Sport

Shepparton’s Alou Kuol signs for Central Coast Mariners

By Alex Mitchell

Alou Kuol is ready to make his mark on the national stage, having signed to play in the National Youth League.

The Goulburn Valley Suns academy product has swapped Shepparton's lake for Gosford's beaches, having signed with the Central Coast Mariners.

The electric forward's 22 goals in 26 games this National Premier League season were too hard to ignore, with the A-League club's youth team keen to see if the talent could make it at the next level.

The 18-year-old was adjusting to the professional environment of the A-League set-up.

“Here everything’s more professional, from coaching to playing everything is organised and monitored, so everybody knows what’s expected of them and what needs to be done,” he said.

“So we usually start by 6.30 am, come in and work hard on the pitch, go to the gym then recovery, and do all that again the next day. Every day is a bit different and we work on certain things you usually wouldn’t do at NPL level, so it’s good.”

Seeing fellow youth team players get the chance to be part of the A-League squad inspired Kuol to keep working hard and seize any opportunities.

“We see the seniors towards the end of our sessions, some of us would usually go watch a bit of their sessions if we have free time,” he said.

“Some boys have been lucky enough to be called up and have sessions with the first team so it’s great that they give opportunities for young players to train with them. It’s all about working hard to get any opportunity with the first team and impress the first team coach.

“Goals for me this season short-term hopefully would be to make a name for myself in the NYL, play in every game and hopefully I can do great there.

“And long-term, make a A-League debut and work hard in everything I do while I have this opportunity in the Coast and enjoy everything this place offers while I’m here.”

While leaving his parents, six brothers and close cousins behind has taken a bit to get used to, Kuol understood his time in Gosford is a business trip.

“It’s been different not having them around everyday and seeing the siblings and all, but I talk to them everyday so it’s not too bad,” he said.

“Overall I don't mind the change, it’s a great place just don’t know many people here and don’t know the area that well.”

● The Mariners season starts tomorrow with an away trip to Canberra United.