Young gun and Ollyroo, Alex Gerbach, talks to FourFourTwo about his formative football years in the Australian youth system and with Sydney FC which helped him get his big move over to Europe.
How did you manage to balance football and study when you were sitting exams?Yeah, it was tough, I guess. It was at the beginning of last season and I was just making my debut and coming into the Sydney FC team. It was really tough to juggle that with the pressure of school work and training. You do have plenty of time outside of football,so it was hugely important for me to stay concentrated. But once to get organised and really get stuck in it’s not too hard. The club was supportive throughout as well, which helped a lot.
As a left back, which elements of you training regime is the most important?
Fitness is a key component of the training that I do personally and with the team. In my position, you have to do a lot of running, constantly running back and forth up the pitch. So we worked a lot with the fitness coaches at Sydney FC, ensuring that this part of my game was as strong as it could be. So fitness is one of the most important parts of training for a left back.
How was the difference in standard when you started playing with Sydney FC?
Yeah it was a massive step up when I started training with Sydney FC. I went from playing at the AIS [Australian Institute of Sport] and in the [Sutherland Shire FA] youth league to then being dropped into the Hyundai A-League, but that is what the AIS and youth system is there for. Bringing players up and ensuring they are ready for the top leagues, in my case the A-league. The AIS prepared me really well for that step up and I am really thankful to them for do so.
What advice would you give to young players?
To have fun and enjoy football. Young players trying to break into football [as a professional] need to keep trying hard but most of all enjoy what they are doing. Players can get too caught up in the pressure of succeeding. So you need to make sure you enjoy your time outside of football but then appreciate the opportunity you have to do something you love. If you are happy and content with your life off the pitch, there is a good chance that your game on the field will excel.
Alex Gersbach is a PUMA brand ambassador and was speaking to FourFourTwo after the PUMA Big Shot event in Sydney.