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To the Class of 2023

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

In writing this blog post today, I want to give thanks to the Southern Cross Athletes and their families. The class of ’23 will always be a special one for me. Our first big recruiting class, with players all over Australia and abroad.

Within this class we have some of our very first athletes, in Alex Morris, Eric Kidson, Cooper Kerridge and Tyler Zimbounellis. These families took a chance on us when the business was in such an early stage and they put their trust in us to deliver a home for these guys to continue their football, academic and lifelong journeys.

I’ve now had the pleasure of coaching both Alex and Eric, privately and in a team scenario. I’ve watched them mature, develop and now I’ve passed this job onto the coaches at Lindsey Wilson and College of Staten Island respectively.

My relationship with Tyler has led us coach together in an academy environment, where I’ve watched him turn into a role model and develop into a fine young coach for the young boys and girls at Spark Futbol Academy.

Cooper and his family have been nothing but first class, throughout the entirety of his recruitment process. I constantly turn to Cooper’s mother Jan for advice whether it be from a football perspective or how she helps give us opinions on how to develop the business even further. October the 7th has been highlighted in the diary, as the team here will be tuning in to watch Cooper’s Roberts Wesleyan come up against Alex Morris’s CSI.

To everyone else from Kai, Connor, Lloyd, Finn, Callum, Matias, Rex and Hugo. Again, I want to give thanks to you all. You are all wonderful young men, who are about to take the next step on your journey. From the chats that I’ve had with a few of you recently, the conversation ranges from, “It doesn’t feel real yet” to, “I’m starting to get nervous”.

It’s probably not going to feel real until you finally arrive to the airport and say goodbye to your family. It’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s tough but most of all these moments and experiences are going to shape your future for the better if you let it.

Not everyone has the opportunity to fly halfway around the world and play the sport they love every single day, whilst being treated as professional. Embrace this professionalism that is about to come, because we don’t have anything quite like it in this country. Embrace it into every aspect of your college life, to your independence, schoolwork, gym routines, training, performance and the relationships you are about to make.

You’ve each worked your socks off for this, countless hours spent travelling, training, busting a gut to get where you are today. Cherish this opportunity, don’t go into this with any preconceived ideas in your head. We’re fortunate enough to live in one of the best countries in the world, and what you’re about to experience will be so much different than what you’re used to.

If I could give one piece of advice, that I wish someone had of given me before I went to America, was to go in with an open mindset. Be open to learning new things, a new way of football, a new way of training, a new culture, a new city, a new school, new people and at times a new norm. Try not to be judgmental of others. Everyone has had a different path leading up to this, embrace everything that is about to come your way, the good, the bad and everything in between.

I promise you this will be one of the best decisions you ever made if your mindset allows it. Go out there and work hard for it. Do the extras. Be the first one in the door. Use this free time to better yourself. Everyone wants to be a professional athlete, utilize this time and the resources at your disposal to be the best version of yourself.

Your time for fun will come, and what I mean by that is everyone is watching these days. Social media plays a huge role in society, so anything you do and say online will be viewed and judged. There’s a time to let your hair down but you need to be mature enough to know when the right time is to do so, and more importantly not letting it get in the way of your sport and studies.

I wish I could back and do it all again, I really would. However, I know have the next best job in the world. With the help of Sam and the rest of the team, we get to help point you guys in the right direction. We will always be here for you, and we’re only ever a phone call away.

We’ve had our fun signing contracts, taking photos, doing interviews and even attempting some golf! It’s now over to you gentlemen.

Here’s to the class of ’23.

Continue Your Journey

- Ange Watsocoglu (Dylan Watson)

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