Western United has strengthened its A-League squad for the upcoming 2021/22 season with a number of new signings, but a host of young players coming through the club’s academy are also poised to make their mark.
The club has seen great success in the launch of the inaugural NPL team this year, with the seniors currently sitting one point off top of the table in NPL 3 while the season remains on hold due to COVID-19.
A number of the stars of Ante Moric’s team made A-League debuts last season and many more will be hoping to impress John Aloisi and break into the first-team over the course of the 2021/22 campaign.
In this web series, the club will celebrate the plethora of young talent coming through and striving for more opportunities this season.
Adisu Bayew has shone at NPL level throughout 2021 and earned himself four A-League appearances at the end of last season, including a maiden start on the final day of the campaign.
The 19-year-old was born in Sudan to Ethiopian parents and moved to Melbourne when he was just four years old. Bayew has been a local in the west, attending St. Albans Secondary College and coming through the ranks at Green Gully.
“It means a lot for me, to be honest, to be playing in the western suburbs. It’s kind of like a dream come true because I’m from the western suburbs, the club is close to me, and to be representing people from the western suburbs is a big honour,” Bayew said.
A skilful winger or attacking midfield, Bayew plays with adventure and courage in the final third, with his low centre of gravity and technical ability making him a handful for opposition defences.
After putting pen to paper on a two-year scholarship contract, Bayew was proud to achieve one of his career goals but said the hard work will continue into the new season.
“It feels amazing. I’ve worked hard throughout pre-season, and even before when I was with the NPL team. Now I’m here, and it feels like a big accomplishment,” he said.
“My mindset is the same – give 100% in all training sessions and everything I can so I can improve day by day.”
“My goal is to play as much as I can and continue progressing as a footballer. That’s the aim – play as much football as I can, get my name out there and progress if I can.”
Bayew is currently studying a bachelor of business alongside his football.
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Noah Botic joins Western United as a new signing for this season, arriving from German Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim on a two-year scholarship contract.
The 19-year-old impressed at youth level in Germany and has been a mainstay in Australian youth teams, playing a starring role in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil in 2019.
Botic scored four goals in the group stages of the tournament including a match-winning brace in the final match against Nigeria, and he told Football Nation Radio last month how special it was.
“It was an unbelievable experience. A lot of kids strive to make a World Cup, in any sort of age group. Being able to do it with the group we had was really enjoyable,” he said.
His success at the tournament led to comparisons in the media to Australian legend Mark Viduka, something that Botic said was a huge honour, but not something he would rest on.
“It makes me feel honoured that a lot of people see me as a player like him,” he said.
“To be honest, I just focus on being the best version of myself. Then once I’m older, you’ve got people talking to the next striker saying, ‘you could be like Noah Botic’ or something.”
Botic was duly awarded the inaugural Dylan Tombides Medal in recognition of his courage and commitment to representing Australia on an international stage.
An intelligent and athletic centre-forward, Botic possesses the predatory instincts around the penalty area to be in the right place at the right time to score goals.
His positional awareness alongside his ability to score with both feet and in the air have made him a prolific goal scorer throughout his youth career, and he is eager to work under John Aloisi and draw from his coaching expertise as a forward as he looks to make an impact on the A-League.
Follow Noah on Instagram, here.