Stefan Mauk on The Pitch Podcast

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Former Adelaide United captain Stefan Mauk says he would like to return to play for the Reds, but it would be unlikely for a couple of years.

Currently playing for Fagiano Okayama in Japan’s second division, Mauk grew up in Adelaide and was part of the Reds side that won the 2015-16 A-League Championship.

While his first professional contract came with Melbourne City as a 16-year-old, and he also played for Brisbane Roar, the 28-year-old has a soft spot for Adelaide United as his hometown club.

Back in Australia after his side missed the J2 League playoffs, Mauk dropped into Coopers Stadium to chat with Jarrod Walsh on The Pitch Podcast and said he would like to finish his career with the Reds.

“Things have to align because you’ve got the salary cap… and you know, if there’s players in my position doing well, Adelaide can’t just come and get me,” he said.

“Hopefully, they would with the relationship we’ve got but things have to align because you might get another team that says we’ll pay you double, and you don’t want to go but that’s I guess the reality of the way it is in Australia at the moment.”

While he hoped to remain in Japan for another season or two at least, Mauk said he could not rule out returning to Australia sooner.

“Hopefully I’ve got another good couple years over in Japan, and then come back but football is a funny game and you never know how quickly things can change,” he explained.

“Having a young family might change my view on things but ideally, I’m playing till I’m 35/36 and (I can) come back here and have a good three or four years and win another couple of championships.

“That would be very nice. The best way to finish off.”

With Fagiano missing the playoffs in a tight J2 League competition, Mauk has found one positive in the premature end to his season.

It has allowed him to return home and spend time with family – particularly his heavily pregnant wife Carla who returned home six weeks ago as they await the birth of their first child.

“She’s due, well she’s 38 and a half weeks so at any moment the baby could come and if I was in the playoffs, then it would have been one to two more weeks away so I possibly could have missed the birth and that wouldn’t have been great,” Mauk said.

“So it’s not good for football but great for I guess the the next stage of life becoming a dad. I’ll definitely be here for the birth unless it comes right now.

“She already had the obstetrician here lined up so she was more comfortable. We could have had the baby over there but the issue was getting the passport. It’s not as simple as you know, just getting a baby on a plane. The passport could have taken three months with a lot of procedure of sending the documents to Australia so it would have been such a hassle.

“I’ve got six, seven weeks off now back in Adelaide. It’s the best time to be here, summer, so we’ll have the baby here and Carla’s family, and my family will be here to help us as well, which is always nice.”

In the podcast, Mauk also discussed his fond memories of playing in that unforgettable Grand Final at Adelaide Oval, Nestory Irankunda and what happens behind the scenes in transfer negotiations as well as reflecting on football in Japan.

Hear the full episode below.

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