A scenic flight over New Zealand convinced Stefan Marinovic of his post-football calling.

The Wellington Phoenix and All Whites goalkeeper was on a break during his time playing for Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS three years ago and was holidaying back in his homeland.

"I was lucky enough to go up in a small aircraft and see New Zealand from above and how beautiful it was," said Marinovic.

"You can see it from below and walk through the parks, but to see it from above is just another dimension altogether.


"I went back to Canada and did some research and thought, 'I can do that'," he said.

Marinovic – whose father was an Air New Zealand purser for 25 years – started working towards his commercial pilot's license and has continued that study since arriving at the Phoenix in July last year.

Apart from staying fit for football with an eye on an A-League resumption, the towering custodian has spent a large chunk of time during lockdown with his nose in the books.

"It started off as a hobby," said Marinovic.

"I had to see if I liked it and ended up loving it. I can see myself doing something like that after I've finished (playing). If I don't want to sit behind a desk when I've finished my career I might as well do something like that.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be flying 747's around the world, but tourist operations or something (like that) somewhere down the line, why not?"

Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic takes flight. Photo / Photosport
Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic takes flight. Photo / Photosport

Those aspirations will soon go on hold again with Football Federation Australia targeting a return to the A-League training field in July.

Plans are in place for the final six rounds of the regular season and a finals series to be played at a central hub, almost certainly Sydney.


The Phoenix will base themselves in Australia for a period of up to two months as they look to complete what many consider to be their best A-League campaign.

Marinovic's contributions have been integral to the side's success with his performances putting him in conversations about the competition's best goalkeeper.