ZAK’S RIDE TO BARCELONA GLORY

The Perth Glory Community & Development’s program’s junior star prodigy Zak Gilsenan has continued his remarkable football journey by recently signing on with world football club giant FC Barcelona’s famous La Masia Youth Academy for a further 2 years.

The Perth Glory Community & Development-s program-s junior star prodigy Zak Gilsenan has continued his remarkable football journey by recently signing on with world football club giant FC Barcelona-s famous La Masia Youth Academy for a further 2 years.

Zak was identified for the Perth Glory-s elite development academy, “Glory Juniors “ (previously the Summer Development Program) in 2011 by Sorrento FC-s Toby Levy, a Community Link Personnel officer of Perth Glory . In addition to this he was also a regular participant in the Perth Glory-s Community program-s - from small sided 4 v 4 “Glorious Fourz”, attending “Soccer Schools” (holiday clinics) and playing on field at half time during the Perth Glory v Celtic game at nib stadium in July 2011.

Whilst that latter experience must have been one to saviour for the youngster, bigger thrills lay ahead when he realised every young footballers dream, a contract with a superpower of world club football. And they don-t come much bigger than FC Barcelona.

Zak initially trialled in a very intense and competitive environment with over 400 other kids in his age group for over 4 days. With only a handful of spots up for grabs in the 2003 group, Zak was on fire and managed to knock in an incredible 7 goals in his final trial match to seal his fate.

Zak-s proud dad Stephen Gilsenan (as he regularly does) was kind enough to keep Perth Glory abreast of the great news in Zak-s development and to thank the Community team for their efforts. Stephen has had particular praise for the efforts of Perth Glory Community and Development Officers, Michael Garcia and Dan Cappellaro, “Michael especially was a great influence and mentor on the (Glory Juniors) sessions” and Dan for some of the skills and tricks that he taught his special youngster.

“Whilst Zak-s technical ability was very special, it was his character overall which was most impressive. His attitude, enthusiasm and hard work were outstanding”, said Perth Glory Community & Development Manager, Callum Salmon.

And the key fundamentals of success have been made very clear at La Masia with attitude, respect and discipline being paramount. Talent alone will not suffice and the coaching is apparently strict but fair. Zak plays across three roles, Striker, Midfield and Right Back and in each position there are non-negotiable rules and expectations. Failure to abide means finding yourself on the bench pretty quickly.

Only just recently Zak captained the team for an International tournament on the French border with his team winning without conceding a goal in their six matches. And as part of the welcome celebration of Brazilian star signing Neymar at FCB, Zak had the incredible honour of walking out onto the stadium in front of 60,000 with the great man .

Let-s hope that in a few years it is Zak walking out on Camp Nou.