Former Ipswich footballer Josh Grommen has signed with Thai league side Sukhothai FC as he embarks on his comeback from shoulder surgery.
Former Ipswich footballer Josh Grommen has signed with Thai league side Sukhothai FC as he embarks on his comeback from shoulder surgery.

Ipswich international’s touching tribute after horror 2020

A SOCCEROOS dream is still very much in the sights of former Western Pride defender Joshua Grommen, despite a horror 2020 clouded with injury and the loss of his best mate.

Far from being discouraged by his setbacks, Grommen’s resolve has been strengthened as he prepares to make his long awaited comeback from shoulder surgery with Thai league side Sukhothai next month.

In a touching tribute to his late friend Kertz Coddington, Grommen will don a new pair of boots inlaid with 4KERTZ 271296 in his return to football.

Josh Grommen has had a pair of boots made up bearing the name of his best friend, Kertz Coddington, who recently died.
Josh Grommen has had a pair of boots made up bearing the name of his best friend, Kertz Coddington, who recently died.

Grommen, who dislocated the same shoulder twice in the past year, said he was looking forward to getting back into football after a long recovery.

“Sukhothai Fc contacted me a month ago about re-signing with the club for the second half of the Thai Premier League season, which had been postponed due to COVID-19 like a lot of sports around the world,” he said.

“This gave me the perfect opportunity. The club has told me that they are wanting to complete my rehab and work with me to get me to full fitness again.

“Every day the physio is giving me strength and fitness programs to do before and after training so it has been a busy few weeks.

“I pretty much wake up, go for a run, then straight to the gym, rest for few hours then training.

“The management and coach has already spoken to me about the role they want me to play on the field and said that they need a leader and know that I’m very outspoken on and off the field so they wanting someone to take control at the centre of the defence.”

The two-time Philippines U23 representative, 24, has previously played for club sides including Ceres Negros and Loyola in that country.

Josh Grommen playing in the Asian Champions League.
Josh Grommen playing in the Asian Champions League.

Despite being Brisbane-born, Grommen’s mum Alma Bulan is Filippino which makes him eligible to represent both countries.

“I’ve always wanted to represent Australia that has always been my number one choice as I was born there,” he said.

“The Philippines was a great opportunity for me to make a name for myself in the Asian market and so I followed this path when the opportunities in Australia became very limited. “I’m lucky to have a Filipino passport as it makes playing in Asia a lot easier. But who knows what can happen in my career.”

Grommen decided to play for Brisbane City in the National Premier League Competition after his most recent Filippino club, Ceres Negros, folded.

He lasted barely seven minutes on the park for the sky blues before dislocating his shoulder, then after a month of rehabilitation, he repeated the injury in his first game back.

He underwent surgery in October and is now feeling a lot more confident.

“The Thai league isn’t as physical as other leagues I have played in but the quality of football here is a very high standard and clubs can definitely compete with top clubs all around Asia,” he said.

Joshua Grommen signs with Thai Premier League club Sukhothai.
Joshua Grommen signs with Thai Premier League club Sukhothai.

“The foreign talent here is top class, along with the local Thai players, as football here is more technical.

“Before COVID-19 the crowds here were good, averaging 10-30,000 depending on the club, as usually bigger crowds are the clubs that are based in Bangkok.”

He said taking the field with his mate’s name sewn into his boots would be special.

“I grew up with Kertz since we were eight years old, he was my best friend, my brother,” he said.

“We did everything together and always were outside playing football everyday.

“We both always dreamt to play football professionally and travel the world but sometimes in life things change and the unexpected passing of Kertz was extremely hard on me.

“The boots I got with his name on them I guess is a symbol that every time I step on the field he will be there with me playing along side me chasing that dream of ours.”