Sport

Socceroos legend keen to return to Hervey Bay

Socceroos legend Harry Kewell is interviewed by Scott Rowe during the Harry Kewell Mayoral Dinner at the Hervey Bay RSL.
Socceroos legend Harry Kewell is interviewed by Scott Rowe during the Harry Kewell Mayoral Dinner at the Hervey Bay RSL. Fraser Coast Opportunities

HARRY Kewell finished his whirlwind visit to Hervey Bay on Tuesday, but the Socceroos legend has already indicated his willingness to return next year.

The 36-year-old wrapped up his three-day visit by holding a second masterclass as part of the Harry Kewell Academy before being a special guest speaker at a Mayoral dinner at Hervey Bay RSL.

Kewell's visit will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on the Fraser Coast football community, but it was the former Leeds and Liverpool superstar who was touched by the response from his fans.

"You take away the academy, I think it's just the reception I have received I have loved the most," he told the Chronicle.

"All the people have embraced me.

"I know it has only been a short time I have been here, but it feels great."

The retired footballer is already planning on bringing his academy back to Hervey Bay, hoping to run a series of clinics for young football hopefuls next year.

He is keen to also make it a family holiday with his wife Sheree Murphy and four children Dolly, Ruby, Matilda and Taylor.

"I've always said if I find interest in a place I will come back and since day one when we decided to come to Hervey Bay all the kids have been excited and I saw the enthusiasm in the kids in the academy," Kewell said.

"If the June-July holidays next year is the best time then we will make sure we will come back more times.

"I'd also love to bring them (the family) because Hervey Bay is a beautiful part of the world."

Two hundred lucky participants took part in the clinics on Monday and Tuesday, getting a rare opportunity to learn skills from Australia's greatest footballer.

Kewell, who used the rest of his time discovering all that the region has to offer, including swimming with humpback whales, praised the quality of juniors and interest shown by the players.

On Tuesday night, it was the big kids' turn to listen to Kewell, who spent about an hour on stage talking about his career and providing insight into his own personal experiences with succeeding at the highest level during the mayoral dinner.

Best of all he did it with a dose of Aussie humour.

Kawungan Sandy Straits Jets Football Club president Stuart Taylor, who was instrumental in luring Kewell to the region, said Kewell's visit would have a flow-on effect to the local community.

"As far as children's development, the skills they learned from the clinics the last two days you could see the growth in their development at each stage and as they progressed through you could see their confidence build," he said.

"More than that, too, it allows children to dream and dream is probably the most important part of playing any sport.

"The dream potentially you could be the next Harry Kewell or could play for Leeds or play for Liverpool or play for the Socceroos.

"In the realm of tourism, there is no greater message than seeing such a charismatic sports figure in Australia doing something unique and different in swimming with the whales and that imagery went around the world and has been noticed," he added.