To me, soccer is more than just a sport. It is a daily part of my life that I cherish and value with my whole heart.
But it has not always been this way and today I’m going to share my experience with you.
I’ve always been surrounded by soccer.
My family would sit on the couch and cheer on Chelsea — you know back when the likes of Drogba, Lampard and Terry were in their prime.
Even though my family had ‘‘Football Fever’’ at that time (about 2005-07) I still wasn’t influenced by their ways — I used to absolutely hate it!
I was more the cartoon and WWE type of child, rather than watching or being associated with football.
It wasn’t until the middle of 2009 that my brother asked if I wanted to go for a walk; I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I trusted him.
Where we lived in Albury, there was a soccer club close to our home.
As the lights of the soccer pitch were in sight I started feeling nervous and didn’t know what to expect.
We officially arrived at my first ever training and everyone was happy to see “Gracia’s brother” — you know my brother was a bit of a star around the area.
But I wasn’t keen on meeting people, due to my shy personality at the time.
As time flew by my confidence grew and grew, to the point where I was friends with everyone.
Sadly my time at Albury City Soccer Club came to a premature end, as our family moved to Shepparton.
A few years passed and I was back on the field, but I wasn’t my confident self.
I had people all around me telling me I wasn’t good enough, and many seasons passed with me looking at my fellow players and thinking that I’d never be good enough.
In 2015 everything changed.
I told myself I wanted to be the main guy that runs things, who takes the blame and who leads the team.
At that moment my mentality completely changed and so did my confidence.
I went on to lead the league in goals (22), won the league best-and-fairest and won the club best-and-fairest for Shepparton South.
I felt like I meant something for once, but after winning all those individual awards it was finally time to win a team one.
I had never felt or had so much pressure on me in my life, but luckily I had good mentality and we went on to win the grand final in 2015.
Months passed and I started to gain the attention of some GV Suns coaches; at first I was hesitant and didn’t want to leave the club that made me the player I was, but at the same time I had to think of my future and I haven’t looked back since.
The 2016 season was interesting; I went to the Suns, but the coach didn’t really see me fitting into the team, so he would leave me on the bench until there were about 20 minutes left.
I didn’t let this affect my confidence, and I kept training hard.
One match came when we were 1-0 down and the coach gave me a chance in the first half.
When I came on I scored three goals, assisted two and we won 6-1.
From then on I became a starter and I feel like I cannot be touched — hard work pays off.