Off the back of a successful A-League season, Kye Rowles and Ruon Tongyik will head to the Olympics as part of the Olyroos squad announced by Football Australia earlier today.
Rowles and Tongyik were key members of the Mariners strong backline this season, keeping seven clean sheets as a defensive pairing, and have been rewarded for their excellent campaigns with national team callups.
It will be the second call up this year for Tongyik who recently made his Socceroos debut in the World Cup Qualifiers in Kuwait and will join the Olyroos squad as one of three overage players selected by Graham Arnold.
“It’s an amazing feeling that I can’t describe, it’s been a great year with the Mariners and making my Socceroos debut & to top it off a call up for the Olympics is fantastic,” Tongyik said earlier this week.
“I’m so excited and honoured to represent Australia, I’m so grateful to my family, club and team mates for support, they have helped me so much and I can’t thank them enough.”
Tongyik was full of praise for his defensive partner, and also touched on how it felt to make his Socceroos debut earlier this month.
“I’m so happy for Kye, no one deserves it more than him,” he said.
“He is such a humble guy and fantastic footballer. We have formed a great partnership and to both potentially wear green and gold would be incredible.”
‘It was a special moment making my Socceroos debut, one that I will never forget. The journey to get there was tough and only drives me for more. Australia has done so much for my family & I’ll be forever grateful for that.”
The selection caps off a big season for Rowles, who played arguably his best football to date and was rewarded recently with the signing of a new two-year deal keeping him on the Central Coast until June 2023.
The 23-year-old was already in the Olyroos conversation last year, and only solidified his inclusion over the course of the campaign, saying this week it was the ‘ultimate reward’ and looking forward to the potential of lining up alongside his club teammate.
“This season was definitely a positive one with the club for sure, and to be selected for your country is always the ultimate reward, it’s still pretty surreal,” Rowles said.
“To potentially line up with RT for the Olyroos would be amazing. We really came together this year and hopefully we can continue that in the future.”
“I want to play as well as I can and give the team everything I’ve got, and we want to go as far at the Olympics as possible.”
Mariners Head of Football Ken Schembri congratulated both players on the achievement and wished them the best of luck at the tournament.
“We’re all incredibly proud of Ruon and Kye, and their selection is well deserved after their strong performances this year,” Schembri said.
“We will all be supporting the Olyroos in the upcoming Olympics, and all of us at the club wish our lads and the Olyroos the very best of luck at the Olympics.”
Their selections follow that of Gianni Stensness, who was recently included in NZ Football's Olympics squad.