At just 17 years of age, Nicholas Suman will be the youngest player in a Western Sydney Wanderers jersey this season. The gloveman signed a one-year scholarship contract with the club back in May and has already established himself as one of the best young keepers in the country.

Suman began his footballing career at Colo Cougars before moving to Nepean FC. He then played for Sydney United 58 before being selected for Western Sydney in the Foxtel National Youth League.

Having spent his junior years playing in the western suburbs the Beaumont Hills local has been striving to play for Western Sydney since their inaugural season.

“As a Westie I always wanted to follow a team that was from out west,” said Suman.

“It was always good having a local team from where I’m born and bred to basically be part of the sport.”

The passion generated by the Wanderers’ successful first few seasons also left an impression on Suman, who used to attend some of the sell-out games.

“I remember going with my family to watch a couple of the games,” said Suman, “it was a really good experience.

“Parramatta Stadium has an amazing atmosphere.”

After an impressive 2016/17 season in the NYL, Suman secured a position in the A-League side. The teenager has been training regularly with the team since joining the academy and says that his time spent with the Wanderers’ best players has been invaluable.

“It was very exciting for me being such a young player,” said Suman.

“The opportunity is really good; to learn from first graders, keep striving and keep going forward.”

Former Socceroo Zeljko Kalac brought a wealth of experience to the Wanderers when he was appointed head goalkeeping coach in 2015. Alongside fellow coaching veteran Davide Del Giovine, the pair have helped develop Suman to the level he is today.

“He’s [Kalac] a great mentor, I’ve been with him for a couple years now and he’s taught me a lot of things which have really improved my game and helped me alot,” said Suman.

“Without them I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”

In 2016 Suman was selected to represent Australia in the ASEAN Football Federation U16 Youth Championships in Cambodia. It was a gripping campaign for a side who would eventually go on to defeat Vietnam in a penalty shootout final. It also marked a successful tour for Suman who pulled off a remarkable 55th minute save in the final to keep the Joeys in the contest.

“It was always going to be a tough competition,” said Suman.

“It was a great experience to verse teams that were just as good and all going for the same thing in the World Cup qualifiers.”

Suman added the international stage was a great experience not just for himself but all the players involved.

A month later Suman was selected to represent the Joeys again in the Asian Football Confederation U16 Championship in India. It would prove to be a much tougher challenge for the green and gold who lost their three group games against Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and Japan.

“It was different conditions, very hot, very muggy everyday, it was not our natural environment,” Suman said.

“It was quite tough mentally and physically.”

Suman said he will be looking to make his mark in the upcoming A-League season and hopes to one day be signed for a European club.

“My absolute dream would be playing for Liverpool,” said Suman.

“European leagues are just quality overall, it’s a great step up and a great test to anyone who goes over there.”

A string of promising new signings for the red and black may well see them challenge for the A-League crown in 2017/18, while success in the FFA Cup has given Suman confidence for the upcoming campaign.

“I reckon we have a great chance, we really bonded together well in the pre-season.

“We’ll go quite good this year.”

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Second year bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Wollongong. Aspiring Journalist, looking forward to the coming season!