As we enter November and preseason ramps up, we caught up with Sydney FC youngster Calem Nieuwenhof to see how he’s faring during his time with the A-League squad and what he’s targeting in 2020 and beyond.
To those who may not know you, how would you describe yourself?
I’d describe myself as a box to box midfielder and defensive midfielder. I like getting on the ball and making opportunities happen, trying to create and link up with the forwards and help the team defensively.
How does it feel to be involved with the A-League squad this preseason?
It’s really good, just being in and around all the older boys is very helpful. They’re always giving pointers and that has really helped my own game as well. Just being around the quality they have is great to train with.
Who are you learning off the most in training?
I’m learning from all the midfielders but in particular Brattsy [Luke Brattan], I pay close attention to his game and I’m always looking for little things that I can replicate from him and apply to my own game.
How much of a step up has it been for you?
It’s a big step up in quality. I think the youth team prepares you well for the A-League team because it’s still a very good standard in training and games but I’m enjoying being around the A-League team and the coaching as well, they’ve always got little pointers on how to improve your game so I’m loving it.
How much will you be looking forward to the AFC Champions League if given the opportunity?
The AFC Champions League will be really good. I’m just hoping to get my first minutes in and make my debut for the club. It’ll be a great opportunity going over and travelling with the boys and for me to learn.
What would it mean to you to make your Sydney FC debut?
I’ve supported the club since I was a very young boy and been to a few games growing up, joining in the Cove as well, so to make my debut would be pretty surreal.
What targets have you set yourself for 2020?
My first goal was to get a scholarship contract which I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity of, and my next goal is to make my debut for the club in both the AFC Champions League and A-League, play as many minutes as I can and make as much of an impact as possible.