16 November 2010
Soccer | Daniel Phan
AUSTRALIA is a world away from Liberia, but for Melvin Becket the innocent memories of his life in the West African nation are relived every time a soccer ball is at his feet.
“Football (soccer) is more than a game to me, it’s a life,” Becket told Leader.
“Back in Liberia, football was played literally everywhere.
“I played it every day and it was more than just a game to me.
“I play it to relax, I play to forget about all my problems; and it certainly helps me take my mind off a lot of things.”
The former Maribyrnong College student, who lived in Sunshine North, left for the Australian Institute of Sport in January after a successful trial for a men’s football scholarship.
Recently, Becket has been training with Melbourne Heart and he is eager to continue working under head coach John van’t Schip and his two assistants, Jesper Olsen and Ante Milicic, on a longer-term basis.
“I’ve been with the Heart for the past three weeks and hope to return again,” he said. “Seriously, they’re just the best people to be around, and extremely caring.
“They are fantastic communicators and are very straight-forward with their coaching.
“My parents are paying the expenses like flying me in and out, but I’m really happy here; the coaches make sure you have a sense of belonging.”
While he has one eye on making the under-20 World Cup in Colombia, the 17-year-old’s immediate focus has not changed: to continue performing for the AIS in the National Youth League and earn his first senior A-League contract.
“I really want to make the (under-20) squad, but right now I’m just focusing on my performances week after week and, hopefully, I can earn a deal with the Heart in the near future,” he said.