When reading Foxtel National Youth League (NYL) Captain Jake McGing’s football CV you could easily be mistaken for thinking it was that of a player twice his age.
When reading Foxtel National Youth League (NYL) Captain Jake McGing-s football CV you could easily be mistaken for thinking it was that of a player twice his age.
Jake first picked up a football at the age of five when his rugby league playing father and an over-protective mother signed him up for the local Eschol Park Wolves. From that moment the football has never been too far from his feet. 14 short years have passed and he has grown into a natural born leader of the Western Sydney Wanderers NYL side.
Representative honours soon followed and have shaped and dominated the McGing family-s weekend schedule ever since. His love of Futsal also helped develop and sharpen his talent in the larger form of the game.
It is obvious when speaking with Jake that football is a deeply rooted passion on and off the pitch. Any spare time away from the game is spent socialising with friends or nurturing his football brain via his FIFA 14 PlayStation console.
Jake has delved into a number of positions across the park over the years but has finally settled on the central-midfield role that aligns well with the increased responsibility that captaincy brings.
Asked for his childhood footballing hero it didn-t take much deliberation with the definitive answer being local product and international superstar Harry Kewell. Given that Jake attended the Westfield Sport High School it-s no wonder that Harry is a favourite amongst many of the former and current students at the renowned footballing nursery.
His admiration and respect for Harry is enormous and he hopes to one day meet or even play against his childhood idol. It was also Harry that helped sway him towards following Leeds United before quickly changing allegiances after his shift to the proud history of Anfield.
The game has repaid Jake to date with a highlight being his club side Marconi-s qualification in the 2009 Manchester Nike Cup competition. He had the great thrill of participating in a curtain-raiser on the hallowed turf of Old Trafford when Manchester United took on Spanish side Valencia in a pre-season friendly.
More recently Jake was delighted at being selected by Tony Popovic to join the Wanderers senior squad pre-season tour of Japan and China. The experience of travelling as a member of a professional football outfit has added fuel to an already ignited inner fire as Jake now sets his sights on aiming for more time in the senior ranks.
The experience has taught him the importance of soaking up every aspect of the game from training, recovery, preparation and patience.
“Tony Popovic has a real aura and his attention to detail in all aspects of the game is unbelievable,” said Jake.
“His level of professionalism rubs off on all the playing group and staff he comes in contact with at the club and I-m lucky to be learning from him.”
Come game day Jake believes he performs best when he is more relaxed in his mental and physical preparation. Like many footballers though the superstitious nature of game day is far too big a temptation to ignore. His insatiable need to apply socks, shin pads, boots and strapping on his right leg before his left is something that may surprise many but is a common occurrence in sporting dressing sheds across the world.
The added responsibility of captaincy doesn-t appear to be a burden but rather directs his attention from obsessing on his individual performance to that of the team.
“The true challenge in captaining a side isn-t when the side is performing well. It-s the ability to lift the spirits and keep the lads focused on the job at hand that I find more challenging and rewarding.”
The Foxtel National Youth League team is next at home when they play Melbourne Heart at Marconi Stadium on Saturday 23 November with kick-off at 3pm. Image Credit: Quarrie Sports Photography