Perth Glory FC may have been dogged by injuries in the past couple of months but there’s never been a greater time for the club’s youth players to make the next step. Teenagers Joe Knowles and Jamal Reiners have already made their debut for the team and another youngster champing at the bit is the club’s Foxtel National Youth League skipper Jacob Collard.
The 20-year-old has led the Glory youngsters for the past two seasons, and has gone back-to-back winning the club’s Youth MGP (Most Glorious Player). This season he has been training with the first team and is hoping his hard work and dedication will be rewarded.
“It’s been nice to have had the opportunity with the first team and show my worth,” he said. “I've just got to be patient, need to train hard and push myself to my limits. Then maybe I'll get the opportunity to play for the first team, but I'm just happy to be a part of it all and representing my team.”
Collard, who is indigenous, went to South Thornlie Primary School and Lynwood Senior High School. He began his football at Gosnells Soccer Club, before moving to Perth Soccer Club and was then selected to be part of the Football West National Training Centre where he was mentored and coached by Kenny Lowe, who continues to influence his football career.
“I’ve worked with a number of fine coaches, and they have all helped my football. Kenny has been a huge influence on my football, likewise NYL Coach John Gibson,” he said.
“But it would be remiss of me not to mention the other coaches who I’ve worked with – Jacob Burns, Gareth Naven, Bobby Despotovski, Kenny Weston, Gavin Tait, Jim Tombides and Rob Eldridge have all had a hand in my football over the years.”
Collard did have the chance to wear the Perth Glory FC jersey earlier this year, when he came on as a substitute in the dramatic penalty shootout win over Newcastle Jets in the RD 32 Westfield FFA Cup earlier this year. That moment he said was partly due to the important role his grandparents have played in his life.
“My Nan and Pop have pushed me all my life, hoping one day I'd live the life of my dreams,” Collard said. “Without them I truly believe I wouldn't be where I am today, and for that I'm ever so grateful for everything they have done for me.”
His aim now is to make his debut in the Hyundai A-league but knows patience is the key.
Collard will be leading his charges against Brisbane Roar when the NYL resumes this Sunday.
Kick-off is at 10.30 at Cleveland Showgrounds.