NICK RIZZO started playing football like any other young boy at his local club Queens Park in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. A local boy from Bronte, Nick Rizzo had the dream of one day playing professionally in Europe and also playing for the Socceroos.
Rizzo played in the Eastern Suburbs till under 13’s age group where he decided that a move to the famous Sydney Olympic was needed to further his footballing career. After turning in strong performances in the U/14’s and U/15’s Rizzo was spotted by the then ex Socceroo Peter Katholos and at the tender age of 15 was promoted to play for Sydney Olympic’s U/21 national youth league side where Peter Katholos was head coach.
It was here that Rizzo came under the watchful eye of former APIA great and ex Socceroo Archie Blue. Rizzo had been overlooked for every state team from U/13’s to U/15’s but impressive performances in Sydney Olympics U/21’s side enabled Rizzo to be selected in the Australian U/17’s (known as the Joeys). He participated in the 1995 world U/17 championships in Ecuador with the likes of Harry Kewell, Brett Emerton and Danny Allsopp where the Joeys lost in the quarter finals to World powerhouse Brazil.
Former APIA great, ex Socceroo and ex England professional Archie Blue rated Rizzo highly and organised a trial with Liverpool.
Rizzo arrived in England in 1996 joining English giants Liverpool after a successful 8 day trial. Rizzo, after his encouraging first season playing in Liverpool’s reserve side, the then 18 year old was promoted into Liverpool’s first team where he was handed the number 28 first team squad number.
During this time Rizzo became a Socceroo at 18 years of age when he made his debut against Croatia in 1998.
He was then lured to Crystal Palace by Terry Venables for two seasons and featured in 58 games before moving in 2000 to Italian Serie B side Ternana where he was reunited with current Socceroo and friend Vince Grella.
The famous former Juventus and Italian international great Attilio Lombardo, the then teammate of Rizzo at Crystal Palace, recommended he try the Italian game and was instrumental in Rizzo signing with the ambitious Ternana.
Rizzo also became an Australian U/20 international (young socceroos) helping them win their qualifying group in Samoa, but was later robbed of playing at the 1999 world youth tournament in Nigeria due to a medial ligament strain he received while playing for Crystal Palace.
In 2000 Rizzo played for the Olyroos in his hometown city of Sydney during the Olympics.
By 21 years of age Rizzo had represented Australia at every level possible, namely the U/17’s, U/20’s, Olyroos and of course the Socceroos.
Rizzo’s three year contract with Ternana was masked by a persistent and nearly career ending injury to his right knee.
Rizzo returned to the English game when he decided to end his time in Italy and with the advice of former Crystal Palace and Socceroo coach Terry Venables he joined English side Milton Keynes Dons (former Wimbledon FC) in 2004 where he stayed for three seasons.
In June 2007 Rizzo returned to Australia after an 11 year stint playing in England and Italy where he signed for Perth Glory and remained for two seasons.