The good, the bad, and the ugly: The Jaushua Sotirio experience

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When it comes to Jaushua Sotirio you get it all: the misses, the tumbles, offsides, and of course, those incredible goals. 

Sotirio has always been a strange player to watch and support. In moments the 26-year-old looks like he has just discovered a football and in others, fans find themselves rubbing their eyes wondering if Cristiano Ronaldo has just joined the game.

But during Wellingtons 3-1 victory over Macarthur on Sunday night, Sotirio’s inconsistent style of play was perhaps on display more than it was ever been. In fact, it may have just been the moment where Nix fans realised that when it comes to Sotirio, all you can do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

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It all started in the 25th minute when the Australian thought for the briefest of moments that he had doubled Wellingtons 1-0 lead. However, after putting the ball past Filip Kurto, it took the assistant referee about half a second to point out that Sotirio was about a metre offside.

It is fair to say that Sotirio and the offside flag don’t get on well. Not only did it disallow his goal but it was raised several times during the game against the forward as fans were left wondering if Sotirio had ever learnt to time a run.

Moments later these same fans found themselves going from confused to just plain angry thanks to their striker blowing two golden chances to score legally. I’ll save you all the details but while one attempt ended up in the fifth row, Sotirio forgot he could aim a header on goal for the other (the ball literately just slammed into his forehead).

As hope and belief slowly began to drain from both Sotirio himself and those who support him, a gift was given to Nix fans near and far – the halftime break. And it is safe to say that in the second half everything changed for our young hero.

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Whether it was thanks to a few words from coach Ufuk Talay, some sort of meditation technique, or even a prayer or two, Sotirio came out of the shed a different player.

After a few clean strikes on goal that were either saved by Kurto or the post, the speedy striker soon scored two outstanding (I mean OUTSTANDING), goals to solidify the 3-1 win for his side.

The first came after a beautiful first touch from Sotirio that enabled him to use his pace. He was easily able to storm 40 meters upfield before putting the ball past Kurto. The Bulls keeper did actually get a decent touch on the ball but Sotirio’s power meant their was no stopping his shot.

After a passionate celebration with his teammates, Sotirio was again beating the defence with speed just minutes later. This time he used placement instead of power, lifting the ball over Kurto to secure his brace.

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If this isn’t the pinnacle of a ‘Jaushua Sotirio game’ I don’t know what is. Multiple bad misses, offsides, and messy dribbling, topped off with some sensational runs and goals.

After the match, coach Talay briefly discussed what he made of his striker’s unique performance.

“You need character and thick skin in this game and there is no doubt Jaushy has that,” he said.

“Sotirio was a little bit upset and down at half-time after the misses but the main thing is that we keep it positive in the changing room so that he keeps going, and thanks to his confidence he got the reward.”

Well, it is safe to say that this time Sotirio did deservedly get that reward.

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It is also important to remember that Sotirio has always been a bit of an enigma during his nine years in the A-League, not just in Wellington.

During his six seasons with Western Sydney Wanderers, he was known as one of the hardest-working players in the team but many fans struggled to accept him due to his inability to finish with consistency.

However, after last night’s game, it can be argued that accepting Sotirio as is is one of the best things a fan can do. Not only does it boost the confidence of a player who runs on the stuff, it also means fans won’t write off the striker before the fat lady sings, no matter how frustrating his performance has been.

Although he can make supporters want to tear their hair out, Sotirio can and will win games. His crucial equalising goal against Perth at Eden park late last season and his 15 minute brace against Avondale in the FFA cup are moments that spring to mind. And yes consistency would be great but at just 26, there is still plenty of time for it to come.

But for now, when it comes to being a fan of Sotirio, the best thing fans can do is embrace it all. Get ready to laugh, cry, pray, and cheer as you watch one of the hardest working players never, ever, give up.

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Feature image credit: Photosport 

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Harry Bartle
Harry is a young Journalist based in Wellington. He will be covering the Wellington Phoenix during the 2021/22 season for the Football Sack and has a love hate relationship with Ulises Davila

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