He has scored goals at England’s famous Wembley Stadium and now Matt Sparrow is ready to fly with Sorrento in the PlayStation 4 NPL WA competition.
The former English professional, whose career included spells at Scunthorpe, Brighton, Cheltenham and Lincoln City, is set to make his Sorrento debut against northern rivals ECU Joondalup on Saturday.
With more than 400 Football League appearances and 55 goals during his professional career, the 34-year-old was ready for a change.
“(Sorrento president Derek Harnwell) spoke very highly of the club and it was an easy decision to play for them,” Sparrow said.
And he has made a smooth initial transition, training with the club for the first time last week.
“A few of the boys are English so that made it easier to fit in with everyone, and the guys seem like a really good bunch of lads,” he said.
“There is a real sense of camaraderie at the club and the players all act professionally.”
Sparrow’s finest hour came when he scored twice for Scunthorpe in an English League One play-off final against Millwall in 2009. Gulls coach Jamie Harnwell is convinced his new signing has plenty to contribute to the PS4 NPLWA.
“To be able to sign a player of the calibre of Matt is a real coup for Sorrento,” Harnwell said. “Already in training, you can see the quality he has, not just with the ball but also his influence on the players around him.
“Matt was keen right from our first contact and when a player has scored twice at Wembley in a play-off final you don’t usually take too long to make up your mind to sign them.
“It’s a good first game for Matt to step into and I am sure he will be a great asset to Sorrento moving forwards.”
Sparrow hoped his experience would benefit players around him, not just those from the first team but also younger players at the club.
“I want to bring the best out of all the players around me both young and old and if everyone knows their roles we can win games and push into the top four,” he said.
“I believe team bonding, on and off the pitch, is important. Things aren’t always going to go our way but success will come when we all dig deep and stick together.”
Sparrow left school when he was 17 years old and signed his first professional contract with Scunthorpe in 1999. He played with the club until 2010.
Sorrento, who are fourth on the league ladder, take on ninth-place Joondalup at ECU Football Stadium.
“I just can’t wait to be back on the ball and it is exciting to be debuting in such a big game for the club,” Sparrow said.
“ECU Joondalup are a strong gritty team from what I’ve been told so it should be a good game.”
Sparrow’s appearance on Saturday is subject to his international clearance.
PS4 NPL WA ROUND 12 FIXTURES
Saturday, June 11
Perth Glory v Bayswater City (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
Perth SC v Armadale (Dorrien Gardens, 3pm)
Floreat Athena v Inglewood United (E&D Litis, Stadium, 3pm)
ECU Joondalup v Sorrento (ECU Football Stadium, 3pm)
Balcatta v Cockburn City (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)Subiaco v Stirling Lions (Rosalie Park, 3pm)