Michael Baird (footballer) : biography
Michael William Baird (born 1 August 1983 in Brisbane, Australia) is an Australian Association football (soccer) striker. Michael has played in both the NSL and the Hyundai A-League, spending time at clubs in New South Wales and Queensland. The young striker then moved overseas to play with Universitatea Craiova in the Romanian top flight, however due to a contract dispute, he moved back to Australia to compete in the A-League for Perth Glory missing out on the first 3 rounds of the 2010/2011 season due to his lack of provisional clearance by FIFA.
Michael Baird was born in Newmarket, Brisbane and began playing football at the age of five, with his local club, Newmarket SFC. In 2000, he began his professional career, with the Brisbane Lions Soccer Club (now known as Queensland Lions FC) in the Brisbane Premier League. Baird stayed with them in 2001, and scored 7 goals from 17 games during the season. In 2001–02, Baird was promoted to the National Soccer League, signing with the Brisbane Strikers, with whom he scored 4 goals from 15 appearances. The club finished fourth on the league table, but at the end of the season Baird signed with the team who had defeated the Strikers in the elimination final, South Melbourne FC for 2002–03. Meanwhile Baird made 18 appearances for South Melbourne in the 2002–03 NSL season, scoring 4 goals as they finished 7th, one point shy of the finals.
Upon returning to Australia, Baird completed the 2003–04 season with Sydney Olympic, picking up 2 goals in his 11 appearances. Baird returned briefly to the Queensland Lions for the 2004 QPL season, helping the team to the premiership before transferring to the Bonnyrigg White Eagles in the New South Wales Premier League.
In late 2004, Baird received offers from new A-League clubs Queensland Roar and the Central Coast Mariners, but made the decision to sign with his home club, thus becoming one of the first recruits for the Roar. Baird played in Queensland's 3-0 loss to Sydney FC in the Australian qualifiers for the 2004–05 Oceania Club Championship, but in late June he was struck with osteitis pubis, and it was feared he would miss the start of the inaugural A-League season. However, despite not playing in Queensland's Pre-Season Cup matches, Baird was fit in time for their first A-League game, scoring the final goal in their 2-0 win over the New Zealand Knights. Baird made a total of 20 appearances for the Roar in the 2005–06 season, scoring 6 goals and earning a red card in a round 14 match against the Mariners. Late in the season, Baird was released from the second year of his Roar contract to sign a four-year deal with Romanian club FC Universitatea Craiova, and finished off his A-League career with a goal in his final game. On 15 April 2010 it was confirmed that Baird along with his FC Universitatea Craiova team mate Josh Mitchell had returned home to sign for A-League side Perth Glory. After Struggling to make an impact with Perth Glory it was announced that on 6 January 2011 that Central Coast Mariners had signed the forward until the end of the 2011-2012 season.
On 17 November 2011, Baird joined the Malaysian club, Sabah FA as one of the two foreign players allowed in the 2012 Malaysia Super League. Baird, alongside his fellow countrymen, Brendan Gan signed a one-year contract Sabah. Retrieved at 18 November 2011 Baird scored 4 goals in 8 appearances for Sabah.
At the age of 19, Baird was selected in the Australian national team to play in the Oceania Football Confederation qualifying matches for the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship. He played in Australia's first match, a 2-0 victory over Vanuatu, then scored 4 goals in an 11-0 thrashing of Fiji in the first leg of the tournament final.
Baird was selected in the 20-man squad to represent Australia in the 2003 World Youth Championship, also playing in Australia's 2-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates in the leadup to the tournament. During the competition, however, Baird only managed a 32-minute appearance in Australia's 2-1 win over Canada, preferred behind Alex Brosque, Scott McDonald and Spase Dilevski. Australia finished on top of their group with 7 points, including a surprise victory over Brazil, before losing 1-0 to the hosts, the United Arab Emirates in the round of sixteen.
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