Growing up in Wagga Wagga, a small country town, Adam Stevens has moved to Canberra, the city stage, to pursue his dream to play professional football.
Stevens originally grew up in Wagga Wagga before moving to Junee, a town about 30 mins out of Wagga here he lived for 13 years. Stevens moved back to Wagga to play football and to attend high school.
While living in Wagga, Stevens played for the Wagga City Wanderers and made 64 competitive appearances for the club from u16 to u23. While at the Wanderers, Stevens won the 2022 u23 Capital Premier League (CPL) Grand Final and was man of the match with his goalkeeping skills.
Wagga City Wanderers are a football club that strives for a community who can be challenged to fulfill their full potential while maintaining a safe and friendly environment for its members and supporters.
Stevens moved to Canberra at the end of 2022 to play for Tuggeranong United Football Club (TUFC). Since moving to Canberra, Stevens has made 9 appearances for the TUFC First Grade NPL side.
“Canberra is closer to more opportunities. I used to travel from Wagga to Canberra two and half hours every weekend to play football,” Stevens stated.
TUFC is one of the Capital Territory’s largest sporting clubs. Tuggeranong provides the opportunity for anyone, regardless of age, gender, or skill level, to play football. TUFC’s vision is to be the club of choice for all aspiring footballers living in the Tuggeranong Valley.
TUFC has over 800 football players of all ages, with several teams competing in the National Premier League (NPL), State League and Junior League.
Growing up, Stevens wasn’t into sports until his mother got him to join his brother, Luke Stevens in the backyard.
“…as I got a bit older my brother didn’t have anyone to play with in the backyard. I was an introverted kid, and my mum would send me outside to play football with Luke,” Stevens said.
While growing up and playing in the backyard with his brother, Stevens was always put in goal which led to his love of goalkeeping.
“Originally, I wanted to be a striker, but once I got taller, I became less coordinated, so I stuck to goalkeeping,” Stevens revealed. “Once I reached high school, I stuck with it and I’ve gotten better ever since.”
Playing alongside your brother has its ups and downs, it allows the brothers to find their own sense of self while playing at the same football club.
“I do enjoy playing with Luke. Don’t get me wrong, we do have our differences here and there,” Stevens said. “Realistically, it’s moments like that you’ll enjoy the most playing with a younger or older sibling.”
Stevens revealed there have been multiple sets of siblings on the Tuggeranong United NPL side, with the Hislop brothers playing with the Stevens brothers.
“Being from a smaller town and coming up into a higher level is good to see siblings playing together,” Stevens expressed.
Stevens made his debut for Tuggeranong United’s NPL First Grade side on the 30 April against Canberra Olympic. Despite conceding three goals, Stevens displayed immense goalkeeping skills in his debut for the First-Grade side.
After picking up an injury in round 13 of the NPL season, Stevens has been working on his fitness and overall strength while not at training to keep his fitness up during the season for a potential return.
Stevens has passions to pursue his football career overseas in the near future. Once fit and stable, Stevens chances of playing in A-League is very high and his goal for the future.
With the A-League implementing new clubs soon, it can create more of a chance for young and upcoming footballers to make their professional career dreams a reality.
“I want to take my football career overseas or in Australia,” Stevens revealed. “At the moment it’s the potential of playing professional football in the A-League or any other league. In my opinion, any football is good football.”
“Playing in the NPL can be difficult at times but I think in the long run my main intention is professional football,” Adam said. “If I keep on working hard and keep on enjoying what I do, it’s very much possible for me to play professionally in the future.”
Stevens has shown that young footballers from small country towns can make it on the big stage by following their dreams and pursuing city stages to grow their career.
Words: Shania McCormack