Kyle Cimenti appears to have found his home at Rockdale Ilinden FC with four goals in as many matches to start the 2021 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s season.
Reigning Premiers Rockdale Ilinden are reaping the benefits of their form striker in Cimenti who has begun the 2021 NPL NSW Men’s season in the best way possible.
Four games into the season and he has already bagged a brace against Wollongong Wolves before getting on the scoresheet against Marconi Stallions and most recently snatching a point for his side against Manly United.
He believes that his efficiency in front of goal has boiled down to the collective effort of his hardworking teammates.
“I’ve got a great team. We have got a lot of guys around who are talented and there’s a great camaraderie. It makes it a lot easier for me to do my job when I’ve got such great guys providing me with all the scoring chances,” Cimenti said.
Cimenti’s path to Rockdale may not be as straightforward as many would think with the ex-Western Sydney Wanderers front man arriving at his current club via a spell overseas.
“I trained and played some first grade games there [Wanderers] before moving to Croatia when I was 19. I moved there on my own and went to a third division club to start off,” he said.
“After a few months there I was doing really well, and I signed a professional deal with a second division club.”
His rise up the footballing pyramid seemed to be taking shape until COVID-19 swept through the globe and forced him to put his European adventure on hold.
“I came back here [Sydney] and kind of just needed to play. I had the opportunity to get some games and play with Rockdale.”
“I’m trying to get myself back to the professional game.”
The cutthroat nature of European football provided him with several life lessons that many young footballers today are not exposed to unless they take that leap of faith by moving abroad at such a young age.
“You had to learn really quick. Mentally you were just there and kind of isolated. It was a good learning experience for me to mature and do things for myself,” he said.
“It helped me grow in not just football but overall, as a person.”
As someone who committed to making the life-changing move, he has some valuable insight to pass on to the next generation of young Aussie footballers.
“The first couple of months, you’re an outsider. A lot of these guys are locals, and you must earn your way. If you stay true to who you are, you play and you work hard and you start showing what you can do and why you’re there in the first place.
That will earn you more and more respect from the boys and it makes it a lot easier for you to live there because then you don’t necessarily feel like you’re doing it on your own.”
His return to Australia at around this time last year did not arrive at the most opportune time with A-League clubs having already settled their squads so it led to the striker turning to local NPL clubs.
“The coaching staff at Rockdale knew me when I was younger at Sydney United. Once I spoke to them, they were great with me. I felt like that was the greatest bit, having coaches that back me.”
“It was always going to be a good move for me to get game time in a good environment.”
Cimenti will be leading the line for Rockdale when they visit Blacktown City on Sunday with kick off set for 3pm at Lily Homes Stadium.
-By NPL NSW Men’s Reporter Samuel Greco Schwartz (Twitter handle: @SamuelGS97)