Children show love for Heart
HARRY Kewell and his Melbourne Heart teammates departed Lismore with a positive message for the region's budding football talents - 'it's all about fun'.
The Socceroos star and fellow players from the A-League club were popular draw cards at a coaching and autograph signing session at Lismore's Oakes Oval.
Kewell himself had plenty of fun, enjoying short matches with scores of the region's young players, posing for pictures and even displaying his fleet-footed skills on occasion.
The 34-year-old, who has won 58 caps for his country and remains one of the biggest names in Australian sport, had one message for the children at Monday's event.
"Just have fun," he said. "That's what it's about.
"It's just about building your love around the game. If you love the game and want to play, that's a great start.
"It's always good to see young kids play the sport.
"Football is a really fast-growing sport in Australia in terms of participation rates and we hope that can continue."
Although Kewell he received a rapturous welcome at the event, which took place the day after his side's trial match with A-League rivals Brisbane Roar at the same venue, he was keen to emphasise it was a team effort.
"I don't really see myself as being a hero for the kids," he said.
"I think the big thing is that these kids have had the chance to see some professional players up close.
"Hopefully they can learn some things from them and keep enjoying the game."
Kewell also reiterated his desire to play for Australia at next year's World Cup.
The former Liverpool and Leeds United star has fallen out of favour with Socceroos boss Holger Osieck and joined the Heart earlier this year in an effort to stake a claim for Brazil 2014.
"Will I be at the World Cup?" he said. "Ask Holger.
"I want to be there.
"First and foremost, I just want to get out and play soccer with my club."
Football Far North Coast officials and coaching staff helped oversee the event, which was also attended by proud parents and other football-lovers.