If you spotted Melbourne Victory’s first new international signing of the off-season, Tim Hoogland, walking down Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, you’d be forgiven for passing him off as a local.
Hoogland, his arms adorned in stylish ink and with a taste for good coffee, is loving his new life in Melbourne.
Likewise, Hoogland’s family has settled into the Melbourne lifestyle, and all that remains for him, his wife and six-year-old son is to find their home for the year.
“We have settled in quite well, but we’re still searching for an apartment or house,” said Hoogland.
“We’re looking in Fitzroy now because the school for my son is close by. It’s a German school.
“I think the city is very European and there’s lots to do with the family here. We’ve been to the IMAX the other day to see a movie about Australia which was great, and there are heaps of really good restaurants too so we’re enjoying a bit of everything at the moment.”
When asked about his tattoos and coffee tastes, Hoogland agreed he was destined to be a Melbourne local.
“Yeah, I think so!” Hoogland says with a grin from ear to ear.
“Most of the tattoos have a meaning too. There are different ones for family and ones to help motivate me – I feel like they give me power.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll get something new while I’m here. Maybe some fans can recommend a good tattoo shop for me to go to!”
Football and family are everything for Hoogland, and to have them and some home comforts around the club have made settling in that much easier.
“Marco was never my coach before, but it’s always good to have someone who speaks your own language because it gives you that extra feeling of home.
“I also played with Robbie in Germany – he says his German is good… I say it could be better. He probably knows the words you don’t want to know, if you know what I mean!
“The other guys are also really nice. I feel like something big is coming.
“You can also feel the power of the place. I saw we have over 21,000 members and that’s really amazing.
“I just can’t wait for the season to begin and starting with a Derby is always nice, but to be fair the game is the same in all countries around the world which helps to settle too.”
His greatest football memory? Scoring at Bernabéu of course, and it is memories like this and feeling as fit as ever that motivates Hoogland, 34, to keep playing the game he loves.
“There are a lot of memories, but I think the goal I scored in Bernabéu was one of the biggest ones,” said Hoogland.
“I think it was Quarter Final or Round of 16, it was amazing. It was deflected, but anyways, it was still a goal and it’s one of the biggest and best memories I have.
“To play in a game like that after I was injured for almost two years is something I’m proud of, and it’s what also motivates me to keep playing, so I can show everyone that age is just a number.
“I want to play as long as I can and as long as I feel I can compete with the younger lads. Football is my life so I’m giving everything to play as long as I can.”