“I haven’t worn pants since I came to Australia” / My career as a pro player / Episode 6 / SOFOOT.com

Midfielder Loek Puyo (32) decided to write for Cho Foote to tell about his daily life as a player, passing through Lig 1, Lig 2 and National, now based in Mahartur FC, Australia. After describing the great leap he made this summer Towards the other end of the world, as he sets foot in this new country, he gives us the rest of this adventure.

We were lucky to find myself in the company of Emma Checker, an Australian international, on my plane, which had only 42 passengers. It operates in France Flori Club in the first division. I had the opportunity to chat (although my English was broken) during our stop in Dubai. Chance works best because for me it was the first approach to Australian football, especially since we discovered that his former coach was none other than my new coach. (Ante Milik, NDLR). Once I came to my hotel room, in my forties, I left for fourteen days without breathing outside air: I saw an establishment with no windows open. I was only allowed to open the door to my room to pick up my food plates from the floor three times a day, and for the three cowboy tests I stayed. To my dismay, I had a wonderful and breathtaking view of the city’s buildings. These fourteen days were long, the most difficult times when people slept in France. My only occupations at the time were using the fitness bike the club gave me for maintenance, or sharing cardio and pilates lessons with my new friend Emma.

“In terms of differences in attitude and function, I was impressed with the way the staff wanted to control everything.”

A harsh accent, but a warm welcome

Luckily she was there to give me support and her help in understanding the workings of the site. I know that waiting for the “deep breath”, a life without a mask “in freedom”: here, the epidemic was carried out very strictly, today, the number of cases is starvation and life is almost normal, which is really a privilege. As soon as I got out of my hotel, Australian international Evan Fran ஃபois, while waiting to see my own accommodation, kindly offered to welcome me to his house. Unfortunately, I may have met the person with the largest accent in the country: the first few days the contact was approx. But he helped me a lot, knowing the championship well with three titles to his name. He was very good friends with Eric Poutak and Baheed Ben Kalpalla and was able to talk to them about country life and football with their French perspective. I had information to attack training sessions. Despite his warnings, the cultural shock was severe. Among the differences in attitude and function, I was impressed by the way the staff wanted to control everything: putting on weight every morning before and after training, editing video before each session, and controlling hydration twice a week, for failing to perform these various duties. The severity is actually higher than in France.
Regarding the status of the game, I was pleasantly surprised. I was described as dissatisfied with football, both physically and badly. It’s really physical, but the technical quality is very high and the tactical culture is extensive. The coach has very specific ideas, he likes ball keeping and short play. His fight is to hate the opposing team by forcing them to run after the ball. We will punish her by making her mentally and physically exhausted. My meeting with the group was very simple. All the players talked to me and asked questions like how did the isolation go. I always wonder what behavior I had with foreign players when I was in France, I enjoy it here, I am afraid I will not get rid of all the insults. I take the difficulty of finding oneself in a country you do not know. It’s mind boggling to see my teammates help me or talk to me. Even though sometimes I admit that I put myself in “airplane mode” when I can’t understand their discussions. Without understanding what we are talking about, I hear a background noise, sometimes funny to feel there, but totally … foreign!

“I’m always wondered what I was doing with foreign players when I was in France, and I’m afraid I should not be exempt from all stigma because I live here.”

Football, like this country, is multicultural. On our team we see: a captain, Mark Milligan, who has played in four World Cups; Australian goalkeeper, Adam Federici, who has spent more than fifteen years in the UK, Australian players of European descent who have traveled in Asia and sometimes Europe; An English striker, Matthew Derbyshire, who came just before me, had a great career in the Premier League and Olympiacos; As well as two Spaniards, Beat And Markle Suzita, Athletic Club counts more than 500 games with Bilbao. There are also a lot of local players who have promised a great career in their country, but their only dream is to go and play in Europe. Although I can put the value of French football in perspective, it’s fun to see that it is the Holy Grail in their eyes. Finally, there is Denis Genroo, a Franco-Australian who works with my agent, who has helped me a lot since I arrived. His translations reassure me when I do not understand an instruction. Our discussions also give me a little buff of Moliere’s language. As a sport, my beginnings are mixed. Physically, I’m definitely on the streets because my last workout was in March 2020, so my body often reminds me of the absence of this condition. Although I was smart on social networks with my cardio workouts while in prison, nothing could replace real football training.

Plum and postcard

I do it on the chest because of the heat: training below 40 degrees doesn’t happen to me often in Amiens or Nancy. Psychologically, this is very complicated. I want to do better, I want to show immediately what I can do, but too little autonomy prevents me. My frustration at not being able to express in words everything I think. The various things I had to put into my daily life were stressful, such as finding shelter in a city I had never visited, getting a car, finishing paperwork or taking care of my wife’s visa. . I am very disappointed with my performance in this field. But the staff assures me every day and tells me to take my time: they know my situation and the only concern is to avoid injury. For the rest, everything will come naturally. It is very important for me to feel this support. I still managed the record of arriving late for my first friendly match, three weeks after I arrived, which was my first tenure lost. It fined me $ 90, which never happened to me. But I feel like I am gaining strength. Since I came here, I have been able to practice some more good technical moves and some good set pieces. With a few more changes, I need to open my target counter with this strong point.

“I’m starting to move away from the softness of a cola to access a kangaroo’s livelihood. ”

From the beginning of my talk, I have only been talking about football, but I have come here to discover a new country and another life. I already had time to go for a walk twice, on the vast and unpopulated beaches, I have played first round golf under a bright sun and I have not worn pants since I arrived. I also discovered the joys of the city. I was able to take a boat trip across Sydney Bay, where I was able to discover the Harbor Bridge, the Opera House and all the amazing scenery that this city is famous for. I don’t work for the tour office, but this postcard contributes to my new life and is similar to what the coach told me: I need to find a balance between football and my life. The only advice is not to go surfing two days before the competition! As I write these lines, I have done my first aid, but also acknowledge my first fine (Friendly against Adelaide United, 3-1). I begin to move away from the softness of a cola to access a kangaroo’s livelihood. Everything falls into place. I will drive on the left, and finally I will be at my apartment on Pondy Beach, 300 yards from the beach. I can finally focus on my work and no longer be paralyzed by logistics issues. Especially since my partner’s visa was accepted. He is currently in isolation, but will be with me for the first few days of January. Now everything can start.

Written by Lok Puyo, with Jeremy Barron
© Photos: Makharthur FC

Find his other chronicles:
The life of a free player during the transfer window
A “terrace” wardrobe
Unhealthy superstitions and injuries
The relationship between players and the media
Big leap to another continent

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