Former Wollongong Wolves defender James Baldacchino will become one of the first PlayStation4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s players to embark on a career playing professionally in the Maltese Premier League following his move to Floriana FC.
Floriana FC, known as one of the most successful clubs in Malta, are this week gearing up for their UEFA Europa League Round 1 qualifier against Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade.
Scouts from Floriana monitored the recent Maltese Under 21’s camp that Baldachhino was part of, offering him the opportunity to remain in Malta and be a part of their squad.
They have won 25 national leagues and 20 FA Trophies and are the only team from Malta to have qualified from the qualifying rounds to the first round proper of the UEFA Champions League.
“The last month has been an absolute whirlwind. The Maltese National Training Camp was fantastic and as a result I now have the chance to play in the Maltese Premier League with a club with such great history and passion. Football is an amazing adventure.” commented Baldacchino.
The Wollongong Wolves have released Baldacchino immediately.
He is now training full time with Floriana, familiarising himself with his new teammates and structures.
Wollongong Wolves first grade coach Jacob Timpano was not surprised Floriana targeted Baldacchino “James has been one of our most dedicated and committed players for a number of years now. He gives his all in every match and will be a great addition to Floriana. Not only have they signed a quality player they’ve got an even better person as part of their club.”
Baldacchino was scheduled to return to the Wolves once his training camp commitments concluded however the chance to play in Europe, in the country of his family’s background, with Floriana, was an opportunity too tempting to ignore.
“It wasn’t the easiest decision but at the end of the day I had a chance to immerse myself in another culture and country and develop another level to my game. Opportunities like this don’t come all too often. The Wolves were fantastic in supporting whatever decision I made and have made the transition seamless. No matter where I play or who I play with I will always be a Wollongong Wolves player at heart.” continued Baldacchino.
Baldacchino will now don the revered green and white stripes of Floriana, with the much-loved lion mascot and look to further progress his game.
Playing in Europe could potentially open significant doors for James and strong performances for his new club, could easily see James attract further attention.
Timpano added, “The beauty of football is it is played right across the planet and you have possibilities that simply aren’t available in any other sport. Just think of it, a young Wollongong boy, developed through the Wolves junior system is now living his dream, playing in Europe and beginning a new journey and adventure. While it is disappointing to lose James from a purely Wolves perspective, there was no hesitation in giving him the chance to take up this new and exciting contract. All of us here wish James the very best and know he will definitely become an important member of Floriana’s team very quickly.”