The team from the Northern NSW NPL will meet Queensland NPL side FNQ Heat at Barlow Park in Cairns and the game represents a return to the national stage for 39-year-old striker McBreen, who came back to Australia this year after several seasons of playing in Asia.
The well-travelled McBreen played for three clubs in the A-League, but enjoyed easily his best days with Central Coast Mariners. He was in their championship-winning side of the 2012-13 season.
McBreen scored two goals in the finals series, including one in the 2-0 grand final win over Western Sydney Wanderers, to go with the 17 regular-season goals he put away to be the competition’s top marksman that season.
But now it is about enjoying a return stint with his old junior club in the twilight of his playing career, while at the same time he prepares for a likely post-playing career in coaching. He has already headed in that direction by adopting a busy schedule coaching juniors.
McBreen explained how his English parents, Jim and Kathy, only moved the family to Australia after his footballing father received an offer to play for Edgeworth.
“Edgeworth was the reason we came to Australia, so it is a special club to me,” McBreen said. “The people from the club came over to England and scouted my dad and three of his mates to play for them and brought us to Australia.
“And, you know, for me and my family it was probably the best thing ever for us, getting to move to Australia, near the beach, with the lifestyle out here.
“We never looked back and Edgeworth ended up being my first junior club. I went back there and played a bit of seniors as well before I went professional, and if I was going to play again after coming back from Asia last year it was always going to be back at Edgeworth.
“That was a no-brainer for me.”
McBreen is naturally excited about this FFA Cup chance, not only for himself but because it is a great opportunity for the young players at Edgeworth to experience both the joy and the pressure of a big game on the road.
“Yeah, look, it’s great,” he said. “When I signed with Edgeworth the manager said to me one of the priorities was to make the 32 again in the cup and hopefully we can now go on to the 16.
“I think it’s good we’ve also got an away tour for the boys, because a lot of the guys don’t get to experience an away trip in a team and it gives them a bit of an insight into what happens.
“We’ve got a very young team and if they go forward and progress into professional ranks this is what they can look forward to. You get to go to different places and hang out together and the bonding you get in those times is really good.
“Not to mention the game as well, of course. It’s a great opportunity for the guys to be on the national stage and that’s the reason you want to play, to compete at as high a level as you can.”
McBreen said it would be a blast for everyone involved at the club if Edgeworth could advance and then draw an A-League opponent in the next round.
“Yeah, for sure. Even when you’re getting old like me you still want to test yourself against the best and I know the boys really enjoyed their game last year against Melbourne City in the round of 32,” he said.
“I was at that game and I thought Edgeworth were tremendous. They led 1-0 and for a large portion of the game I thought they were the better team, but Aaron Mooy stepped up and smashed in two free kicks, as he does.
“It left the boys a bit gutted because the winner was virtually the last kick of the game, but they really loved the experience.
“Some of the boys still talk about that at training and they’re the things that as players you want to do, so it’s good for the guys to do it at such a young age and see what you can aspire to get to.
“It gives them a bit more motivation for this game as well.”