David Zdrilic

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David Zdrilic
File:David Zdrillic says... (6177529434) (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Full name David Allen Zdrilic
Date of birth (1974-04-13) 13 April 1974 (age 45)
Place of birth Sydney, Australia
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
King Tomislav Sydney
Patrician Brothers' College
Sutherland Sharks
St George Saints
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993 St George Saints 20 (4)
1993–1997 Sydney United 114 (39)
1997–1998 FC Aarau 25 (2)
1998–2000 SSV Ulm 55 (18)
2000–2002 SpVgg Unterhaching 23 (1)
2002–2003 Walsall 24 (3)
2003–2004 Aberdeen 31 (4)
2004 Eintracht Trier 11 (0)
2005–2008 Sydney FC 59 (5)
2009–2010 Sydney United 33 (9)
Total 395 (94)
National team
1997–2005 Australia[1] 30 (20)
2013– Australia (Beach Soccer)
Teams managed
2010 Sydney United

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 April 2010.
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 1 April 2010

David Allen Zdrilic (Croatian: Zdrilić, [ˈzdrilitɕ]) (born 13 April 1974) is a Croatian Australian football player. He is currently a member of the Australian Beach Soccer team the Beach Socceroos having also captained the side. He previously played for Sydney FC in the A-League and has also played in Switzerland, Germany, England and Scotland. He has played on 30 occasions for the Australian national team, having once scored eight goals in a single match – the second highest recorded for any Australian player, behind Socceroos teammate Archie Thompson, who scored 13 goals in the same game.

David is a football presenter on SBS, he hosts SBS's Friday Night A-League coverage and also hosted the football entertainment show Thursday FC on SBS2

Playing career

Early years

Zdrilic represented his high school Patrician Brothers' College during his time as a teenage schoolboy and featured prominently in all teams including the A Grade squad. He had the opportunity as a child to pursue a tennis career, receiving coaching and playing in tournaments, but chose football instead.[2] After playing through the youth ranks for St George Saints he broke into the senior side in 1993 at the age of 19. Mid-way through the NSW Super League year he signed to Sydney United for the coming National Soccer League season. He made an immediate impact shortly after joining the club, scoring four goals in four games in a preseason cup competition.[3] However, he played most of his first NSL season playing as fullback, netting only once for the year. Zdrilic's versatility meant he was often used in different positions and during the 1994/95 and 1995/96 seasons, he was more often among the goal scorers. It was in the 1996/97 season that for the first time Zdrilic was used as an out and out striker and eventually took out the Golden Boot scoring 21 goals in 26 games. During this time he combined studied a law degree at Sydney University, working full-time at a Western Sydney Law Firm with his footballing duties.[4] It was not until this 1996/97 NSL season that his footballing career rose to the next level.

Zdrilic's first call-up to the national team came in January 1997. After the appointment of Terry Venables as the new Socceroos coach, Australia hosted the Optus Cup a four-team tournament including an Australian squad of domestic-based players.[5] In forming the squad, Venables had asked "who's the leading scorer in the NSL?", the answer being Zdrilic (having scored 12 goals in as many games), and he played all three matches.[6] He continued his scoring ways in the NSL to win the Golden Boot for that season with 21 goals, United topping the table before losing the grand final to Brisbane.

In Europe

His position atop the Australian league attracted attention in Europe, particularly in Switzerland with an offer to join Grasshoppers accepted, where he would initially be loaned out to FC Aarau. After a season at Aarau he moved to German side SSV Ulm 1846, newly promoted to the second division. Ulm's strong 98-99 season with Zdrilic a regular starter and scoring 12 goals for the season saw them promoted again into the Bundesliga, the club's first appearance in the top flight.[7]

Now playing in a top European league, he earned a recall to national side in early 2000 for a tournament in Chile.[8] Zdrilic was injured as a result of a bad tackle in the final minutes of Australia's game against Bulgaria and he returned to Ulm injured. He again rejoined the side in June as Australia hosted a three match series against Paraguay, which he scored his first international goal in a 2-1 win. Zdrilic remained with the side for the 2000 OFC Nations Cup, adding to his goal tally twice against Cook Islands.

