Matthew “Spira” Spiranovic (SJOC 2006) has starred on the football world stage since leaving St Joseph’s, making 39 appearances for the Socceroos, representing Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and being part of the winning 2015 Asian Cup team.
The 188cm defender comes from a Croatian background and grew up surrounded by football from a young age. He came through the juniors at North Geelong and Melbourne Knights, representing Victoria at the Under 14 and Under 15 Australian national championship level.
Matthew was an inspirational leader for SJC on and off the field. Despite the demands of trialling for the Australian national team, Matthew always made himself available for selection – determined and willing to be part of the SJC team. He was intent on bringing the Cup home to the College for the first time, inspiring his teammates to go all the way with a memorable win in the ACC First XI Grand Final under coaches Adam Colak and Jason O’Connell. Matthew played in all games and, in doing so, Spira left a legacy here at Joeys for future generations to “strive for the highest”.
Matthew graduated from the Australian Institute of Sport in 2006, during which time he was awarded the 2005 Weinstein Medal for best junior player of the year by Football Federation Victoria.
At age 16 he played a number of pre-season games with A League club Melbourne Victory before signing with FC Nurnberg in the Bundesliga in Germany where he wore the number 23 shirt during a five-year tenure from 2006-2011. The composed, talented and technically proficient centre-back later joined the Urawa Red Diamonds and also played for Al-Arabi, Western Sydney Wanderers, Hangzhou Greentown and Perth Glory.
At age 25 Matthew started in all three of Australia’s matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and four months later won the 2014 AFC Champions League with Western Sydney Wanderers FC. Unfortunately injury ruled him out of the 2018 World Cup.
In July 2021, following two years without playing professional football, Matthew’s career came full circle when he signed a contract with Melbourne Victory, describing his return to the Victorian-based A League club as “living the dream life”.