Perth-born James Haran has been playing the round ball game since the age of seven but has loved it for even longer. With a football playing father and a family who shared his love, it didn’t take the former Coogee Primary School student long to decide that football was not only the game for him but also his future. This revelation is when his journey literally as well as figuratively began, as he moved to New South Wales and then England in pursuit of his dream.
“I moved to Sydney for football at the age eleven,” Haran told Football Central.
“Sydney had better teams and more opportunities for football. Then I left sydney to go abroad to England at the age of fifteen.”
Whlie in Australia, Haran was a member of clubs with impressive histories within their states and even nationally such as West Australia’s Cockburn City, and Sydney teams APIA Leichardt and the Marconi Stallions. But like many young Australian players, his dreams laid abroad so The Hills Sports High School student packed up everything once again and made the leap.
“I was signed to Blacktown Demons but then left because I got offered a contract from Queen’s Park Rangers (QPR),” said the 18 year old.
“I’ve always wanted to play abroad in England from a young kid watching Premier League. Trust me it was not for the weather. There wasn’t any interest from the A-league far as I was aware.
“I came over on trial for a few clubs: Everton, Aston villa, Fulham, and QPR. They all wanted me to come back but QPR pretty much offered me a contract straight away so I decided to go with them.”
It’s been three years now since the Perth native ventured abroad and he has undergone a transformation as a player, switching from trying to create goals to preventing them.
“I was an attacking right midfielder/striker as a kid back in Australia and I’m a defender now.
“QPR saw potential in me as a centre back and now here I am now being labelled a defender. I used to play at the back sometimes for Hills Sports in Sydney so I was semi used to it.
“But I’ve learnt a lot and moulded myself into being a defender now. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about the game. I can also play right back which I love as I get to attack up the line but also defend so it’s a win-win for me if I’m in that position. I get to show my pace and both my attacking and defending skills. But not saying I don’t enjoy centre back.”
Initially signed to a three year deal by Rangers he has since been offered a further year which will see him stay on for next season. With his immediate future secured the West Australian can focus on achieving his football goals at both club and country level.
“My short term goal would be to play well and be a constant for QPR under 21′s till the end of the season and then at the beginning of next season go out on loan to either League Two or League One,” revealed the defender.
“Long term, obviously break into the first team and play football as my career. And play for my country!”
He has already been in the sights of Football Federation of Australia but due to unfortunate circumstances nothing came of it, however Haran has not given up hope of getting another chance to don the green and gold.
“When I was a first year scholar (at QPR) I got invited to an Australian camp but unfortunately got injured, and I have been unlucky with injures for a bit after that.
“But definitely the Young Socceroos at the moment is my aim. I would love to represent my country.”
One such injury suffered by Haran happened while on loan to Southern Premier League side, Arlesey Town who he joined last September on a 28-day loan.
“I got injured during training whilst on loan. I tore my quad and was only meant to be out for a few weeks but then I got a big haematoma so I had to wait until that went down which was a few more weeks until I could continue my rehab.
“I was out for close to two and a bit months. I’m fine now and been back from injury for a couple months now.”