Thanks once again to our very good friends at Soccer World, we profile a Queensland football identity. This week we catch up with a player with a fresh challenge on his hands, it’s Luke Pavlou from Brisbane City.
QSN: How were you introduced to the game and your first junior club?
LP: I am the youngest of four boys so I was introduced to football very early through my older brothers. There is a photo of me as a three year old in attendance at one of my brother’s games fully kitted up in boots and long socks (even goalkeeping gloves). I am told that I refused to get out of the car unless I had a number on my back. My first year playing was under sevens at Wynuum Wolves (now Wolves FC).
QSN: Tell us about your football playing history.
LP: I have played for a number of local Brisbane clubs. I spent my first seven years at Mt Gravatt Hawks and Brisbane Wolves. Then a year each at Rochedale Rovers, Olympic FC and Eastern Suburbs.
It was towards the end of my season with Easts that I commenced a nearly three month trial with the Roar Youth. I spent two years at Roar which culminated in two A-League appearances and the opportunity to sit on the bench against Valencia and Liverpool. After an arduous preseason with the Roar top team I was released and soon after signed with Brisbane City.
QSN: What opportunities has football given you?
LP: Football has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of great people. From teammates who became good friends, to coaches who became like football father figures and role models who became mentors.
It has also given me the opportunity to give back to others. One of my greatest experiences in life has been visiting the Mater Children’s Hospital with a couple of pros from the Roar first team. Just by being there we made their day. It was a surreal experience which puts into perspective what really matters in life. Football teaches you many life lessons.
QSN: Your greatest individual and team moments in football are?
LP: My greatest individual moment in football would have to be making my debut for the Brisbane Roar first team. It was against Melbourne Victory at the back-end of last season at Suncorp Stadium which made it even sweeter. Greeting my family after the game was special. They have supported me every step of the way and I’m sure they’ll be out there braving the cold and enjoying the wood-fired pizzas at Brisbane City this year too.
QSN: You have had a well publicised move from Brisbane Roar Youth to Brisbane City in 2016. Can you tell us how you are fitting in at City and what it has been like under the guidance of John Kosmina so far?
LP: I’m starting to feel comfortable around the boys, they’re a great bunch of guys. Kossie is a fantastic coach. He has already identified some of my weaknesses and given me something to work on. I haven’t had that in a coach for a while now so it’s very refreshing.
QSN: What are your goals for the 2016?
LP: My main goal for 2016 is to have fun playing football again. If I’m having fun I know I’ll play well. We’ve got a great bunch of guys at City and good footballers. So aside from having fun, I want to win the league with City.
QSN: What are your longer terms aspirations?
LP: I’m not getting caught up with long term aspirations at this stage. Having just made a move from Roar to City, my attention and focus is purely on the present season. Whatever happens after that I’ll take as it comes.
QSN: Who is the best player you have played with or against in your career?
LP: I have been fortunate enough to play with some incredible players during my pre-season with the senior side at Roar. It’s hard for me to choose a “best” but the players I looked up to most and sought out for advice were Thomas Broich, Matt McKay and Luke Brattan. Although I didn’t have to seek Thomas out all that much as he was always onto me pretty quickly if he had something to say – for that I am extremely grateful that a player of his calibre took an interest in my development.
QSN: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
LP: I have a pretty standard preparation on the day of a game that starts with a good night’s sleep followed by a light jog in the morning just to get my legs moving. Other than that I relax and make sure I have good meals at the right times as well as staying well hydrated. I have no pre-game rituals or superstitions. I do pay tribute to the captain of my first senior side, Ryan Stenhouse of Eastern Suburbs by putting strapping tape on my shin pads just like he did while I was there.
QSN: Time for 5 rapid fire questions! Your favourite drink, music, food, football idol and which football club do you support?
LP: Aside from water and protein shakes – Blue Moon Wheat Ale, or occasionally a very peaty scotch. Kendrick Lamar and J Cole – both rappers. My Mother’s Moussaka. Patrick Vieira. I’ve never sided with one club. This year I’m hoping that Leicester City win it because what a story that would be.
QSN: Who was you most influential coach or main football influence and why?
LP: My most influential coach and main football influence was Steve Glockner, the present Eastern Suburbs first team coach. Steve simply believed in me and by doing that he was able to transform me from a player with a lot of potential, but not a lot of confidence into a player who believed in himself. I started taking to the field with a completely different mindset.
QSN: What do you do with yourself away from the football pitch?
LP: I’m about to start a degree in Exercise and Movement Science, which ties in nicely with my football but also my passion for gym. I’m in the gym about four days a week and I’m loving it.
QSN: Do you have a passion away from football? Charity, cause, something you feel strongly about that would interest readers?
LP: The great outdoors. I love going for hikes and climbs; seeing nature and getting some fresh air is a day well spent for me.
QSN: If you weren’t a footballer, what other sport would you play?
LP: Easy, I’d be a pro wrestler.
Thanks very much Luke for an insightful look into your football career and personal life. You can catch Luke and his Brisbane City teammates in the opening round of the NPL on Saturday night. Kickoff is 6:30pm at Corporate Travel Management Stadium in what promises to be a tough first-up test against last year’s Premiers, Moreton Bay.
Name: Luke Pavlou
Nationality : Australian born Greek/Cypriot
Age : 19
Nickname : Pav
Height : 182 cm
Preferred Position/s: Centre mid
Career Highlights: A-League appearances