This week here at OnTheBallBlog we sat down with up-and-coming young gun Michael Glassock. Michael, born and bred on the Central Coast, came up through the Central Coast Mariners Academy, being on the fringe of the first team and also challenged himself taking an opportunity to play for Pegasus FC in the Hong Kong Premier League. The 21-year-old has recently returned to Australia joining NPL NSW side Sydney Olympic.
Throughout this blog Michael shares with us his experiences and challenges he has faced in his journey of becoming a professional football player. Michael is someone who is determined to make an impact in the football world and will give everything he has to get what he wants. He has had some amazing experiences for being such a young age and here at OnTheBallBlog we are thrilled to share his story.
Michael tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey so far. How did your journey start and where your football has taken you in your short career so far?
I began playing at the age of 5 years old for The Entrance Bateau Bay Football Club before moving to Killarney Vale Football Club where I played for two seasons in the Central Coast Junior Competitions. After a couple season there I was selected in the Central Coast Lightning program which is now known as the Central Coast Mariners Academy.
I played for the Central Coast Mariners Academy until I was 19 years old, playing 70+ in both the NYL and NPL. I also captained the Central Coast Mariners Youth team to a 2nd place finish in the 2018 NPL 2 Club Championship, as well as only a win away from the 2018/19 Foxtel NYL Grand Final, the clubs best finish in the competition since 2012-13.
I played for the Hyundai A-League First Team in a couple of pre-season matches, including replacing Usain Bolt against Macarthur South West United and was selected on the bench in one Hyundai A-League Fixture.
In May 2019, I received an offer to play for Hong Kong Pegasus in the Hong Kong Premier League Competition and decided it was a perfect opportunity to prove myself in a new environment.
Michael has since returned to Australia due to COVID19, however is more determined than ever to prove what he is capable of doing on the football pitch. He has since joined Sydney Olympic FC ahead of the 2021 NPL NSW season.
You had a stint playing in the Hong Kong Premier League recently, what was it like playing for the club you were at, Pegasus FC? What did you love about being there?
I absolutely loved my time at Hong Kong Pegasus.
During my time at Pegasus, the club were fantastic with me. The owner, staff and players made me feel welcome and I am always grateful for the club giving me a chance to play for them.
The experience made me personally a better footballer and more well-rounded person. The club had a real strong mentality on hard work and turning up each day giving your best, which was really aligned to what I am about.
Going there as a foreigner there was the pressure to perform which really motivated me and my goal was to be as consistent in my performance and standards each session/ game I played.
As a defender, I came up against quality foreigners who had played across some of the biggest leagues across Europe, South America and Asia. It was a challenge which I embraced and had to quickly adapt to. I think being surrounded by these players it really made me mature as a player.
I played 20 out of the 21 league and cup games before COVID-19 pandemic had begun to take of in Hong Kong shutting the league. It was a fantastic experience overall and I hope to have another opportunity like this again soon.
What was life like away from the football pitch in Hong Kong? It must have been such a diverse culture over there. Did you have any experiences that were so different to what you have experience before?
Yeah, Hong Kong really is an amazing place and has some wonderful people living there. There is such a unique and amazing buzz in the city with so much to do and explore.
The city at the time I was there had some challenges, constant protests, urban unrest and then later the COVID 19 Pandemic, which made it an intriguing experience and crazy year indeed.
I unfortunately experienced one protest whilst I was over when I was walking the streets with one of my best mates Jaeger May, that came over and Charles Lokolingoy and Ben Van Meurs who were two other Aussie boys that were playing in Hong Kong at the time.
We were sprayed by tear gas whilst walking looking at the Mong Kok Markets away from where the protesters.
That was quite an experience and one that was very eye opening.
We also had some competition games postponed already due to the protests situation that season. And then the COVID 19 Pandemic was a whole different and unique situation all together. The club and league first warned us about a deadly virus that was spreading across China and were very proactive about the situation at the time in mid-January.
All teams began all training and cup games at the same training ground which was a totally different experience all together.
It felt surreal.
We were playing in front of no fans, not even in a stadium, just a training ground which I found to be a totally different vibe to what everyone had been used to.
Early into the pandemic, the day-to-day life was different too. I would go to shopping centres and there was a shortage of meat, toilet paper, rice, face masks and bread.
Whilst the experience I had in Hong Kong was a unique one, it has really shaped my identity and given me a strong belief in myself. I hope to return there again when the time is right and play football their beautiful country again.
What are some challenges that you have faced so far in your career? What have you personally found difficult in your journey so far?
In my small career this far, I have had some pretty difficult and harsh challenges.
I originally always had the belief that I would play for my local boyhood club the Central Coast Mariners and help the club get back to the top.
Unfortunately, I was never really given a proper chance at the club despite feeling I was always consistent in my performances and putting in so much effort, sacrifice and devotion into the club.
It was a disappointing stage for me but I knew where one door closes another one is bound to open. And that’s exactly what happened.
I join Hong Kong Pegasus on a one year deal and was off to experience South East Asian professional football.
I had a lot of great memories at the club, meeting lifelong friends and will always have a spot for my boyhood club but the love and passion for the club rescinded a little bit due to what I experienced, absolutely.
Obviously, I had challenges off the pitch in Hong Kong with what was happening within the region and all over the globe.
The pandemic ultimately has been challenging for me because I had to make the difficult decision to head back to Australia.
I found it difficult coming back at that stage as well because I was in the process of extending my contract with Pegasus FC.
My family and close friends have been very supportive in what has been looking back at it a difficult and uncertain year, but I am really feeling energised and optimistic for the next challenges to come.
What are you looking to achieve this year in football?
When Ante Juric (Sydney FC W League Coach and Ex Socceroo) called me asking if I wanted to come join Olympic for 2021, I was excited to be joining one of the proudest and historically one of the most famous clubs in Australian football. The club has a great tradition in obviously winning silverware but also promoting young players that have gone on to play at the highest level and become Socceroos.
My goals for this season is to get back playing consistent football and help the club win trophies.
I feel really energised and am in the best physical condition I have been in thanks to this past year of lockdown and staying at home.
I feel under Ante and all the coaching staff, I can develop my game and continue to improve to help the club achieve success.
And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this blog with Michael Glassock. To get in touch with Michael be sure to hit up his Instagram Page @classicglassock as well as all of his social media accounts and website tagged below.
2019/20 Hong Kong Premier League Highlights:
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