Old Knight, New Tricks

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An old son returns home, Rodrigo Covarrubias, after time away rubbing shoulders with some of the best South America has to offer with sides the ilk of River Plate and Club Atlético Chacarita Juniors.

“I arrived in Argentina in November 2011. I was seen in a tournament (in Melbourne) the Football Director of River Plate came down as a guest appearance,” Rodrigo said

“He saw me play. I scored a lot of goals and we won a lot of matches in that tournament.

“He told me he liked the way I played and I had a chance to play in Argentina. When he told me that, I was on the plane to Argentina.”

The recent Knights signing recalled his time with River Plate and the star names he trained with. World Cup winners, Champions League finalists etc. needless to say the young man from Melbourne was starstruck but the experience took him to “another level”.

“After a while they put me up to train with the first team,” he said.

“I was training with David Trezeguet, Almeyda was the coach, Cavenaghi, Ponzio was there.

“There were a lot of big name players, training with them it took me to another level with my football and confidence.”

And now young Rodrigo Covarrubias is back where it all began, Melbourne Knights, and with it a stream of memories come back; the glory days, and big nights in Somers Street, of which he plans to recreate on his return.

“I played for Knights for seven years in my juniors, so most of my juniors where there” he said.

“We played tournaments and I scored a lot of goals. That sort of environment was quality for my development.

“Coming up in a big club like (Knights) watching the old NSL games with big name players it was a very good experience for me.”

Coming from a Chilean family Rodrigo was destined to try his hand in the round ball game.

“My whole family is Chilean. Me and my sister were the first two to be born in Australia,” he said.

“I think (my heritage) influenced my life towards football.”

The young Australian recalls spending time in the park as soon as he could walk with a football at his feet and his dad by his side.

“My dad gave me a soccer ball before I could walk,” he said.

“Dad was with me at the park every single day training and then we’d go home and watch football.”

The former River Plate youth players’ early years were consumed by football. Cousins, uncles and aunties all sharing a passion of the round ball game. In some respects football was “second nature” to the 20-year-old and that’s the way he liked it.

“For everyone in my family everything revolves around football,” the Melbourne Knights man said.

“You’d go to their houses and you’d see football on TV, kids playing in the backyard.

“It’s all football. I’m so use to it, it comes natural to me now, like second nature.”

With the opening game at Knights stadium only days away the youngster is hopeful of making a name for himself and carrying on the prestige associated with his boyhood club.

“Knowing what the club is and how big it is growing up as a junior, coming back now I want to win everything I can,” he said.

Rodrigo understands he’s at a difficult time in his career and admits it’s a “decisive” season ahead for him with Knights.

“This years a very decisive one for me, I’m going to take it everyday as it comes but work very hard,” he said.

“I need to get my name out there, being overseas for two years and leaving when I was 18, I need to grow my name here.

“Hopefully it works out, speak to the right people, and people have been in contact with me from the right places.

“From there and this new NPL season and the FFA Cup rounds, I’ll be able to make the next step into A-League.”

Ahmed Yussuf

ahmed mag pic Ahmed is a Melbourne-based writer, and one of the founders of Football Central. He's written in football culture magazine Thin White Line and others, and along with writing puff pieces, he hosts and produces podcasts in association with Football Central.  You can follow him on Twitter: @ahmedyussuf10

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