Melbourne Heart signing Patrick Gerhardt drawn to 'great city'
Former Galaxy Star, New Melbourne Heart signing.Updated Wednesday June 27, 2012 by Picture: Michael Klein Source: Herald Sun.
ROMANIA, Canada and Bosnia are more popular backpacking than soccer destinations and, for the past four years, Melbourne Heart's newest import has called these places home.
So it's little surprise Patrick Gerhardt's elected another tourist hot spot for his latest odyssey.
The Swiss-born midfielder is a current Liberian international who rejected better offers from Russia, Germany and Turkey to sign for Heart.
"I told my manager I wanted a change from Europe, maybe Asia - then he said there was interest from Australia and I thought 'why not?' Australia is a nice country and Melbourne is a great city," Gerhardt said.
"Some players don't care about the destination as long as the money is good, but for me it's not just about the money. The combination must be good.
"I had better offers to go to Russia and some other leagues but I don't want to just stay in a hotel and have no life.
"When I'm not happy I cannot play good football, I must feel comfortable."
Gerhardt, 26, came through the Young Boys Bern ranks and eventually ended up at Bosnian club Zeljeznicar (which produced Man City's Edin Dzeko), playing a key role as they claimed the league and cup double.
A defensive midfielder, he's been capped twice by Liberia, most recently in the 3-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying loss to Papiss Cisse's Senegal on June 2.
Gerhardt, who was alerted to the club by former Heart midfielder Josip Skoko, trained with the squad last week and completed a medical before signing a two-year deal.
Heart coach John Aloisi said he'd been impressed with what he'd seen.
"You can see he's got leadership qualities, he's someone who can coach on the pitch and, even though he doesn't know players well, he's been talking a lot," Aloisi said.
"And he'll break up a lot of play in midfield, which is what we need, plus he's comfortable on the ball."
MEANWHILE, Heart defender Curtis Good has been selected in Paul Okon's 23-man Young Socceroos squad for the AFC U22 Championship qualifiers in Indonesia from July 5-15.
The Young Socceroos take on Indonesia, Macau, Singapore, Timor Leste and Japan in group E, with the top two teams advancing to the finals.