Alex Young: Kicking into Gear

Breaking into the spotlight of any industry is a daunting goal for most of us, and for aspiring footballers, making a name for yourself is harder than ever. Alex Young is in a strange dilemma though. The young up-and-comer is all too familiar with rising the ranks of football stardom as he’s seen it through his father and former professional footballer Matthew Young. Alex has had a few claims to fame and more than enough close calls to know that he has what it takes to make it in the big leagues.

 

Alex’s father, Matthew Young, was drafted to St Kilda in 1996 after some time playing for Hawthorn and played for the Saints until 2001, where he departed from the club. Alex says his father is a role model and is learning from his father’s experiences to build his own career. “When I was about 15, I was playing football to be like my dad,” Alex says, “but when I turned 18, I really focused on getting my own career rather than just being the son of an ex-pro.”

 

“It’s a good learning tool (having an ex-AFL player for a dad), just to understand what it’s like and how you get to the level,” Young said in an interview with www.afl.com.au.

 

 

Alex Profile

Alex Young

 

Alex got into footy as soon as he could, picking up a ball when he was just four years old. “I started playing Auskick, my father got me to just start kicking a football around the house,” says Young. “I played Auskick for three years until I was seven, then went to under 9s all the way through to under 17s footy”.

 

Everything was going as planned for the young footballer and in 2015, Alex had the opportunity to compete in the under 18s Victorian Carnival. The carnival stars high-level state teams around Australia competing against each other over a three-day period. “We ended up playing South Australia, ACT and Western Australia,” says Alex. “We ended up winning the carnival against WA”. Alex had reached phenomenal heights for any aspiring footballer, all by the age of 15.

 

Alex’s success would climb higher before running into terrible circumstances out of his control. Alex joined the TAC Cup (now known as the NAB League) with the Dandenong Stingrays. The TAC Cup saw 12 teams from different regions compete over the course of 18 rounds, with the competition being a source for AFL recruitment. Unfortunately, Alex ended up breaking his finger, with his injury forcing him to take time away from footy without any training and even leading him to not make the all-state squad for the coming year, which took a huge toll on his mentality for the game. “I was the only kid from that All-Australian team not to make it to the state squad the next year, which was pretty devastating, especially when I was the only one who didn’t make the team”.

 

From then on, Alex was playing catch up. “All the other blokes were putting in extra work behind sessions, looking after themselves and putting 100% of their effort in and I was probably putting 75% in, which is something I regret,” says Alex.

 

Alex’s mother passed away in 2017, which had a huge impact on Alex’s motivation for football.  “I ended up missing a few weeks of football playing and training, which obviously impacted me trying to get on the pitch” says Alex. In an interview published on the AFL’s website in 2017, Alex mentions that “It’d be an honour (to make the AFL), especially with mum passing away. I want to make her proud – and my dad, too. It would mean the world to me.”

 

Alex entered his draft year in 2018 and was preparing for the upcoming season when he was told he had to get fitter to have a chance at competing. “I just never properly went out and did it, I just relied on 3 sessions a week and not putting in extra work aside from football. Which is why I’m still behind the other blokes at the moment.”

 

Alex ended up departing from The Stingrays midway through the year after moving house to a separate region, which meant joining a new team. It was here that he joined Gippsland Power, but all this time away from footy had an effect on Alex. “I had to move teams and when I finally did… I played a couple of games and just found it hard to break in,” says Alex. “By the end of the year I knew that nothing was going to come of this, so I ended up not going to training, I ended up becoming overweight and my dream of playing TAC was done.”

 

Alex’s dreams of making it big in the AFL had taken a big hit, but in 2019, Alex resumed his goal of becoming an all-star player. Alex began his senior footy career in The Basin where he was lucky enough to get the opportunity through his partner’s father, who coaches the Senior Men’s division of The Basin Football and Netball Club. “He could see that I had talent, but talent can only get you so far,” says Alex. “Without working hard, it can’t get you to the next stage.”

 

Alex currently plays as a Small Forward and is working towards playing up-field, he says his relationship with his coach is just as professional as any other but has the opportunity for extra guidance outside of training. “If you perform you play and if you don’t perform you don’t play,” says Alex. “I get more time to talk about the game outside of sessions, which is a plus.”

 

Since his acceptance into the club, Alex has been doing everything he can to get back on the field in the best condition, and it’s paying dividends for him. “This year I’ve come back in good nick, I’m doing all of the extra sessions and doing strength and conditioning. I’m putting in all the little steps.”

 

Alex is currently focusing on bettering himself and continuing to get back into the swing of things. “Towards the end of last year, I realised I wasn’t getting the most out of myself,” says Alex, “now I’m motivated to find out what my potential can be.”

 

Alex’s long-term goal is to get on a VFL list and work towards getting on a VFL team. Consistency is key for Young, and he thinks that there is no better time than the present.

 

Alex looks back fondly at his career leading up to his home in The Basin. Many of his current friendships were made during his junior years, and Alex is particularly proud of the achievements he shares with his friends. “There are just some bonds you don’t get rid of,” says Alex.

 

Footy takes up a huge part of Alex’s life, but it’s not his only responsibility. “I’m a tradie so it’s hard to do things outside of work, especially when it’s footy season,” says Alex. “I never go out partying or drinking.”

 

2020 is looking to be a year of personal improvement. Training has been a struggle in the past, but Alex is more motivated than ever to prove that he belongs on the field.  “I’ve realised that people always want me to see the best out of myself, but I haven’t really put in the effort until recently.”

 

Alex doesn’t owe all his success to himself. Alex’s grandmother, Jan, has played a huge supporting role for Alex as she takes him to and from training and matches. “Grandma has been a real big help; she lives in Vermont but takes me to Gippy for training, takes me all the way there and back,” says Alex.

 

Coming from a footy background doesn’t always guarantee success, and Alex knows all too well that there is no substitute for hard work. If you’ve ever thought about chasing a dream or trying to reach that professional status, the best course of action is to put 110 percent into everything you do to reach that goal.

 

“The system in the AFL is that you’re never too young or too old to be playing it, but you’ll never make it if you don’t put in all the extra hard work.”

 

 

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Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

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