“They [Sydney FC] did give me the option if I wanted to and left it in my court, but I didn’t pursue it so nothing eventuated,” he said. “I was happy, that was it. I think they had a few comments, but I was set in stone in coming down here. I wasn’t going to backflip on it. I am not that kind of player.”
I don’t know anything other than playing for Sydney FC and I was grateful for the opportunity and everything they have put in for me.
On Sunday, Calver will face his former club for the first time when Western United host Sydney at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong. He admitted it was a strange feeling preparing to play against the club where he had been through his most important developmental ages, and where he admits he had fallen into a comfort zone. Sydney FC was like home for him: his best friends played for the club, he was close with the staff, coaches and fans alike.
“It feels surreal; I don’t know anything other than playing for Sydney FC and I was grateful for the opportunity and everything they have put in for me,” he said. “It was a big move but, even so, moving down here I knew some of the boys already, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I kind of just wanted to do something different and to get out of my comfort zone, which I have.”
While Sydney played a key role in his development, the club never offered him consistent first-team football and it wasn’t until his starring role in the title charge in the absence of the injured Ben Warland and Jop van der Linden that the Sky Blues saw Calver’s full potential.
He carried that form from the grand final into a gruelling pre-season campaign overseen by Western United coach Mark Rudan which, at times, left him worse for wear with hip and quad injuries. However, he’s started the past two games and is in peak condition.
“It was a pretty brutal pre-season, but I think now we are starting to see the fruits of it,” he said. “Nobody likes doing it at the time, but it has been beneficial for us. He [Rudan] got my skinfolds down a bit, like most of the boys – he got me in the gym more doing more upper body. When I was injured he got me into pilates as well. I can’t complain at all because it seems to be working at the minute.”