Australian football has without doubt had a major change of direction largely in the last ten years with a heavy influence courtesy of the Netherlands. This Dutch influence may be taking another turn in the form of Amsterdam-born, Ryan Go.
The nineteen year old and his family migrated to Sydney when he was six years old, before moving to Melbourne a year later.
There he stayed until he was 15, where he moved to Rotterdam in the Netherlands to play for the Feyenoord Youth Academy.
The player with Dutch and Australian nationality and of Chinese/Indonesian heritage spoke to us of his introduction to the game, being at Feyenoord and his goals.
How did you get started in football? Who have been your biggest influences?
My whole family have been big fans of the game, especially my father. He used to play football himself and is a fanatic. This is possibly why I started to play football.
My biggest influence would have to be my father. He always knew how I could improve my game. There have been other influences, for example all the coaches I have had. Each coach has a different way of playing the game and all of them have made me into the player that I am now. I thank them for it.
What players do you look up to and try to emulate?
I have been playing in many positions in the last few years so it is difficult to say who I try to emulate. At the moment though, I play as a left back. All the left backs that play at the highest level have their own certain qualities. There aren’t any specific players I look up to.
How did you end up at Feyenoord?
My grandfather knows Stanley Brard, who was at that time the head coach of the Feyenoord Youth Academy. My father then asked around and managed to organise for me to train with the u/16 team for a week. That week went well and they asked if I could come back for an official trial. So in the summer holidays I went to The Netherlands to trial officially. After the trial, they said that if I moved to The Netherlands, that I could play in the Youth Academy.
It’s a massive club. What’s it like to be a part of such a huge club (both on and off the park)?
It’s an honour to play for Feyenoord. The Youth Academy has been chosen the best youth academy in The Netherlands for the last 3 or 4 years now. On the pitch, I feel great playing with and against the best players in the country. There is also a little bit of pressure during the game to perform well because I play for such a big club. Off the pitch, there is not a lot of difference than normal. Maybe I just don’t notice it.
Also, seeing players sign professional contracts and playing at the highest level is really cool. That’s not something you see a lot at smaller clubs.
How has being at Feyenoord helped your development? What’s their youth development philosophy and methods like?
I feel that I have improved myself in all aspects of the game, but most of all, I think that I have become very mature. That’s also because I’m getting older but Feyenoord has also helped me.
The Feyenoord Youth Academy play in a 4-3-3 formation. The way that they play is to play the ball forwards if possible and to play good looking football (build up from the defence). Also, there are many coaches and each coach specialises in a certain area. For example, Roy Makaay is now a coach at the Youth Academy and specialises in teaching strikers.
How would you describe yourself as a footballer?
I am currently a left back. I have played almost all positions at one time, but lately left back and left wing have been my positions, mainly left back.
I still have that ‘Australian’ mentality of never giving up, which I see as a huge strength. I also think that I’m someone who can be surprising.
What are your goals for this season?
My goals for this season would be to improve myself further and hopefully sign a professional contract.
And in the near future?
I hope to be playing for a professional club and maybe represent Australia.
How about longer-term?
Make football my career. To have football as my job would be awesome.
Have you had much contact from the FFA or KNVB?
I have not had any contact with the FFA or KNVB.
What are your highlights so far in your young career?
Two years ago we had a tournament in Madrid, which was an amazing experience. Unfortunately, we did not get past the group stages, but to play against Athletico Bilbao, Benfica and Real Madrid was incredible.
Last year we had a tournament in The Netherlands. QPR was one of the teams that competed in this tournament and to play against an old acquaintance Peter Skapetis was pretty fun. We used to play against each other quite often back in Melbourne where I played for FC Bulleen Lions and he played for South Melbourne FC.
The last year I was in Australia, I was selected to be in the u/14 Victoria futsal team. That year I was also chosen to be the captain of the team. We ended up winning the tournament and became national champions (10 wins out of 10).