Not far off from his 21st birthday, Western United midfielder Jerry Skotadis sits down with Neos Kosmos to talk about the new football season ahead.

The Sydneysider moved down to Melbourne after signing a scholarship contract with Western United for the 2019–20 season and has since locked in a two-year contract extension with the team.

Skotadis is the living, breathing essence of football, kicking a ball round from the moment he could walk. Now he lives with two other teammates, as he chases his sporting dreams.

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What drew you to football?

For me, most of my uncles, my dad even my mum played. It was pretty natural. At around one or two years old I was kicking a football around. It was in our family’s culture.

It’s game day, what do you do to get in the zone before the match?

I’m pretty simple! It’s the same usually, so the mornings it’s avocado on toast with a poached egg on top and then chill out for the rest of the day, listen to some music. Then eat a little lighter again, maybe some tuna rice and that’s it until game time which is usually at 7:00pm.

Top 3 training songs? 

The first one right now is an Australian song, Spacey Jane with Booster Seat and then we have a few disco tracks we listen to, or even myself, like Kylie Minogue’s Cant Get You Out of My Head and then even something like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. It just depends, just whatever gets you groovin’.

Jerry Skotadis up against the Central Coat Mariners at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong in 2020 Photo: AAP Image via Sean Garnsworthy

What do you find most challenging about the game?

Not really the physical side, but maybe more the mental. You have players fighting for positions every week. Yeah it’s definitely more of the mental side for me. You want to be in a good headspace, always being positive and not putting yourself down because it just creates too many things going on in your head, to be honest.

Throughout my life I’ve come against it, but you just have to get past it in my opinion and stay positive. I’m constantly talking to my mum, family members, my close mates back home in Sydney.

What has been a highlight in your sporting career thus far?

Probably my A-League debut last season. When I came to the club, not at the start of the season but around three months in, I was training my backside off and finally the boss gave me a chance and I was training well. We were up against Melbourne Victory and we won I think it was 3-1.

How has football impacted your life?

It’s something I do every day, so I love it to be honest. It everything, you meet good friends and make good friendships. Last season I kept more to myself but this season I’m with a lot more boys, having fun, putting  smile on my face and having good laughs. It’s been a great culture so far.

What is something you learned about yourself through playing the game?

Maybe that sometimes I can be a bit serious but that I can just keep smiling because it’s what I do everyday and I love it.

Jerry Skotadis (L) in  2019 Photo: AAP Image via George Salpigtidis

What do you hope to achieve in the next year?

Playing as many games as we can, even as a team to win the comp and come first whilst playing good football as well.

What’s something someone might be surprised to learn about you?

I’m not so sure! Probably that I listen to a lot of Australian music, because I’m Greek a lot of people think I listen to rap but I really don’t. I do listen to it, but definitely not as much when I was younger, it’s all Australian now.

I like my indie, kind of like the people I mentioned before like Spacey Jane, I like them a lot.

Favourite way to unwind after a game?

I just like to have something to eat and relax, because we live in a share house so we just like to chill out. Even after a game when we’re sitting in the change room we just chill out and talk a bit. after a win we put some music on and hang out.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

Probably playing a lot more games than I did last season and playing good for myself.

How did COVID impact your game?

It was hard for everyone. I’m from Sydney myself so when we went to the hub in Sydney I was still able to see my parents here and there and my family, but still, not being at home was quite challenging but you have to make the best of a not so good situation. It was still nice to talk to them on the phone, it wasn’t the best, but you make do with what you have.

What is something you want to be remembered for?

For me personally, as a younger player even though I wasn’t selected for some teams but it doesn’t matter because if you work your backside off every day for yourself and do the extras, the training, doing some by yourself,  working on your first touch, those extra little details that probably get you further than someone else who is there for just talent. It’s the extra hard work that gets you there in the end.

My ideal goal is to end up in Europe.