We may be in the midst of a world pandemic thanks to COVID-19 but that hasn’t stopped former Blacktown City sharpshooter Joey Gibbs settling in well with Icelandic First Division outfit Keflavík ÍF.
Gibbs moved to Iceland prior to the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s season kicking off this year fulfilling his ambition to play in Europe, but COVID-19 became an instant roadblock to his journey.
Instead of jumping back on a plane bound for Sydney, Gibbs stayed put in Iceland since the football shutdown globally and has really grown to life in the chilly European nation albeit under bizarre circumstance.
“Yes, I have settled in quite well, the people and Icelandic culture are friendly and make it easy for foreigners to fit in.
“I’m currently living on my own as I had plans for my girlfriend to come too but this was stopped due to the virus.
“The restrictions have been very similar to Australia however we were still able to train individually which made it a lot easier to deal with.
“It was a challenge at first as we trained indoors until Spring hit, so the first few weeks of individual training were outside in the snow but it was a great experience.
“We were allowed back to group training with some restrictions on the 4th and are due to be back into full training with no restrictions on the 25th with a trial game on the 27th of this month.”
The 27-year-old has kept himself ticking over in what has been a professional environment with his new club with some unorthodox methods that have worked a charm thus far for the Gosford born striker.
“As I mentioned before we were provided a full-time individual training program which did its best to replicate some of the training we would be doing.
“Most of the sessions had a ball involved and a lot of trust was given to the group to complete it.
“We actually used the social running app ‘Strava’ to provide evidence to the coaches we had completed the session which provided accountability and motivation to the group.
“As the gyms were closed, we were given two strength sessions to complete at various times throughout the week which involved a lot of jumping on furniture.
“So by having that this gave me some structure and focus over the period which helped a lot and kept me positive.
“It was also a rare period where you had spare-time which was great for a bit of reflection and learning.”
Asked what he missed most about the world game Gibbs replied to Football NSW.
“Even though it’s a new challenge for me and being a new player in the squad, I miss being around the team and the group and the competitive aspect of training and a game.
“It has given me more hunger and appetite in getting back into the swing of things, hitting the ground running come the 25th of this month.”
The National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s top tier competition definitely lost a key star for the 2020 season as did Blacktown City who lost their influential attacker however Gibbs has not missed a beat watching all of his former side’s matches on YouTube and was impressed by Matty Lewis’ attacking stats.
“Yes definitely keeping my eyes on the NPL NSW Men’s competition, Blacktown City got off to a great start and I may be wrong but I remember seeing Matty Lewis topping the goalscoring charts.
“So I’m hoping the season continues soon enough as I know all the boys would be itching to get back out there and I am wishing them all the best in picking up silverware this year.
“I will be watching them if not live on replay from Iceland cheering them on that’s for sure.”