When Western Pride defender Joel Haack received a call from Central Coast Mariners coach Tony Walmsley about trialling for the A-League side, it was an easy decision for the 19 year old.
“I’ve been in contact with Tony. He got hold of me a few weeks ago and let me know there was a trialling opportunity so I jumped on the chance. I’m so stoked to be here and have this opportunity.”
The fullback joined a squad of other Mariners hopefuls on Monday, with five days of training all the players have to show their wares.
“We’ve been training every day,” Haack said, “it’s been pretty full on as you’d imagine being an A-League club, training Monday to Friday with the senior Mariners team as well as in a group of a few other people that are trialling as well.”
Haack described the experience as an obvious step-up from intensity to the NPL, and regardless of what comes from the training camp, the youngster knows it will only help him improve.
“It’s a very big jump; the intensity and the quality of players.” He said. “Training with them is really good, even just watching the players and seeing how they go about training. Watching the other full backs and seeing what they do differently and what I can take out of that.”
If nothing else, the opportunity has proven to Haack that playing professional football is definitely what he wants to do.
“This has really put a lot into my head about what actually goes into being a professional soccer player, and is something I would love to do. Haack said. “I’m always getting compliments and advice on different ways to do stuff. They’ve pretty much said you have five days to show us what you’ve got, so bring your A-game.”
Haack’s opportunity comes after a strong debut season with the Pride in which the defender has scored three goals in 15 appearances. It also highlights the ethos the club has taken toward developing its young players, and providing every opportunity to progress to the next level.