Blacktown Spartans youth goalkeeper Domenic Nascimben’s dream of becoming a professional footballer is a step closer to reality after winning the Australian leg of the Nike Most Wanted competition.
Nascimben, one of two Aussie winners, will head to the UK later this month to be part of an international contingent of players vying for a place at the Nike Academy.
The 18-year-old said he was lost for words after coming up trumps in the competition formerly known as the Nike Chance famously won by Tom Rogic.
“The feeling was indescribable,” he said.
“I didn't think that I would get to represent Australia in something as big as this but when my name was called out I was ecstatic. I was so happy to be given the opportunity to be able to turn my dream into a reality.
“It was a great experience competing in the Nike Most Wanted trial. The coaching was top class along with the competition - the level of football was of a high standard.”
Nascimben, who grew up in the western Sydney suburb of Guilford, went to the renowned Westfield’s Sports High School and has been coached by former Socceroo Jim Fraser.
He said having former Socceroos and Australian football greats Josh Kennedy and Brett Emerton among the judges spurred him on.
“Having Socceroos such a Brett and Josh watching my every move made me feel great and inspired me to push and make saves in order to grab their attention and take notice of my performance during the trial,” he said.
Beanpole striker Kennedy – known as “Jesus” during his Socceroos career for saving Australia many times with his 17 goals over 36 international games, said Nascimben had the attributes a top goalkeeper needs.
“He had good size for a young keeper and from the beginning quick hands,” Kennedy said.
“Being a keeper, clearly his ability to be a shot blocker is essential. He demonstrated this right from the first drill and always seemed to get a hand on shots that would normally be hitting the back of the net. Also he seemed to be quite confident which a keeper needs to be.”
Kennedy added that Nascimben and Darcy Burgess – the other Australian winner – both had bright futures in the game.
“I think the sky is the limit when thinking how far both of these boys can go,” he said.
“A lot will come down to how much they want to invest in making their dreams come true and becoming a professional football player. Hopefully this success through the Nike Most Wanted will ignite their passion and desire even more.”
Looking ahead to the camp in the UK, Nascimben said that he will have to raise his game if he wants to make the final international cut.
“I am expecting to be up against amazing talent from across the globe so I know that I have to be at my best in order to achieve a spot in the Nike Academy,” he said.comments