A shoulder injury may have robbed him of a 2017-18 A-League debut with Melbourne City, but Young Socceroo Ramy Najjarine is looking for bigger and better things in the coming months.
Eighteen-year-old Najjarine grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, impressing enough at a junior representative level for both New South Wales and the Joeys to earn entry as a 15-year-old into the Academy of Western Sydney Wanderers; quickly progressing through the U20s and into the senior side.
“I grew up in Sydney; in the west, in Fairfield,” Najjarine said.
“My dad was heavily involved in football, so I just followed him really. I had idols, I used to watch Ronaldinho and then Ronaldo. When you love something it’s all you do really.
“I went to a local school, Westfield Sports High. That for me was a big part of my football career because they had a football program there as well. I went through the ranks in the NSW state system, through Skillaroos and NSW state teams.”
Najjarine eventually left the Wanderers as a 17-year-old, one of several Sydney born youngsters – Daniel Arzani, Moudi Najjar and John Roberts (who has since made the move back) others – to make the move South to join the Academy of Melbourne City.
“Melbourne City came knocking,” Najjarine explained when asked about the move to Bundoora.
“For me, it’s everything you want in an A-League team. Their facilities are second to none, the coaching staff and the exposure as well.”
Spruiked by City A-League Head Coach Warren Joyce as a figurative midseason signing given the sort of impact he was expected to make upon his call-up to the senior side, Najjarine’s quest for A-League football was cruelly derailed when an injury in training forced him to undergo a shoulder reconstruction.
“I’ve torn my labrum, my rotator cuff, that set me back six months,” Najjarine recalled.
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“Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best timing to have an injury, when you’re pushing for the first team and this happens.
“To be honest at that moment it was a very sad time. But, I feel like I’m stronger now once again. I’ve just got to keep doing the basics every day and hopefully get back to where I was.”
Returning to City’s academy side during their NPL2 Victoria campaign, Najjarine’s performances have augured well for his recovery; scoring three goals in his six appearances in Victoria’s second tier.
The performances were enough to convince Socceroos assistant and Young Socceroos boss Ante Milicic to call Najjarine into his squad for the upcoming 2018 SBS Cup in Japan.
The Shizuoka Broadcasting System (SBS) Cup is a youth tournament that started in 1977 and since 2002 has been a round-robin tournament for youth national sides and a team from the Shizuoka Prefecture, where the competition is based.
The current champions of the tournament are Chile, who beat the Czech Republic and Shizuoka Prefecture in 2017.
Najjarine has previously been a key performer for the Young Socceroos in their qualification for 2018 AFC U19 Championships, to be held in Indonesia in October. The young winger struck against both Hong Kong and North Korea during the side’s undefeated qualifying campaign.
The Young Socceroos will take the field at 7:30 (AEST) on Thursday night for their opening game of the SBS Cup against Japan, before facing off against Paraguay on Friday and finishing their tournament against a Shizuoka Selection side on Sunday.
For Najjarine, the chance to represent his country will be both a point of pride and a chance to impress Milicic, who will no doubt be reporting the results of the tournament to new Socceroos boss Graham Arnold.
“It’s always an honour, I’ve been representing the Joey’s since I was 16,” Najjarine said when asked about Young Socceroos duty.
“I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully doing well. There’s another major tournament coming up in October to qualify for the World Cup so we’re just trying to make that and go from there.
“Everyone’s out there to prove themselves, obviously the ultimate goal is to make the Socceroos and impress Ante as a coach.
“Everyone’s out to impress.”
The Young Socceroos will commence their AFC U19 Championship campaign against South Korea on 19 October, before they go on to face Vietnam on 22 October and Jordan on 25 October.