Getting signed to the Reds on a three year deal is only the first step in what is hopefully a long career for Jacob Melling.
Getting signed to the Reds on a three year deal is only the first step in what is hopefully a long professional football career for talented young South Aussie Jacob Melling.
The 16 year old holding midfielder is just one of a number of players the Reds have signed from the local talent pool recently, having worked his way up through local clubs Para Hills East Junior Soccer Club and Modbury Jets before representing his state and country at junior level.
Now this blonde teenager from Adelaide-s north eastern suburbs is mixing it with the big names in the Hyundai A-League, and he looks right at home. Coming on for Zenon Caravella last Sunday, Melling played 47 minutes against Perth Glory and almost scored with a left footed effort, while he also helped to set up a couple of other chances.
Melling has high hopes of being a fully fledged professional footballer with a long career, saying the interest and support of his parents and friends have helped him reach this far already at such a young age.
Even at the first Adelaide United game in the A-league-s inception in 2003, an eight year old Melling sat in the stands, hoping to one day make it at that level.
“It-s a dream come true, I-ve always wanted to play for them, I-ve been to nearly every home game since the club was founded,” Melling said.
“I do have to pinch myself quite a bit to realise that I am getting there, and getting higher and higher. It-s a challenge, but a good challenge.”
“Just to be at that level and to do what I love, it-s everything you could ask for really.”
In his five Hyundai A-League appearances so far for the Reds, being one of the youngest players on the pitch does not mean Melling shies away from creating opportunities, making his mark on the game and staking it up to older, bigger, more experienced opponents.
“I like to feed the ball and set up the play. I do go forward at times, but am more of a playmaker,” he said.
Looking up to players from his favourite English Premier League club Liverpool and also the Qantas Soccceroos has given Melling the inspiration to be the type of player he is.
“Robbie Fowler and Steven Gerard have always been my idols, because they have played for Liverpool and I-ve always gone for Liverpool as a kid,” Melling said.
“And it was awesome to play against Melbourne Victory, because Harry Kewell was one of my idols, so it was unreal playing against him.”
As for his own team-mates, the exciting youngster admits he has been copping a bit of friendly flack for being one of the new kids on the block.
“I am probably closest with Iain Ramsay, he likes to muck around and have a good joke,” Melling said.
With the prospects of a long positive future in the game, Melling is unsure what lies ahead but he is definitely not getting ahead of himself.
“I hope to progress and do well here for Adelaide United, make a name for myself and see what happens, maybe go overseas one day,” Melling said.
And when he finally decides to hang up the boots, Melling likes the idea of becoming a primary school teacher.