After an illustrious career at the top – one that humbly started at Endeavour Park, Cairns – Zenon Caravella chose to hang up his well-worn boots in 2015 after 300 professional games and embark on a whole new football journey. And with that vision, that experience and that dream, FNQ’s first fully integrated football academy was born.
In his playing years, Zenon Caravella was widely regarded as one the country’s true technicians. The lightest footballer to ever play in the A-League, Zenon more than made up for his smaller stature through his fierce competitive nature, his ability to read the game and do the basics exceptionally well, with Fox Sports commentator Andy Harper once proclaiming Caravella to be the perfect player to carbon copy across the A-League.
With a professional career lasting 15 years, with a solid ten in the A-League, Zenon Caravella has been well recognised for his influence in football across several clubs. After making his first team professional debut with NSL Powerhouse Sydney Olympic at just 17 years old – where he was part of a Championship winning side – Zenon continued his career with NZ Knights in the inaugural year of the A-League. It was here he was scouted to trial in the Dutch Eertse Divisie, successfully winning two-year contract with FC Omniworld, now Almere City.
After being lured back to the bright lights of the A-League to be part of a new Clive Palmer-funded glamour club Gold Coast United, Zenon won Coaches Player of the Year in his debut season. In 2012 he backed this up by taking home the Club Champion award at Adelaide United.
At the Reds, he had an important starting role in the Asian Champions League, being part of the travelling squad that made the quarter finals. He spent his final three seasons at the Newcastle Jets, solidifying his position as midfield maestro and fan favourite and thus finishing his career in a town he considered a second home.
Zenon Caravella’s reputation also rewarded him with many – perhaps missed – opportunities, a notable one being selection into a Socceroos camp in 2011 by then manager Holger Osieck. Unable to travel due to a minor injury while prioritising club football, it was a decision he would later rue. Similarly, a transfer opportunity to the top Turkish League from Gold Coast United was one he declined for family reasons – but alas, in football, the pathway is often windy and one ends up in the place they’re supposed to.
After being recognised by the FFA for his “Outstanding Contribution to the A-League, Zenon Caravella’s place is now in junior football. And he’s here to stay.
Because being a footballer, it’s all he knows.
“Grassroots is the true heart of football. It’s where it all begins; where values, technique, spirit, sacrifice and dreams are instilled. And it’s up to us – as parents, coaches, players and volunteers – to give every young boy and girl the chance to become a better footballer and more importantly, a better person.” ~ Zenon Caravella
Caravella Football Academy is proudly recognised as home of the finest in FNQ football education for players aged 6-14 years old. Join our academy today. Be part of The Future.
© Caravella Football Academy 2021