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In profile of Wellington Olympic AFC 'Throwback Thursday' is 2010 FIFA World Cup star Leo Bertos.


Leo Bertos, (born 20 December 1981) is easily one of the most exciting talents to come out of Wellington Olympic AFC.

The former Wellington College 1st XI youngster made a name for himself very quickly. In 1997 he was named in the schools strong 1st XI which he became a key member of the squad till his final year of 1999. At the tender age of 15, Leo made his Wellington Olympic AFC first team debut also in 1997. He went on to make 48 first team appearances before signing for English Championship side Barnsley FC in 2000.

Leo Bertos in action for Barnsley FC v Norwich City FC in England

Arguably the most exciting winger to come through the ranks at club, Bertos made his debut for Barnsley FC in a 4-0 defeat to Preston North End, on 16 April 2001. He went on to feature in the first team at Barnsley till he was sold in 2003 to Rochdale AFC.

He had a reasonably successful two-year spell at Rochdale AFC were he went on to make 82 appearances, scoring 12 goals for the League Two side based in the greater Manchester.

Leo moved on from the UK in 2006 were he signed a two-year contract for Perth Glory in Hyundai A-League. Leo's moved to the western state of Australia replaced star midfielder Nick Ward. Starting all 21 matches of the regular season, Bertos' pace, ability to beat his man, and dangerous crosses from wide areas, resulted in nine assists in his debut season, making him the highest assisting player in the league.

On 24 January 2008, Bertos was signed by his hometown club Wellington Phoenix FC. He played in 16 of the 21 regular matches in debut season for the club, which resulted in Leo being named Wellington Phoenix FC Player of the Year for 2008–09.

The former Wellington Olympic AFC Junior went on to spend six memorable seasons at his hometown club the Wellington Phoenix FC, but on the 13th of April 2014, the Phoenix announced he would be leaving the club.

Leo now applys his trade in India as he signed a two-year contract for East Bengal, who compete in the Indian I-League. His move to South Asia has also seen him join on loan at Indian Super League Club NorthEast United, which his former New Zealand International manager Ricki Herbert is head coach.

Bertos made his international debut against Iran on the 13th of October 2003 and has represented New Zealand 56 times, which has seen him up against some of the worlds best in Brazil, Italy, Spain, Chile, Costa Rica, South Africa, Mexico, Serbia, and Paraguay.

In Wellington on 14 November 2009, Bertos provided the assist in a thumping game winner against Bahrain to secure New Zealand a spot at the 2010 FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1982.

Bertos was on hand to see the World Cup trophy unveiled on New Zealand soil for the first time, when it made an eight-hour stop-over in Auckland on its world wide tour before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Bertos played in all three games at the World Cup, putting in gritty performances to earn New Zealand a 1–1 draw with Slovakia, a 1–1 draw with reigning world champions Italy, and their final 0–0 draw with Paraguay.

A star of New Zealand Football, which we at Wellington Olympic AFC are proud to announce as one of our own. Well done on all your achievements Leo, it's been a joy for the club to watch you grow into the history books of New Zealand Football.

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