Nineteen year old fullback Jake Adelson has been one of the standout performers in the Western Sydney Wanderers National Youth League (NYL) squad this season. Bursting up and down the right flank, the youngster demonstrates a maturity both on and off the field that speaks towards his relative experience within the side.
Still young, the move to the Wanderers represents a second stage in Adelson’s footballing career – which kicked off shortly after his sixteenth birthday.
Adelson describes, “I was playing for Blacktown, and Ken Schembri [then CEO of Blacktown City] got a scout who was here on holidays to come out and watch us… he took a look at me playing, and called me over after the game to tell me he wanted to take me over for trials with Everton FC.”
“I went over for trials, obviously did well, and the rest is history.”
Despite moving to England by himself and playing in completely contrasting conditions to those in Blacktown, the youngster does not let on as if the experience was too intimidating.
“It was really good, a great experience. I lived with all of the foreign boys… there was about twelve of us in the same house.”
Adelson would go on to play for the Everton’s U18s and then U21s, but first team football never materialised. After trials with clubs including Huddersfield, he eventually made the decision to return to Australia. The nineteen year old is nevertheless assertive in his belief that such an experience is well worth the while for young Australian footballers, if given the chance.
“My recommendation would be, if they’ve got the opportunity to go overseas and their family backs them, then one hundred percent take the chance. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back.”
On his return to Australia, Adelson signed for the Western Sydney Wanderers youth squad; a decision he describes as a “no-brainer”.
“Coming from the west, I had heard about them and heard about their success and how well they were doing. When I came back, my agent hooked me up with a trial and after one night, they said they wanted to sign me.”
Throughout his career, Adelson has played in midfield and across the back four, but believes that right fullback is where he’s best.
“I love fullback, and I’ve also gotten to like right wing. But right fullback is my preferred position.”
Working under Tony Popovic, a former Socceroos defender, has been an invaluable learning process for Adelson.
“He teaches you a lot about the game, how to defend, what to do and what not to do… there’s a lot of experience there.”
Still only nineteen years old, though well spoken and mature, Adelson highlights Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Mark Bridge as two of the biggest role models at the Wanderers.
“Topor-Stanley and even Mark Bridge in the midfield, they’re great role models and ambassadors for the game.”
Although the senior squad has been suffering its worst season yet, still winless after thirteen games, the Wanderers NYL squad has had one of its best seasons to date. Currently two points behind fifth place and with a game in hand on the teams directly above them, Adelson believes the young side has performed well during the campaign.
“Everybody in the youth league is trying to just put their best effort in… we’ve been doing brilliantly this season, even though we’ve been mixed about a lot, getting involved in the first team and not training for the whole week.”
The NYL squad has proven a vital source of talent for the Wanderers over the past twelve months, with young players such as Alusine Fofanah, Jaushua Sotirio, Daniel Alessi, Steve Kuzmanovski and Michael Trajkovski being called upon for first team football.
Adelson hopes to make a similar step in the next twelve months, “My short term goals are to get a full time professional contract with the first team at the Wanderers, and start playing regular first-team football.”
When asked if this appeared on the cards, Adelson was confident in his future with the Wanderers.
“I feel like its possible, definitely.”