Matlock Town Academy defender Stephen Travaglione believes that standing on his own two feet has been the hardest challenge since moving to England.
Travaglione moved to England from his native home of Australia in the pursuit of breaking in to English football.
The 18-year-old is currently in his second year at Matlock Town’s Academy.
He said: “My biggest challenge has been living by myself. Obviously, I’ve had to learn to be independent. When I first moved I was staying in a homestay in Sheffield, so I had to be careful with money. Traveling to Matlock as well meant I had to learn to be organised.”
At the age of 16, Travaglione had already begun to play senior football. At this point he decided he needed to try and challenge himself, and England offered the perfect opportunity.
“I started playing at the age of 14. At 16 I started playing senior football, and from then my Dad said that if I’m good enough to play senior football here, I should play in a country where football is their first sport,” he said.
Travaglione, who has relatives who live in Chesterfield, said: “I was visiting family who live in Chesterfield, and they were like, ‘why not try Matlock’. It was reassuring as I have family nearby.”
And having moved to a new country, he feels that the support he has received from the club has been crucial to his development.
He said: “I’ve had a lot of support from the club. Jamie and the coaches are fantastic. They’ve pretty much been a second family to me.”
That support extends to the dressing room. Having originally moved to Sheffield, Travaglione now lives with team mate Billy Whitehead in Chesterfield.
Whitehead said: “He gets on well with my family. He helps around the house, and they keep saying they prefer him to me!”
Manager Jamie Yates was full of praise for Travaglione. He said: “He’s adapted really well. His mental strength stands out within our group and he sets examples every day to everyone else.”
Despite being a standout player for the academy, Travaglione has yet to make an appearance for the first team.
Yates said: “If he works harder than he already is, if that’s even possibly then who knows. He’s certainly got a future in the game, whether it’s here or anywhere else.”