Optimism ensues at Wagga’s state league club, Wagga City Wanderers, as the firsts drew 1-1 with Albury United in a trial match on the weekend, a year after Albury gave them a touch-up in a trial match at Gissing Oval.
Import Alex Millour, 24, featured prominently in Wagga’s strong performance at left-back.
Coach Ben Schmid will work alongside the left-footer this weekend at the club’s first FFA Cup match of the season against Revesby on Saturday at 1pm.
“He will give us a lot of drive and defensive structure,” Schmid said.
Millour comes off an illustrious year, playing for American Soccer League team Futuro FC from Atlanta, Georgia. It took him to Europe where he played the Nigerian Olympic team before they went to Rio, and three French first-division teams.
“I feel like I’m playing the best football I’ve ever played,” he said.
His aspirations are no different to any career soccer player.
“If you want to make a career out of the sport you really have to aim for the top, there’s no other way to do it,” he said.
“I want to play for the best team in the best division in the world, that takes time.”
So how does Wagga fit in?
Schmid and Wanderers’ director Brendan Flanagan head-hunted him.
“It was kind of out of the blue,” he said
“But then I spoke to Ben and Brendan and I really thought this would be a good place for me as a player. I love how they’re siphoning the youth into the first-grade team, it’s how grassroots football should be, it’s how you create a good community club and build longevity. In France that’s the model they go by, and because I coach as well, that’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of.”
Millour has committed to a season here, as a player and assistant coach for the Wanderers’ u13’s Skills Acquisition Program team.
The jet-lag’s wearing off and, after a long US winter he’s acclimatised to Wagga’s dry heat.
Though the heat affected him at the trial match, he enjoyed the chance to bond before the FFA Cup.
Import Vasillis Spiliotopolous, a holding mid, had his visa approved, and Wanderers expect him in Wagga within the next few weeks.
“He’s a high-quality footballer,” Schmid said.
“He’ll add a class that may not have been seen at Wagga City Wanderers in the past.”
Midfielder Marcus Kpaney has also joined their campaign.
Schmid spotted the former Sydney-based player who just moved to Wagga, at the Maher Oval six a side competition, and invited him to train with the Wanderers.