From being an original Melbourne Heart fan, to coming up through the youth set-up, to making his A-League debut last season; you don’t get much more Melbourne City than Stefan Colakovski.
Colakovski achieved his dream last season when he came on as a substitute in Round 4 against Wellington Phoenix. He would make a further six appearances, including his starting debut in City’s final game of the season, as well as playing 15 minutes off the bench in the Grand Final.
Colakovski has been a fan of the Club since day one and got into supporting it for a couple of reasons surrounding his dad.
“He knew one of the assistant coaches or someone in the staff,” Colakovski said, “My family also didn't like Melbourne Victory so once Heart started, we went straight there and have never looked back.”
Making his debut was a big milestone and was something Colakovski had been hoping to do for a long time.
"Playing for City was a dream come true and something I have wanted to achieve since I was 10 years old," he said.
“I love this Club and I just want it to be successful and if I can play a part in that it would be massive for me.”
Coming off the bench for his first five appearances was great experience for Colakovski, but his starting debut against Western United was when he felt the big difference in quality from playing at lower levels.
“It was great to come off the bench and play a role but when I got my first start I noticed it was obviously a pretty big step up from playing youth or just practice matches,” Colakovski said, “Then getting the experience to play in the Final was massive for me and is definitely something I took a lot of confidence out of.”
Wearing the red and white stripes in the Grand Final was a special sight for City fans, and Colakovski loved it just as much.
“I was pushing for it the whole time,” he said, “I was speaking to the kit man saying; 'Surely we wear the red and white in the final?'”
“Luckily we did because I think it looks great and it was great for us and great for the fans to see."
After the departures of wingers Lachie Wales (Western United) and Ramy Najjarine (loaned to Newcastle Jets), a spot on the wing this season looked to be Colakovski’s for the taking but City then announced the signing of Socceroos winger Andrew Nabbout.
While Colakovski is still eager to push for a spot in the starting XI, he said he is looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the Socceroo.
“Being able to learn from him and others like Nooney and Macca is big for me because they are all quality players and have a lot of experience,” he said, “I want to learn as much as I can from them but of course I want to push hard to try and win myself a spot somewhere in that front three."
“I really want to try and get myself a starting spot but if I’m coming off the bench, I want to make sure that I’m impacting games by scoring goals and creating chances for my teammates.”
An uncommon injury called ITB friction syndrome restricted Colakovski to swimming and working on the exercise bike for a couple of weeks of the pre-season to try and remain on the same fitness level as his teammates. He has now put that niggle behind him and is back into full training and excited for the season ahead.
“We all just can’t wait to start playing,” Colakovski said, “After the disappointment of the final last season everyone is just really hungry to go one step further and obviously with the Asian Champions League coming up as well we really want to perform in that.”
“It's a really good vibe around the place at the moment."
The A-League season kicks off on December 27. Stay tuned to melbournecityfc.com.au for all the fixture details in the coming weeks!