FORMER WA State team and Fremantle City striker Kevin Correia has died. He passed away on November 15 at the age of 38.
Kevin played three times for the State side.
He made an impressive debut in the 4-0 win over the Malaysian Under-23 team at Litis Stadium in 2000, setting up one goal and being responsible for another when he was taken down in the penalty area, allowing Sandy Robertson to then score from the spot.
WA coach Paul Wormley then picked Correia to be part of the State side that put on a brave performance against former European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade in an international challenge in front of a crowd of 3,500 at Litis Stadium in 2001.
Red Star, whose side included $30 million star striker Goran Drulic, won 2-0 but the Europeans were forced to fight all the way to get on top of their part-time opponents.
Kevin’s final State team appearance was in an international against Iraq in 2003. The Iraqis were coached by former Perth Glory coach Bernd Stange and won 4-0 in a contest in Albany.
He had played most of his club football with Fremantle City, turning in some brilliant efforts that made him one of the best young players of his generation.
His efforts included scoring four goals in a stunning 12-0 win over Ashfield/Bunbury in 1999.
And he was a key performer in Fremantle City’s league championship win in 2000.
“Kevin was a terrific young player, probably one of the best in Western Australia at the time we won the league,” said Correia’s former Fremantle team-mate Steve Bourne.
Stuart Kamasz was Fremantle’s coach at the time and he has fond memories of Kevin.
He said: “I remember when I took on Freo City in 1997 and we were training up in Mosman Park at the Footy club grounds.
“They asked me to have a chat with the under 18 squad one night and I noticed one kid who looked overweight and had an ill fitting track suit on and I thought he would struggle at training. When I mentioned it to Joe Perreira he said don’t be fooled by his appearance as he is very skilful and knows where the goals are.
“Kevin proved him right and he was a regular scorer as he moved through the ranks.
“He seemed to have an issue with his weight early days and it held him back a little but later on after returning from a stint overseas in Portugal with a professional side he looked tremendous and had slimmed down and he really shone and realised his true potential. Much fitter and quicker now and coupled with his natural ability and eye for goal Kevin went to another level.
“I used to love his celebrations when he scored and the local Portuguese supporters loved him. He will be sadly missed.”
Correia’s talent caught the eye of many others who could identify a touch of brilliance, including former Olyroos coach Raul Blanco.
The striker was a member of the West Australian Institute of Sport training squad when he was a teenager and Blanco made it known that he was keeping an eye on his progress.
The opportunity to show his wares in Europe came about the same time, and Kevin opted to join Portuguese first division side Maritimo. He had a season with them.
He was also on the radar of National Soccer League club Northern Spirit, who gave him a trial in 2000. However, he suffered an injury and had to return to Perth.