Returning to club duties, with Zdrilic out injured for much of the season due to the knee injury he sustained on international duty, Ulm had been relegated back to the second division and Zdrilic sought to remain in the top league. Despite the injury Zdrilic scored 6 goals in 13 Bundesliga starts for Ulm and moved to Unterhaching. The club struggled for consistency through the 2000–01 season and was eventually relegated, Zdrilic remaining with the club on its return to 2.Bundesliga. Haching continued to struggle for results in the 01-02 season, relegated again at the end of the year. In contrast to club fortunes, Zdrilic was achieving greater success at international level throughout this time. Becoming a regular inclusion in an Australian side under Frank Farina, he was recalled for a friendly against Scotland to replace the injured Mark Viduka scoring in a memorable 2-0 victory at Hamden Park. He retained his place in the squad for the Oceania World Cup qualifiers. In Australia's second match of the tournament, he scored eight goals in a world record 31–0 win over American Samoa. He and his strike partner Archie Thompson, who scored 13 goals, broke the record for most goals scored in a senior international match. He remained in the team for the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, taking part in the Socceroos memorable victories over Mexico and Brazil.

With Unterhaching in financial trouble, Zdrilic gained a release and signed on to English First Division side Walsall,[9] where he was soon joined by fellow Australian Steve Corica. In a season restricted by a calf injury,[10] he made 29 appearances in the league and cup scoring five goals including the only goal against Wimbledon F.C. in the FA Cup fourth round.[11] In May 2003 he parted from the club[12] and after interest from other English sides and Norwegian side S.K. Brann, he signed to Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen on a one year deal, making an immediate impact with a goal 80 seconds into his debut in a pre-season friendly against Liverpool and then again against Rangers in the league.[13] Zdrilic went on to score 8 goals in all competitions including the winner in a memorable win over Celtic which ended Celtics unbeaten home run of 78 games. After being linked with Belgian clubs Lierse S.K. and K.A.A. Gent, and also 1860 Munich, he returned to 2nd Bundesliga at Eintracht Trier.

While facing difficulties at Aberdeen, his elevation back to the top flight of a European league returned him to national team contention. He was selected for a number of friendly matches and rejoined the squad in May for the 2004 OFC Nations Cup, which also doubled as qualifiers for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After a goal against Tahiti, he made two more appearances against Fiji and Vanuatu.

Return to Australia

His stay at Trier was short-lived, and returned to Australia with the launch of the A-League in 2005 to be part of the inaugural Sydney FC squad, signing a three-year deal.[14][15] Now back in Australia, he was included in a Socceroos side for a match on 29 March 2005 against Indonesia to benefit victims of the Boxing Day tsunami, scoring Australia's third goal in what many have tipped as his last international match. He took part in 19 of Sydney's matches in their first season, mostly as a substitute,scoring once. In the second season he found more game time under Terry Butcher, scoring four goals from 20 appearances.

Zdrilic remained at Sydney for the A-League 2007-08 season, in the final year of his original three-year contract. A number of matches saw him being deployed in the backline and midfield.[16] Many Sydney FC fans became critical of his performances, after netting just five goals in his first two years at the club.[17] Despite his clear intentions to add to his tally in the 2007-08 season, Zdrilic failed to score in any competitive matches all year and was released by Sydney at the end of the season.[18] The end of his stay with Sydney FC effectively marked the end of his career.

In 2009, David signed with his former club Sydney United who play in the NSW Premier League. He is began coaching the Maccabi All-Age One (AA1) football side.[19] Zdrilic was then unveiled as Player-manager of Sydney United for the 2010 NSW Premier League season after Ante Milicic took up a job at new A-League club Melbourne Heart.


After being released from Sydney FC, David started working as a football pundit for both Fox Sports and ESPN, as well as featuring on SBS and writing a column for mX. He also took on a role as Player Relations Officer for Professional Footballers Australia.

