On the move as a footballer

At just 15, Heart Youth League star Jeremy Walker is already well-travelled in preparation for a life in football.

Simon Chiarelli, melbourneheartfc.com.au

At just 15, Heart Youth League star Jeremy Walker is already well-travelled in preparation for a life in football.

Travelling from city to city, state to state, country to country in pursuit of the round ball, rare is the individual who spends an entire career plying his trade from home.

National Youth League star Jeremy Walker is no exception.

The first Tasmanian to earn a National Youth League contract, Walker is well accustomed to the extensive travel associated with the game, having moved to Hobart at age 15 to commence his journey as a footballer.

“I-ve lived away from family since 2008, when I started pursuing a more serious footballing career. Melbourne-s definitely been a big step up as well, the support I-ve had from Melbourne Heart as well as my school and other connections I have here has been fantastic,” he said.

“The transition hasn-t been too hard as I-ve lived away from home for three or four years. That-s been pretty helpful.”

Having signed for Heart after a season with the Oakleigh Cannons in the Victorian Premier League, Walker is well acquainted with the Melbourne football scene, featuring as part of the side which fell at the last hurdle during this season.

It was his performances while with the Cannons which prompted NYL Head Coach John Aloisi to offer the 18-year-old a contract, allowing Walker to make history.

Given Aloisi-s role in providing Walker with a breakthrough opportunity, the youngster is naturally effusive in his acknowledgment of the Socceroo legend-s role in his remarkable rise.

“John Aloisi has been fantastic. The knowledge he brings to a training environment has been fantastic,” Walker said.

However, Aloisi is not alone, with Walker citing Tasmanian Institute of Sport coach Dean May and Arthur Papas as other individuals who-ve played key roles in shaping his career to date.

“I-ve received a lot of advice from senior footballers at the Oakleigh Cannons to the senior players who drop back to play in the youth league here at Heart,” he said.

“Also, my Tasmanian Institute of Sport coach Dean May has been very influential in getting me here, but as well as that, Arthur Papas from Oakleigh Cannons has been fantastic as well.

While Walker has contemplated the prospect of earning a call-up to the senior team this season, his mind remains firmly on the task at hand; playing his role in a successful National Youth League campaign.

“Obviously, it would be fantastic if I could make an appearance on the bench for the first team this year, but I-ve just got to focus on playing well in the youth team, and then an opportunity like that might come up,” he said.

Longer term, Walker admits he dreams of the Green and Gold, and a professional contract with Melbourne Heart FC.

“Once you-re at a level where you can start competing with professional footballers, it-s even more of a motivation to go further,” he said.

“Obviously I want to become a full-time professional myself, at the highest level I can, which means Socceroos if I can, and a Melbourne Heart senior contract. Knowing that you compete and train in a senior professional environment is fantastic.”