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Canberra schoolboy George Timotheou takes on worlds' best soccer players

Canberra teenager George Timotheou will likely take on some of the world’s finest players on Tuesday night, when Sydney FC takes on English Premier League team, Newcastle United in New Zealand.

Timotheou made his debut with Sydney FC less than a week ago in a match against NSW club Macarthur Rams, having only moved to Sydney five weeks ago to train with the Sky Blues in the hope of signing with its youth side.

It has been a huge adjustment for the former Gungahlin United junior who turns 17 next week.  He is now living in a dorm on campus at Macquarie University and studying year 11 by correspondence.

However his decision to uproot in pursuit of his football dream was further justified on Monday when Sydney signed his former Australian Institute of Sport teammate, 17-year-old Alex Gersbach to a two-year deal with the senior side.

The two are rooming together in the pre-season trip to Dunedin, where Sydney will also take on West Ham and Wellington Phoenix.

“It’s a very big step up from my debut,” Timotheou said of the upcoming games.


“All of them are such great world-class footballers, so it’s a privilege to be playing against some of them, and probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Timotheou was playing with Belconnen United in the Canberra National Premier League until the opportunity with Sydney presented itself, and said this was his chance to impress.

“Playing against world-class opposition, there’s always people watching,” he said.

“We’ve got two or three months before the season starts and it’s all about getting the team very close and getting that team cohesion together, getting our patterns of play working really well and just bonding as a group and getting a result and sending a message back home.”

Seeing Gersbach, a year-12 student, sign on with the club’s senior side has given him hope for a senior contract too.

“Graham Arnold trusts his youth and he tries to develop the youth more than any other coach, that’s one of the reasons I came to Sydney, because he was such a good mentor to the youth players.

“Seeing what he’s done with Alex now and with all these games coming up, this tour to impress and plenty more time to come in pre-season, I’m sure if I try hard enough, then I could possibly get a contract.

“When the time comes [on Tuesday] night and Saturday, if I get the chance to go on, then I’ll do my best and that’s all the coach will ask for.”

Meanwhile, the Western Sydney Wanderers have announced they will be coming to Canberra next week as part of their pre-season schedule.

The Wanderers will take on Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium at 7:30pm next Wednesday, 30 July.