Stefan Nigro’s advice for young players as he chases his best at Victory

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Ballarat born and bred, Melbourne Victory star Stefan Nigro has had great start to his second year at the club.

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Nigro grew up supporting Melbourne Victory and is now playing for them regularly.

Nigro had a successful first game against Sydney FC this season and played a telling part in Victory’s second goal.

In round two against Western Sydney Wanderers, Nigro came on in the 67th minute  for Leigh Broxham and tried his best to make a mark.

“As a substitute you want to make an impact. I think we put a lot of pressure on them,” Nigro said.

Victory would go on to lose the match 1-0 and Nigro finds it is best to reset and think about how he can improve.

“As a footballer and professional athlete these hurdles that come they come thick and fast,” he said.

“There’s a lot of hurdles that come but you have to overcome them, grow and get more resilient as you get more experience.”

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Nigro is tenacious in his appreciation for where he has come in his career and the people in his life that have helped him get here.

“I’ve got a pretty big support network, I’m very close with all of them,” he said.

From his family, friends and girlfriend, Nigro is able to stay grounded and was able to work for his goals as they made a lot of sacrifices to support him.

Nigro was able to progress his career from being a product of Victory’s academy program and was a part of the club’s 2018 A-League Men championship, and can remember playing and supporting from a young age.

“Growing up, from a very young age my parents tell me I was always kicking a soccer ball around,” he said.

“I remember going to the old Olympic Park games early on in the A-League.

“I’m very proud of where I’ve got to.”

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As he should be, it can be extremely difficult for young Australians to make it big in the A-League Men as youth production of professional footballers still remains one of the country’s most exasperating issue.

The Football Federation Australia (FFA) released The Performance Gap report (for men) in 2020 identifying ‘gaps’ in player development pathways. It analysed data from 35 first-division leagues, which included the A-League Men, over the past five seasons.

It has become increasingly more apparent that young players need more opportunity to play matches, and kids need to play at a level where they are challenged.

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Nigro’s advice to up-and-coming Australian football stars is pretty simple.

“Be aware of what you need to improve on and ask for feedback from coaches,” he said.

“Listen to what the coaches ask of you, whatever level you’re at.

“Strive for constant improvement to get to the level that you want.”

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Nigro’s sense of professionalism and gratitude to be able to play the game is undeniable and highlights the importance of working hard, whilst equally enjoying every experience.

“I think I play and train the best when I have a smile on my face,” he said.

“Every single day I’m trying to work on all aspects of the game.”

Featured image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Lauren Hutchinson
Lauren Hutchinson
Business and Media Communications student at Monash University. A passion for sport and news reporting. Currently covering the Melbourne Victory for the 2022/23 season.

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