Promising young defender Jacob Tratt became only the second PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s player to earn a professional First Grade Hyundai A-League contract after impressing in the colours of Sydney United 58 this season having secured a one-year-deal with the Wellington Phoenix.
The 22-year-old impressed Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick during a recent trial and was added to the player roster alongside this year’s PS4 NPL NSW Men’s Player of the Year and former Manly United star Adam Parkhouse.
This won’t be Tratt’s first crack at the Hyundai A-League as the former NSW Country representative spent some time with Sydney FC – two seasons in the youth setup and a year with the seniors.
It was his final year at the Sky Blues that was to be a tough period as he contracted glandular fever which setback the youngster.
This did not deter him though as he got on with the job and dream of chasing a professional contact and excelled in NSW’s top tier competition with Mark Rudan’s squad where he was a part of a team that took out the Waratah Cup as well as being crowned Premiers for 2016.
Tratt kicked off his football career playing in Dubbo and spent all of his youth developing with Western NSW Football Club now known as the Western NSW Mariners FC.
It was there the right back perfected his skills before being scouted by the Sutherland Sharks who picked up the modest Country kid.
One such coach that had spent some time with Tratt was Football NSW’s Regional Coach and Development Manager Andrew Fearnley who was delighted upon hearing the news that Tratt was to be given a senior contract with the Phoenix.
Upon his departure to New Zealand, Tratt texted Fearnley and made a point that no matter the obstacle of having sharpened his skills in a regional town, nothing is impossible.
“This will be an awesome experience.
“I think the biggest thing for a youngster coming through from the regional areas, like me, is to obviously believe that you can make it.
“My biggest message is that there’s a lot to learn so be eager to learn and absorb as much knowledge from as many people as you can, and it takes a lot of sacrifice and hard work but I adapted each time that I went to a higher level.
“Then keep that high level of performance because consistency and constant repetition will provide mastery.”
With the Football NSW State Titles only a week away with the likes of regional places such as Griffith and Mudgee hosting various age groups, there could well be more players like Tratt following their dreams towards greener pastures.