The towering striker only inched into the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ squad, but ultimately made some crucial contributions off the bench, notably in the historic win over Japan. Unlike four years ago when he was behind captain Mark Viduka as the go-to man in attack, Kennedy is this time set to play an integral role for the Socceroos at South Africa 2010.
At 194cm and with strong aerial ability, Kennedy, along with the famous leaping ability of Tim Cahill, provides Australia with a number of options via high balls, either at set-pieces or in general play. Kennedy’s heading prowess plus his ability to hold off defenders makes him a likely starter especially if Australia utilise a lone striker system favoured throughout the qualification campaign.
Kennedy’s career started brightly being a member of the first Australian team to reach a FIFA world final when the Joeys featured in the FIFA U-17 World Cup final in 1999. He made the move abroad soon after, and at 18 lined up for Wolfsburg in his first Bundesliga match – the youngest Australian to feature in the German first division. After a couple of years on loan in the lower divisions, he established a regular spot at Dynamo Dresden in the 2004/05 season, before earning a move to high-flying Bundesliga club Nuremberg just prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. However upon returning from Germany 2006 Kennedy snapped his Achilles tendon in his first training session, effectively ending his season, and ultimately he missed out on the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.
Taking over the role vacated by Viduka, Kennedy has often competed with Scott McDonald for the main striking position. In the last year or so Kennedy has largely been preferred by coach Pim Verbeek and the 27-year-old played eight qualifying matches scoring three goals.
Kennedy, who is married to Australian national basketball player Jacinta Hamilton, moved to Japan in mid 2009 joining Nagoya Grampus. His form in the J.League has been excellent scoring some crucial goals and enjoying regular football leading into South Africa.