Zdrilic continued to work in the media and co-hosted the now-discontinued World Football News on One, and was a core part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup coverage on SBS, appearing regularly as an analyst. He then joined SBS exclusively, which sees him continuing his analytical role, as well as co-hosting the football entertainment show Thursday FC.

Beach Soccer

Since retiring Zdrilic has been a keen advocate and ambassador for Beach Soccer and is currently a member of the Beach Socceroos. He has also captained the side. The Beach Socceroos travelled to Qatar in January 2013 for the Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifiers. Despite have no lead up practice matches and having never played together as a team the Beach Socceroos narrowly missed out on a World Cup place finishing 4th out of 16 teams with only 3 World Cup spots on offer. Zdrilic finished the tournament with 4 goals in 4 games. Zdrilic is an ambassador for only recognised Beach Soccer tournament in Australia, the 'Australian Beach Soccer Cup' which has been held in Wollongong for the past four (4) years. Zdrilic was the leading goalscorer in all 4 events. The most recent event was the first International tournament held in Australia. Zdrilic scored 8 goals in 3 games including 6 goals in a 7-5 win over China. Australia won the tournament.

International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 15 June 2000 Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne, Australia  Paraguay 2-0 2-1 Friendly
2 19 June 2000 Stade Pater, Papeete, Tahiti  Cook Islands 5-0 17-0 2000 OFC Nations Cup
3 11-0
4 15 November 2000 Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland  Scotland 0-2 0-2 Friendly
5 9 April 2001 BCU International Stadium, Coffs Harbour, Australia  Tonga 17-0 22-0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
6 22-0
7 11 April 2001 BCU International Stadium, Coffs Harbour, Australia  American Samoa 3-0 31-0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
8 7-0
9 9-0
10 13-0
11 21-0
12 24-0
13 25-0
14 31-0
15 16 April 2001 BCU International Stadium, Coffs Harbour, Australia  Samoa 2-0 11-0 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
16 6-0
17 24 June 2001 Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia  New Zealand 1-0 4-1 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
18 4-1
19 31 May 2004 Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, Australia  Tahiti 8-0 9-0 2004 OFC Nations Cup
20 29 March 2005 Subiaco Oval, Perth, Australia  Indonesia 3-0 3-0 Friendly


With Australia:

With Sydney FC:

Personal Honours:


  1. The Australian National Men's Football Team: Caps and Captains
  2. "60 seconds in sport with Aberdeen striker David Zdrilic". The Times. London. 28 September 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. OzFootball - 1993/94 Multiquip Preseason Tournament
  4. Lewis, D (14 December 2006). "Cap scandal rocking Sydney". Fox Sports News. Retrieved 3 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. OzFootball - Socceroo 1997 Matches
  6. Ormond, A (4 April 2007). "The Case For Zdrilic". FourFourTwo Australia. Retrieved 3 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "The Abseits Guide to German Soccer - SSV ULM 1846". Retrieved 6 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. OzFootball - Socceroo 2000 Matches
  9. "Walsall sign Zdrillic". BBC Sport. 24 June 2002. Retrieved 2 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Zdrilic our for up to six weeks". BBC Sport. 2 October 2002. Retrieved 10 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Zdrilic sends Walsall through". BBC Sport. 11 February 2003. Retrieved 10 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Zdrilic exits Walsall". BBC Sport. 14 May 2003. Retrieved 10 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Zdrilic clinches Dons move". BBC Sport. 6 August 2003. Retrieved 10 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Zdrilic signs for Sydney". ABC News. 13 December 2004. Retrieved 10 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Zdrilic to hunt for silver with Sydney FC". Halloran, J.; SMH. 14 December 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Zdrilic Set For Move To The Rear". FourFourTwo Australia. 14 August 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Ormond,A (15 August 2007). "Zdrilic hits back at critics". FourFourTwo Australia. Retrieved 5 February 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Cockerill, M (30 January 2008). "FC's game plan intact as Middleby, Fyfe set to play". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 February 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Maccabi football pulls off coaching coup". ajn. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]

External links

Preceded by
Damian Mori
NSL Golden Boot
Succeeded by
Damian Mori