You could not have wiped the huge smile off Sydney University SFC star Taren King’s face after the 24-year-old proudly watched her brother Joel put on a magnificent display in the Olyroos’ historic 2-0 victory over South American giants Argentina in their opening fixture at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Pulling on the Green and Gold jersey meant so much to the King household after seeing the 20-year-old rising young Sydney FC star along with his teammates produce a result that will long be remembered in our game.
“I don’t know how to describe how proud Joel makes us as a family,” said Taren.
“We’ve always been proud of him, but lately, proud just doesn’t seem to do him justice.
“I think he’s really settled into the men’s game now. He even looks the part rather than the skinny lanky kid.
“Joel’s put in a lot of extras in the gym and behind closed doors over the years so I’m really happy for him to be finally reaping the rewards for being the hard worker he has been since he was little.”
Born and bred in the suburb of Shellharbour, pre-COVID restrictions, the plan was to watch Joel do his thing for the nation as a family, but sadly, each of the King household had to watch it across numerous locations.
“Unfortunately due to lockdown all the respective parts of my family had to watch from their own couches last night, otherwise I’m sure there would’ve been dozens of us all crowded around our TV at home cheering Joel and the boys on.”
Apart from being a whiz on the football pitch, Joel is also rumoured to be quite the chef, but the Sydney Uni skipper put those rumours to bed.
“I think I mentioned it in an interview once previously about how he goes alright in the kitchen.
“He’s very helpful when me and my partner Julia are really busy of a night time, but if anyone’s the head chef, it’s got to be me (laughs).
“I had lots of friends message me last night to check I was still alive, so I can confirm we’re surviving without him.”
Growing up there was always a sense of competitiveness between Taren and Joel and as the Sydney University star stated to Football NSW, it really assisted in the dynamic duo developing their football skills. It was however the huge commitment their parents played that really put everything into perspective on the sacrifices they did to ensure all three kids were looked after.
“Growing up was great, Mum said we were very similar, almost like twins, regardless of the close to 4-year age gap. Dad will tell you that we were competitive because in backyard games the teams always had to be Joel and I versus my dad and my older brother Scotty. If this wasn’t the case, you could bet there would be tears and arguments (Laughs).
“We were a pretty good matchup, he probably had the skill and technique over me as kids but unfortunately for him, I had the muscle.
“Aside from the backyard antics, both my brothers and I are really lucky to have such supportive parents. They honestly did everything they could to help us achieve whatever we put our mind to.
“I don’t think I really understood the extent of their commitment to us until recently when I realised how busy I am as an adult, and I couldn’t imagine running two kids to different parts of Sydney and back almost every day of the week on top of my own commitments.”
While Taren eagerly anticipates the Olyroos’ next match against Spain and of course the Matildas, one thing she has missed has been playing her own football.
With current Greater Sydney lockdown restrictions in place, Football activities have taken a back seat as the state grips with stopping the spread but King stated the positive signs were there to be seen for all as the Uni girls grew in confidence week after week.
“We’ve had a bit of a tough start to our season this year.
“We’ve got a very new and young squad that has a lot of potential so it’s exciting to think how lethal we could be once we start to settle in and click, and hopefully this is a squad we can maintain for the next few seasons.
“We had a few up and down results in the first round but dominated most games, so we were hoping to go one better in each of our games before the lockdown hit.
“Hopefully at some point we get to come back and prove ourselves once more.”