Now for some excitement

WE'VE had a sneak preview of the new A-League and from what we've seen the Football Federation Australia (FFA) has kicked a winner.

Being a mad sports fan and soccer player myself, it was great to see the excitement surrounding this week's FIFA Club World Championship Australian qualifying games.

Friday footy fever - with Aaron Kelly

The crowds are back and the standard of play in really only the pre-season for most clubs means some top level Australian soccer is coming. And it's about time.

While the A-League doesn't kick off until August, the new-look national competition is already getting everyone excited about the upcoming season.

This excitement and anticipation is simply what the former National Soccer League (NSL) was lacking.

With world-wide names such as Dwight Yorke (Sydney FC, pictured right), Ned Zelic (Newcastle Jets) and Kevin Muscat (Melbourne Victory, pictured left) joining Australia's best talent, it is destined to be a hit.

But for the A-League to have a successful future, Australian soccer officials have to bring more Socceroos home to play in the competition.

The FFA has pledged a $1 million fighting fund to lure national team regulars home for the second year of the A-League starting in August 2006.

While superstars like Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka are financially beyond what the FFA and clubs could afford, targets could well include high-profile Europe-based players such as Stan Lazaridis and Craig Moore.

And Moore, who started his senior career as a teenager in Queensland, would be welcomed with open arms by the Queensland Roar if the ambitious plan got off the ground.

Australian soccer fans would get one of their own back and the A-League would pick up a profile player, which on the marketing side would help the competition attract sponsorship dollars from the rival footy codes.

While on the Roar, don't read too much into the lack of strikepower in their 3-0 loss to Sydney FC last weekend. We only recently saw the depth of playing talent at their disposal on their tour to Rockhampton.

But if they're on the look-out for a goal-scoring machine, there is a former Rockhampton and Brisbane Strikers player still finding the net in the Brisbane Premier League who would be a handy acquisition.

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