There are worse places than Brazil and Portugal for a young footballer to spend almost five years learning their craft. Perth Soccer Club’s Aden Da Luz returned last year from such a pilgrimage.
In 2008, the teenaged playmaker was given the chance to join Atletico Mineiro where he tasted the professional environment for the first time. Training twice a day with games on Saturdays, the experience opened the young man’s eyes to not only what it takes to succeed but also learn what the sport means in the football Mecca of Brazil.
“I learnt that Brazilians love their football. For young kids, it’s a way to help their families with money if they make it professionally,” said the creative midfielder.
After almost two years in Brazil, an offer was made to trial for the U17s at the club that was influential in the development of Cristiano Ronaldo, CD Nacional.
“It was a great opportunity to start playing football in Europe,” revealed Da Luz.
“At Nacional Ronaldo was idolised greatly. They were very proud to help create such a player.”
Initially blocked from playing in his first year at Nacional due to FIFA’s rules on underage players, it wasn’t until the second season he was cleared to take the pitch. He went on to play two full seasons for the U19s in the National Youth league where he faced the likes of FC Porto, Sporting Lisbon, and Benfica.
Overall he played thirty two games and scored five goals. After three years in Portugal and almost two in Brazil, it was time to return home to Perth. Looking back on his time abroad he’s quick to espouse the benefits it had on his development.
“Spending those years abroad helped enormously,” he admitted.
“I learnt many new things about the game and improved as a footballer.”
Da Luz joined Cockburn City FC – the first club he ever played for when he was five years old – upon his return to Australia. This current season though he finds himself at Perth SC who he sees as one of the strongest clubs in the West.
“When I got the opportunity to sign for them it was an opportunity that I wasn’t turning down,” explained Da Luz.
The move has proved to be a successful one so far for both player and club. Despite shakey home form, the Azzuri are sitting in second after twelve rounds.
“We were struggling for a little bit at home,” the former Coerver student said.
“We couldn’t afford to keep dropping points at home if we wanted to be up there cone the end of the season.”
Having won their last two games at Dorrien Gardens against Cockburn and Perth Glory Youth respectively, it appears that coach Taki Nicolaidos and his chargers have addressed their home woes.
Da Luz’s own form has also been pleasing to the player himself.
“I’ve been very happy with my form this season. I’m scoring goals and setting them up,” the twenty year old said.
Recently, Perth SC lost the services of experienced defender Adrian Madaschi who has signed with the A-league’s Newcastle Jets. However, having had a player who has played at a high level in a number of countries at the club is something that Aden is sure benefitted and inspired him and his teammates.
“Having Adrian at Perth SC has been great. He’s a great footballer and a role model for the younger lads.”
The veteran centre backs call up to the country’s top tier is something that Da Luz is striving to emulate.
“Yes I’d love to play at a higher level if the opportunity ever comes.”