Young Australian footballers look for pathways to success and a chance to play at the highest levels abroad that they can. Here’s a personal account from young Jamie Street who’s trying to do just that.
My name’s Jamie Street and here’s my story.
I was born and brought up in Perth, Western Australia. I grew up playing football at Forrestfield United and moved onto a couple of other clubs which included Fremantle City, Cockburn City and Stirling Lions. I made me first team debut for Stirling Lions at the age of 17 against Selangor who were the Malaysian Champions the previous season.
But later that year I traveled to England for the first time. I was 17 and had trials at several professional clubs for a youth team scholarship but it wasn’t to be for one reason or another. I was told ‘you’re as good as what we have, but need to be better.’
Once I turned 18, I signed for Chasetown FC in the Evo Premier at the time, the youth team had an u19′s full time scheme which I played in for a season but I never got a first team appearance. What I took out of the experience was playing full time and had to improve accordingly.
But moving onto Stockport Sports where we trained full time at a brand new 9 million pound complex, and it was first team so it was a massive step up in that aspect.
I spent over one and a half seasons at Stockport Sports playing more games than any other player in my first season in men’s football and at the club. It gave me plenty of experience which is much needed as a centre-back and is great to get when you’re young.
Halfway through my second season I got put onto Workington AFC and was playing for the reserves side at first. I recently signed for the first team and made my first team debut.
I’ve played over 100 games in the last 2 seasons and gained plenty of experience and learnt a lot, especially being full time at Stockport Sports and my first season in men’s football.
One of the biggest issues I found was that at the level I was trying to break into to get started no teams trained full time. I think that’s something a lot of people don’t realise. They think they are going to get trials at clubs it’s simply not that easy. I have basically now completed two years full time and have played a lot of games.
It takes time to adapt to the English game, teams play a lot of different styles and also on a lot of different types of pitches. I’ve seen a lot of players come over and quit. It’s not for everyone and most simply don’t stick it out.
I would say to anyone you’ll have to spend time and be prepared to play games. Coming over waiting for a trial over the age of 18 generally doesn’t happen unless your playing in the national team or first team A-League.
It’s been a great experience playing in the F.A. Cup early rounds and the F.A. vase. They are big games no matter what level you play at.
It’s a great experience for anyone and I would encourage anyone to do it but also be prepared to work hard for a season or two if it doesn’t just happen.