"I trained with the Argentinian National team, with the likes of Messi, Aguero, Di Maria" says Indian born Uday Arora
Uday Arora, an OCI card holder from India, plays in the Gibralter Premier League, for Europa Point FC. Europa Point at the moment are the top of the Premier League, and if it stays that way, they'll qualify for Champions League first qualifying round. We at Sportskeeda sat down with him, for an exclusive interview with the 19-year-old.
Tell us a bit about your career so far.
This far in my career, I can say that I have been blessed and honoured to experience things that not a lot of young footballers have been able to do. My youth career began at ANB Futbol Academy, which is one of the best Academies in Canada for soccer.
The professional training that I got with them was tough and mentally frustrating, but the process truly helped me in every aspect of my game. Despite all the sacrifices I made at that point to be a disciplined Academy Player, I would say was all worth when I look at my recent success, and I feel proud of myself.
Furthermore, once high school was done with, I was looking to play in USA on a possible football scholarship which I could get as a Student Athlete. Prior to this I was offered a professional contract at the age of 17 years by Jacksonville Armada FC, Jacksonville (USA), a team which competes in NASL, however I chose to attend Mercyhurst University, PA (USA) instead, where I was the only freshman to be part of the first team and I played for 2 years.
Through more trials and tribulations, I was offered a contract by Europa Point FC, Gibraltar which in my opinion is an amazing opportunity for me as they gave me a chance to compete for the biggest stage in club football (Europa League, Champions League) as well as offered international exposure.
You have trained under Argentinian coach Nino Piazzi, what was the experience like?
It was an amazing experience for me, as it was my first time playing in Argentina. Initially, it was extremely hard because of the language barrier and their brand and style of playing football. I was constantly homesick and it was mentally exhausting, however, regardless of all the hardships, this experience was a harsh reality for me and it was also something that gave me thick skin as an individual as playing professional football comes with all these burdens that I experienced in Argentina.
As for training, it was amazing, professional and intense. I was training with a professional team in a country that is ranked number one in world football and it helped me to improve me physically and tactically, which further improved my game.
Furthermore, a couple months ago I trained with the Argentinian National team, with the likes of Messi, Aguero, Di Maria etc. which further enhanced my skill(s) and stamina along with my technical capabilities. I took this opportunity to learn more and utilise all this time to become a better and a skilled player.
You ply your trade in Gibraltar, how different is it from the football in the USA?
There is more of an opportunity in Gibraltar considering it is a European country, which holds a lot more weight and branding especially when coaches and scouts are looking for the players for a professional contract. Though the USA is coming up in soccer, however, it will take some time before being considered as an international competition.
I have also personally noticed that European coaches and scouts are more interested in future players from Europe rather than the USA, hence the choice.
You hold a Canadian passport, but an OCI from India. Do you have ambitions of playing for the Indian National Team?
Of course, yes. I was born in India and if I am given the opportunity to play for my National team, I would love to play for India.
If Europa Point remains number 1, you might get the chance to play in the Champions League, how big will that be for your career.
It would be massive for my career. Champions League is the centre stage of European football and at the age of 19, if an Indian-born player is playing in the Champions League it is a great honour and achievement for me, my Country and my Family who have worked so hard to support me in every step in my career. It would further expose my talent and play skills to the greatest teams in the world.
What do you think of Indian Football, and in general the state of the game in India?
In my opinion, India is a great destination for football. I think the I-League is very well represented in Asia, and most of the teams in I league have the means to bring in foreign coaches, provide training and exposure to the players.
The Foreign coaches bring with them a wealth of experience and inject the professionalism which is necessary for football to grow in a country like India.
Do you get time to follow the I-League or the ISL? Do you have a favourite team among the two Leagues?
As I have interest for Indian soccer, I do keep myself updated on the developments. I like Bengaluru FC as they have young and exciting players.
But in general, the Technical/Coaching staff is of the highest level which brings in all the professionalism in the players on the field. This coupled with facilities, passion towards the game, dedication towards the sport and seriousness towards the players is something I like in India.
Last but not the least can we expect to see you in the Indian football's professional circles anytime soon?
I have been approached by few professional circles from the Soccer fraternity in India and I feel like when the time is right and if the coaching staff is in place that will improve my game and will give me an opportunity to show my talent on the field, then for sure it is an option in the near future and I look forward to it.
The season with Europa Point ends in late December, after which I will have time to decide on my next destination. There are chances that it will be an I-League club.
Uday wearing Jersey number 18 scored a goal at 1.28:40
We at Sportskeeda wish Uday all the very best for his future.
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