Canberra-born footballer George Timotheou took a giant step forward in his football career on Sunday morning when he made his full senior debut in the German Bundesliga for his club FC Schalke 04.
It is a major achievement for the 21-year-old defender who signed for Schalke from NSW NPL club Sydney Olympic in July last year following a successful two-week trial. In his first season at Schalke, he has bided his time playing 20 matches with the Schalke U 23 side and being an unused substitute for the senior team on three occasions. However in the final round of the season last Sunday morning, Timotheou was rewarded with his first full senior start for Schalke , playing against VfB Suttgart. Timotheou took his place in the back three where one of his opponents was the tall German international striker Mario Gomez, who has over 70 caps for his country and is also a former Bayern Munich player.
Timotheou performed well helping his team to keep a clean sheet in what turned out to be a scoreless draw.
Timotheou began his junior football at Canberra Olympic, graduating to the AIS before being picked up by Sydney FC, where he played in their reserve squad in the NPL. After failing to break into their senior team, he left the A-League club and joined Sydney Olympic where he played 27 matches over a couple of seasons, before leaving Belmore after his successful trial with Schalke last July.
Timotheou said when he signed with the Bundesliga club last year,”It’s a much different mentality to Australia. Football is the priority, you wake up and all you think about is football,”
“In Australia sometimes you have to go to work instead of training but even Schalke’s reserve team is a fully professional environment.”