After winning player of the season in the NPL Under 20’s last year, North Sydney United junior Nick Kalogerou has worked his way into the starting lineup for Jason Eagar’s First Grade side!
How long have you been playing for Northern Tigers?
I have been at Northern Tigers for five years and this year is my sixth. I played in the developments squads in the 11’s and 12’s age group and then played for Northern Tigers in the Super League in under 13’s and 14’s. I then had a break from representative football and played for my school before trialling again for Tigers and being lucky enough to get in to play 20’s last year!
Who have been the been the biggest influences in your football career?
My family would have to be the biggest influence in my football career. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support. I am so grateful for the opportunities Mum and Dad have been able to provide for me and I will also never take for granted the time I have spent playing football with my siblings, which has moulded me into the player I am today.
Also I don’t want to say he was one of my biggest influences because he would never let me hear the end of it…! But I once received some great advice from Paul Orgad (a former coach of mine and now friend) that I haven’t forgotten since and it really made me want to come back to Tigers last year and get back into a professional and really competitive environment. Paul told me to “play as high as you can for as long as you can.” After that my mind was set and I was lucky enough to get a spot at Tigers and I know I have learnt and improved to a great deal since then.
Which clubs have you previously played for?
I have only ever played for two clubs in my life! I previously played for North Sydney United where I played all of my grassroots football from under 6’s until under 10’s before leaving to play for Tigers in under 11’s. Then I returned to North Sydney to play under 15’s, 16’s, 18’s and 21’s before returning to Tigers at the start of last year.
What do you enjoy most about playing for Northern Tigers?
I mostly enjoy the people and community feel that you are exposed to at Northern Tigers. From making great friends last year, who are some of my closest now, the camaraderie between teams is always a strength of Tigers no matter what team you are in. It has been the same for my little brother playing in the Tigers SAP program and I know many other people who would agree! Furthermore the holistic nature of support that Tigers as a club places on all SAP, youth, women’s and men’s football as being various components that make up the identity of the club is extremely important. I know that at some clubs there can be a particular focus on one team or even certain players within a team, at Tigers I don’t feel you get that. That is really important for club culture and this is why Tigers has such a strong and inclusive club culture, something that sets us apart from other clubs in my opinion.
What position do you play? Have you always played there?
I play right centre back! However I have also played sweeper and left and right back before. I also tried playing number 6 (defensive midfield) but I found it very tricky to play back to goal and would rarely pass the ball forward! I prefer facing forward if I can. I really like hitting diags and longer passes when they are on – just a shame I cant hit them as well as Will Foristal!
What is your personal goal for this season?
My personal goal for this season is to be a positive player in whatever team I play in. I want to be able to use my best qualities to help the team as best I can. I also want to keep learning about football as a game and how I can improve as a player, which will hopefully lead to helping the team too!
Another one of my goals is to not get nutmegged or beaten 1 v 1 by Alex Di Ciano or Ollie Wiggin too many times throughout the season at training. This one isn’t going so well though!
Do you have a favourite club/player? Who/why?
My favourite club is Arsenal! I remember watching Thierry Henry and collecting some of his jerseys when I was a kid. He was so exciting to watch and played during a time when Arsenal were at their peak in terms of success. Messi would be my favourite current player. He is simply amazing. He can change the game at any given moment. All he has to do it run at them (defenders) just as Rory Spiers does for first grade every game day! I enjoy watching Messi create opportunities from nothing and how he makes world-class defenders seem like amateurs.
What is your best football memory?
My best football memory would have to be last season in 20’s when our team won the competition and made the grand final. The team culture and chemistry we had was incomparable to anything I have ever experienced before. To win every single match in the second half of the season was something to be proud of and something that I will never forget. As the wise Ronan Keating once said and continues to say “You say it best, when you say nothing at all!” Go Tigers!