Fast forward three years, and Alex is now a regular in the Flame midfield for our mens first grade side.
Speaking with the Flame social media team, Alex tells the story about how a mutual connection with the Flame brought him over to the club in 2019.
“I was meant to be down here for a month and a half, just coming down and training with the [Wollongong] Wolves. Ben Lucas, an ex-Flame player, was coaching with the Wolves’ skill acquisition program at the time and he said to come and train with the Flame for a session”, Galbraith said.
“Within the first 10 minutes of training, I got brought aside and they [the coaching staff] were like ‘Do you want to sign with us?’. I said that I was only here for another three weeks to which they replied ‘Can you change your flight?’”
Within 24 hours, Galbraith had called his parents and changed his flight. He would continue to play with the Flame for the next few months of the 2019 State League season.
Galbraith impressed straight away, with a goal and a man of the match performance on debut in a 1-1 draw against Central Coast United in 2019, on a picturesque day in Gosford.
“I remember rocking up there [at Central Coast] saying ‘Ah this field is so nice, this is beautiful’. I think I still have a picture of it on my phone. It was one of my most favourite games to play in, couldn’t of had a better environment to play in.
“I scored with my left foot from 20 yards out, and got the man of the match on debut. I missed a good chance in that second half, looking back on that I still say ‘should of scored that, should have won’”
Following his stint with the Flame, Galbraith returned to America with the plan to come back to Australia in 2020, however the COVID pandemic halted those plans and Galbraith would spend the next two years at home in the United States.
Galbraith returned to Ian McLennan park in 2022 for the FNSW mens league three competition with the Flame, however the club had experienced a lot of change since Galbraith was last in the country.
“There’s been a lot of change [at the Flame]. I think there’s only two guys left [in first grade] from when I was there last time, which is kind of crazy to me. They’re a great bunch of guys though, can’t complain about it. Some real characters in our team”
Galbraith is looking forward to continuing his time with the Flame as he completes his final year of university studies at the University of Wollongong. He is looking forward to travelling around the state and visiting different parts of the country while playing the game he loves.
“I love just going to different places. Playing these games [with the Flame], you see a lot of Australia through just going to different pitches. Even the canteens are all cultural-based, seeing what they’re serving and just talking to people. They definitely pick that I’m American right away!”
Galbraith and the Flame’s senior mens squads travel up to Western Sydney this Saturday night to take on the Western Rage. U/20’s kick off at 5pm and first grade kick off at 7pm.
Article by Jarrod Pollard