injury (the aftermath of being hit by a car while cycling to work!) and I ended up coaching a Seniors and Reserves squad for our Sunday players. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work and extra hours (especially when you want to be playing football each week). This season, I’ve jumped into the Operations Officer role but also increased the amount of time spent developing Northern Pavilion (our home from April-September) into a better experience for club members on training nights and on matchdays. I’m hoping to get back out onto the pitch in the near future!

Has there been a standout coach at MUSC? (and) the best player you have played alongside at MUSC?

There are a lot of very good coaches at MUSC – the key attribute that they all share is their dedication to their team; however, the very best ones demonstrate their continued dedication to the wider club. When I joined the club in 2013, I was very fortunate to end up training with Drew McMullin’s Metro4 squad: while I worked my way back into fitness after my knee injury, Drew demonstrated incredible leadership and commitment, week-in, week-out. Drew showed our squad what it meant for our team to be part of the club and the short-term sacrifices and individual or team could bear, for the greater good of MUSC.

Do you have any particularly memorable experiences relating to your sports/outdoor activities?

In the words of Coach John Laloussis “most of the goals that you score are particularly memorable – you never score a rubbish goal” – my debut goal for the club was an injury time free-kick from thirty yards+ to equalise against rivals Old Xavs, my last goal was a twenty-yard curler in-off-the-post! There’s been a few moments that have been memorable for not quite the right reasons: inadvertently causing a riot when coaching an away game last season (and the referee refused to let our injured player be substituted); being drop kicked in the head by a crazed opposition player; being threatened with a knife by a supporter up at Epping – it seems like my charming English disposition is not for everyone we play against!

How do you prepare for a match on gameday/do you have any quirky pre-match rituals?

No pre-match quirks but I often cop a few catcalls for my set-piece routine – it’s Jonny Wilkinson-esque.

Besides sports, do you have any other hobbies or passions?

“Football is life” – Kenta Kinuhata

What has been your most memorable goal at your time at MUSC?

We’re running out of space but I’ll give my (abridged) top 5 …

  • 2014 season, vs Old Xavs. Round 1, competitive debut for MUSC, 0-1 down going into injury time, won a free-kick 30 yards out, just left of centre. Floated into the top corner to seal the draw (think Beckham v Greece but a bit further out and with a lot less power)
    NB: I scored a very similar freekick in similar circumstances in Round 1 of 2015 season, but the ref blew for an imaginary foul on the keeper – thanks Ross!
  • 2014 pre-season, vs Moreland Reds. The ball was played down the left channel from our left back, I ran onto the bouncing ball and half-volleyed it over the keepers head from the edge of centre circle (think Jamie Vardy vs Liverpool but with a lot less power); strangely, the defending player was MUSC life member to-be Shoni Maguire;
  • 2016 season, vs Thornbury Athletic. In the season where I scored for every other team but Drew’s Metro 4s, the pick of the bunch was scoring for Shoni’s team with a very similar goal to the one he conceded against me: a bouncing ball at the halfway line, headed over the defender and then half-volleyed over the keeper to take the lead (think Gazza at Euro96, just a lot different).
  • 2017 season, vs St Kilda. Having just gone behind to a very good St Kilda side and under a lot of pressure, Eddie Burgin won a header halfway into the opposition box, I controlled the ball on my chest and then volleyed into the corner of the net from just outside the box (see any of Matthew Le Tissier’s volleys)
  • 2017 season, vs North Sunshine Eagles. Trying to keep our top-4 hopes alive, our young team turned up against an in-form team looking to keep their winning ways going. I won possession at the halfway line with a crunching tackle, as I took another touch, I spotted the keeper in no-man’s land and lofted the ball over his despairing back-pedal (think Xabi Alonso vs Steve Harper but on a much smaller pitch)

Anyone would be hard pressed to beat a top 5 like that, thanks for letting us get to know you and keep up the good work Stu!

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