Feature Article - Nathan Wildy
At the time of interviewing Nathan Wildy he held the position of Metro Stars emergency back up goal keeper. However, in pursuit of a lifestyle centred on Asian philosophy, which inspired his coaching and lifestyle since a previous trip to Japan, Nathan has since embarked on an indefinite trip to Japan to work in an English school as a liaison officer. Nathan began playing soccer as a 4 year old and it was years later during a stint with SAPSASA that he was placed in goals, simply because he was the tallest kid on the field. After one week he was selected for the state squad before playing for 2 years with the very first SASI squad when he was 15. Nathan's playing history goes on to include playing for the Under 20's school boys for Australia at 16 years old and training camps with the youth Socceroos as well as playing for the Olyroos in 2000. At 17 Nathan began playing for West Adelaide and started in his first National League game at 18 years old. And so began a 3 year stint with NSL team West Adelaide before a disheartening final season when the team went bankrupt. After this, Nathan chose to take a break from the game and didn't play again for 6 years after that. In 2006, persuaded by then coach Mike Barnett, Nathan took the role of filling in for the first team at Metro while goal keeper Godley recovered from injury. When Godley was then back on track, Nathan became goal keeper for the reserves where just into his third game he was hit with a challenging blow. With a "crack heard all around the ground”, Nathan broke his tibia in his right leg, a clean break that would take 6 months to heal. During the presentation night of 2006, Nathan was asked to become goal keeper coach for the first team and starred in that role until this year when he headed off to Japan indefinitely. During his time as coach Nathan discovered he actually prefers coaching to playing, " I get more of a buzz from seeing my goalies perform and watching them grow and hold their own on the field. Coaching is an even bigger buzz than a goalie in a penalty box at shoot outs.” After close calls to make prestigious squads such as the Sydney Olympic squad, Nathan was burnt out and disillusioned as a player and so began his journey that landed him in Japan before travelling around Europe and returning home after 2.5 years. When Nathan returned, he was inspired with the Asian philosophy of the power of the mind and now imparts this philosophy on to his goal keeping pupils. Nathan says the power begins before the goalie is even on the pitch. He is playing the game as he enters the field; his presence, his walk, his body language and his vocalisations should all express "I'm in control of this game and my team are my orchestra”. While excited to be moving to Japan, at the time of the interview Nathan was pensive with thoughts of how he will miss Metro Stars. Having played for many clubs, Nathan believes "nothing comes close to Metro Stars”. With an atmosphere that makes him want to keep coming back Nathan says " I will be a Metro Stars man to the day I die”. On contemplating his leaving he also expressed his desire for Godley to take his place one day believing he would make an excellent goal keeping coach, and when the time comes he would hope he would take on the role, "he is great with advice… but he would never be better than I am”. Nathan's qualities for a good goal keeper include being the fittest player on the field, athleticism, agility, flexibility, fitness, strength, speed and reflexes and power to dive as well as being a good shot stopper. But what separates the good goal keepers from the great is their leadership qualities, directing the players and messing with the opposition's minds, "The goal keeper needs to have a stronger mental game than all the others on the field”. Nathan's tip for the up and coming goal keepers is to "Make sure you are fit, be a leader, know how to direct your team, feel the emotion of the team and be ready and able to calm or encourage them as needed. The mood of the team starts from the goalie and filters out over the field.” Nathan's hopes for Metro this season are to see them at the top of the table taking out another championship. Nathan swears he will call from Japan with a bar full of Japanese people ready to sing the Vengaboys theme song when they win. "I have never enjoyed being a part of a soccer club as much as this place”.