At 17 years and 314 days, Sam Klein became Brisbane Roar’s eighth youngest debutant in A-League Men history when he ran onto the pitch at Moreton Daily Stadium last Sunday.
The midfielder entered the Matchweek 11 meeting with Adelaide United as an 87th-minute substitute, continuing a rapid rise for another highly talented BRFC Academy product.
“We had a couple of boys come down with injuries and COVID, so I found out the morning of the game which was super exciting,” Klein said.
“I’d only been on the bench against Sydney in the FFA Cup the week before. To find out I was on the bench for an A-League game, I was buzzing.
“I was obviously very nervous when I got told I was going on after the third goal. Went from being on a low – we were losing, it was frustrating – but then it was very exciting for me being told I was going on. I was up for it, I was excited.
“I got a couple of touches in early which built my confidence. Even just the few minutes I was on the field, you could tell the speed and intensity was top notch.”
Born in Brisbane and raised in Gympie, with a few years spent living in England in between, Klein has been around representative sides and high-performance football from a young age.
His progress accelerated last year when he was promoted from the Academy’s U23s team into the Brisbane Roar Youth squad, which competes at senior NPL level.
A call up to train with Warren Moon’s first team followed late last year, and Klein hasn’t looked back.
“It was unbelievably exciting when I first got pushed up into first team training,” he said.
“Even though COVID has been a bit of a curse for the team, it’s kind of been a blessing for me. I didn’t expect to get minutes this early on but I was delighted.
“Just the level up from 23s to Youth was a big step. In that team we’ve had a few boys who have made their A-League debuts. These boys were already at a pretty high level – the standard really went up.
“That jump from 23s to Youth sort of prepared for me for the jump from Youth to first team, where the training levels are something like I’ve never really been part of.
“I didn’t really expect to be in this position at this point in time and I know I’ve got my opportunity through COVID, but hopefully I can push on and get a few more appearances.”
Isuzu UTE A-League
Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, 29 January 2022
Moreton Daily Stadium
KO: 6:45pm (QLD)
CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS
Feature image: Nino Lo Giudice