Soccer World Off The Pitch – Sam Chandler (Capalaba)


Sam Chandler flying high in the air in customary fashion

Thanks to Soccer World, with stores in Brisbane’s north at Stafford and south in Mt Gravatt, this week we catch up with a player who’s been an integral part of his side’s climb up the Brisbane Premier League ladder in recent rounds. Learn more about Capalaba Bulldogs goalkeeper, Sam Chandler.

QSN: How were you introduced to the game and who was your main football influence?

SC: My dad (Redlands coach Matt) had the biggest influence on my career. I remember the days back in England as an eight and nine year old, going over to the local park and training for hours. I was never the biggest and still far from it but he saw something in me that I didn’t so he had the biggest influence on my career. Just being surrounded by a football family is what has guided me.

QSN: Tell us about your football playing history?

SC: My history is full of ups and downs. Starting back to eight years old being part of Reading’s Academy in England.

We then moved to New Zealand and I joined Hawkes Bay United Academy where I progressed to the youth team. In the winter season I played for a club called Maycenvale. This club brought many great memories for me. This was a men’s league and I was still only around 165 centimetres as a fifteen year old. We didn’t win the league but we won the league cup. At sixteen years, I took part in Maycenvale’s under 19 national competition. We won the final on penalties.

Moving to Brisbane at 2012 I firstly had trials with Brisbane Roar’s first team. They saw good talent but I wasn’t ready just yet. I then joined Redlands youth team for two seasons in a row. The third season I was confident of making reserves but unfortunately in the first competitive game of the season I tore a tendon that required surgery. I didn’t play again that year.

I came back in 2015 and played a good season with the reserves but in 2016, I felt I was ready for first team football. Since I am a visa player and with the restrictions in the NPL, I moved to Capalaba and I haven’t looked back.

QSN: What opportunities has football given you?

SC: Football has given me opportunities to meet new people, experience winning and to train with the best.

QSN: How are you enjoying playing at Capalaba?

SC: Capalaba is full of great people, similar to Redlands. We play great football as a club. Not just the first team but every team. The players I play with are all very close which enables us to play cohesively. I’m grateful to be a part of Capalaba moving forward.

QSN: What are your greatest individual and team moments?

SC: My greatest team moment was winning the under 19 national satellite competition in New Zealand. My best individual moment was the match winning save in the shootout in the final.

QSN: What are your longer terms aspirations?

SC: To be the best I can be. I just want to continue working hard and getting better every week. A professional contract would be nice but I’m already happy with how far I have come in my football life. If I only end up playing NPL throughout my career I’ll be happy.

QSN: How does Capalaba coach Geoff Hurford compare to your previous coaches?

SC: Geoff is laid back most of the time but he is from the old school. He knows how to push a team In the right direction. I’ve had coaches in the past, some tough, some more relaxed. Nothing phases me though. I put up with whatever the coach says in whatever manner he says it in. Either way he’s trying to help you.

QSN: Who is the best player you have played with or against in your career?

SC: When I was at Redlands United, I used to train with the first team. We played small sided games and the amount of times Nico Bechar put me on my bum was incredible. Graham Fyfe chipped my a few times from halfway which I learned from and hated him for it. I still get annoyed at Capalaba training if someone tries to chip me. I literally try to kill them during the session.

In our under 19 tournament victory, my brother Adam paired centre back with a guy names Tui Kennedy. Tui was the tackler, Adam was the sweeper and the passer. If Adam wasn’t sweeping, Tui ws the soldier making the last ditch challenge. That pairing was unbreakable. I felt so assured with those two in front of me. It helped my game.

QSN: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

SC: In the last few years I have developed a pattern leading up to the game. I don’t know how I do it but every game I play I ask myself why I play football. Why I’m here, what got me here, how far I’ve come. This usually gets me going. This fuels a competitive drive on game day that I’m sure you can ask some of my team mates.

They recognise this immediately. I’m as quiet as anything on the training field. However, when game day arrives I want to win. If we don’t win, I want to look back knowing I have given 100%.

It’s the same with my job, I want to give everything. Outside these two I am quiet as anything. No superstitions. Just rituals that nobody believes in but me.

QSN: What are you and your team looking to achieve this season?

SC: Personally I just want to know that I have played every game as if it were my last. That way I have no regrets for the rest of the year. A personal trophy would ne nice. Getting a couple more clean sheets before the season is out would be nice too. As a team we know what we want to achieve and where we want to be at the end of the season.

Top four is a priority for anyone. Any higher would be amazing for the club.

QSN: What do you do with yourself away from the football pitch?

SC: I am a personal trainer at Cleveland Goodlife. So I’m normally quite busy during the week, especially early mornings. I read a lot of books just to relax my mind too.

QSN: If you weren’t a footballer, what other sport would you play?

SC: Basketball. Michael Jordan was one of my inspirations. I try to be like him. I thought I was good back in the day, I don’t think others thought the same about my abilities.

QSN: Time for 5 rapid fire questions! Your favourite drink, music, food, football idol and which football club do you support?

SC: Water, Any music, Pineapple, Carlo Cudicini and Chelsea

Thanks very much for joining us Sam and we wish you well not only with your time at Capalaba but also in the many years ahead.

Big test for the Bulldogs this weekend as they look to bounce back from a last round loss. Standing in their way of climbing further up the table will be a very keen Holland Park Hawks, looking to replace Capalaba in the top four. Kickoff is 7pm at John Fredericks Park, Capalaba.

Sam Chandler

Nationality – New Zealand

Age – 20

Nickname – Chands or Sammy

Height –5’11”

Preferred Position – keeper or sweeper

Career Highlights – The whole process