Halloran’s broad lens aims at happy homecoming

Ben Halloran at the VALO Training Centre.

Ben Halloran’s footballing journey has taken him around the globe, and it is with a broad lens and perspective that has him poised for a rewarding second stint at Adelaide United.

Halloran, 30, describes his career as an unconventional one filled with twists and turns, and overseas adventures, but at the very least one that he can look back on with no regrets.

And this is exactly the view and advice he would give to any aspiring footballer.

Hailing from Cairns, the natural right-winger earned a place in the inaugural Gold Coast United squad in 2009/10 as a spritely 17-year-old. However, it was his third season with the club that snatched the attention of the top flights in world football.

One of those was Fortuna Düsseldorf in the German second division, and a young Halloran took the plunge and embarked on every aspiring player’s dream, to feature in one of Europe’s top leagues.

Ben Halloran playing for Fortuna Düsseldorf against fellow Australian and former Adelaide United player, Mathew Leckie.

Besides finding further success upon a switch to FC Heidenheim, Halloran met his partner Helen in Germany and further honed his craft, and his life outside of the game. A move to V-Varen Nagasaki in the Japanese J-League eventually beckoned and proved a challenging one – Halloran pondered his next move.

When United called ahead of the 2018/19 season, the time was right for a return to his country of birth, and the rest is history.

The more recent complication in Halloran’s story was last year’s unexpected approach by FC Seoul in South Korea five games into the season when the winger was already flying, with a grand total of 21 goals and a bucketload of assists across his time in SA to that point.

He labels all of this as life experience – not just football experience – and he is so grateful for it all.

It’s the kind of perspective that can lift United to a second Championship.

“It was really hard to leave Adelaide last year because I was at the Club for three-and-a-half years and formed a real connection with the team and we were very happy here,” Halloran said.

Ben Halloran celebrates a late equaliser against Melbourne City in the 2021/22 season at Coopers Stadium.

“I went over there with the best intentions, I think I was in really good form when I went, but it (the move to South Korea) just didn’t work out as it happens in football.

“I’m really grateful that Adelaide left the door open, I feel like I thrived here before I left and I’m looking to do that again now I’m back, and I have a renewed sense of motivation and gratitude to play.

“Ultimately you don’t make the decision if you’re going to play at the end of the day.

“So, I think that’s the most important thing for players to remember as well.”

The globetrotting Halloran credits the culture of the group and the work of coach Carl Veart as a major factor in his decision to return home.

Veart reciprocates the notion for the 2021/22 Aurelio Vidmar Medallist, often noting Ben’s positive, free-flowing play as one that suits his game plan immensely.

Halloran’s team-mates will firmly agree with their manager and note the calming and natural leadership presence of the experienced attacker.

Ben Halloran battles it out against Ben Garuccio in a pre-season friendly.

So much so that they might even tell you that his passion for birdwatching often features in training sessions and warm-ups.

“I’m a keen birdwatcher, so I’ve loved watching birds for a while now and it’s something I do a lot in my spare time and it’s kind of a passion of mine,” he said.

“It’s really grown on me especially being back here and in Adelaide and having so much amazing bird life on our doorstep.”

Halloran notes you need a decent set of binoculars for birdwatching just as he brings to the team; a broad lens that can only boost United’s hopes for a second Championship. And one that has cruelly evaded him.