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Jakarta Post

Aussie soccer players say sport strengthens ties with RI

  • Edan Runge

    Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia   /   Sat, March 6 2021   /  01:00 am
Aryn Williams in action during a Liga 1 soccer match when he played for Persebaya Surabaya soccer club.(Courtesy of Aryn Williams/-)

Although Indonesia’s professional soccer league, Liga 1, has suspended play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, past and present Australian players are building links through soccer to bring the two countries together. When Aryn Williams was approached by an agent offering him the opportunity to play professional soccer in Indonesia, the first person he called was his father, Eric Williams, who had coached in Indonesia for a decade. “Dad just said straightaway ‘take the opportunity’,” Williams said. Williams explains that he did not know anything about Indonesia or its soccer before he packed his bags. But what he discovered in Surabaya truly amazed him. “Fanatic is the best word to describe it. The soccer team is like their church. They wake up and they live and breathe soccer. The money they make at work goes toward a new jersey, season ticke...