South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Player Focus – Evan Karavitis

Player Focus – Evan Karavitis

Wednesday, 23 February 2005 8:00 AM

By Michael Tsoukalis

South midfield dynamo Evan Karavitis is a player going places.

Trusted with the central midfield holding role, at just 18 years of age, Evan has displayed an on-field maturity that defies his tender years.

With a clear objective of selection in the National Under-20 2007 World Cup squad, Evan is well on the way to achieving this ambition.

A bit about your career to date?

“I started playing as a 6 year old. After seeing my older brother commence training with Brunswick City, I just had to have a taste. Seeing him train and get involved whet my appetite so I asked my Dad to sign me up as well”

“At Brunswick City I was consistently playing 2-3 years above my age group. When I was advised to move to the Thomastown Devils to play in a team my age, I took the opportunity, believing that if I managed to stand out, I’d push for State team selection.

This belief proved to be correct with State representation following soon afterwards. I represented and captained Victoria at Under 14, 15 and 16 levels, in the National Talent Identification Championships.”

“At 13 and half, I was offered a VIS scholarship under the tutelage of Ernie Merrick – the youngest player to date to be offered a VIS soccer scholarship.

I decided to accept this offer, as I felt that with the Institute’s pure and simple aim being the development of younger players, my chances of going on to greater things would increase.

Seeing players like Kristian Sarkies and Adrian Leijer – players just above my age group – move onto the NSL and do well, gave me the belief that I too could achieve similar things.

The VIS under Merrick, broke away from the traditional National Youth League and focussed on providing higher calibre opposition. For example, Ernie organised consistent friendlies on a Wednesday night against VPL opposition.”

Tell us a bit about your representation for the Joeys.

“Ange Postecoglou gave me a chance with the Under 16’s at the Oceania Pacific Cup. I was only 14 at the time and the experience proved to be invaluable.

Ange had seen me play in the National Championships and felt I was up to the required standard.

We played in the Oceania South Pacific Tournament against the likes of the Solomon Islands and Fiji – Australia won the tournament.

In February 2002, I represented Australia in the qualifiers of the Under 17s World Championship.

Unfortunately, when selection for the actual World Cup arrived, I was overlooked.

I was in a massive form slump and no matter how hard I tried during training I just couldn’t get myself out of it.

Thankfully that experience has proved a positive one, as I went back to the drawing board, slowly worked on my game and have now put myself into a position to once again seek National team selection.”

How have you found yourself making the adjustment to VPL senior football?

“The jump has been a huge learning experience.

Adjusting to the quicker pace and physical nature of the game has been the biggest challenge, in particular, the physical leap has been enormous.

As a junior, I was lucky to have high levels of physical endurance. I never had a problem with the physical aspect of the game, had the most powerful shot, was quick etc.

This has worked against me though, with my transition into senior football, as I’ve found I had to work very hard to get to the required levels.”

Future Ambitions?

“My immediate aim, is to gain selection into the 2007 Under-20 World Cup squad. When I was 14, Sydney FC youngster Jacob Timpano and I were headhunted by Everton.

We were both offered a full expenses paid 3-week trial and were told that we could bring any members of our family to support us.

With the advice of Ange and Ernie, I decided against going, as I was very young and felt that establishing myself locally was the way to go.

After all, the only “true” success story of a youngster going to England at such a young age is Harry Kewell, who is a once-in-a-lifetime player.

I felt the tried and tested model of proving myself at home was the way to go.”

Why South Melbourne?

“To be honest, at the beginning of last year, I was offered a two year AIS scholarship, but I declined in order to finish my VCE in Melbourne.

Late last year, after consulting with Ange, I decided to sign with South Melbourne, as he told me I needed to play senior football as soon as possible. Ange assured me that I was mature, talented and deserving enough to gain national selection, even if I didn’t go to the AIS. Provided I played senior football and performed consistently well.”

“That said, the club is close to my heart.

Like many of the younger players in the squad, I had offers from Green Gully, Fawkner, Bentleigh and the Melbourne Knights.

It’s not just about playing for a club that pays the most, but its more about playing for a club with history, a club that makes you want to play for the shirt.

I have supported the club since I was 5, my dad has supported the Blue and White’s since he was 10 and my grandpa has been a supporter, since he migrated from Greece.

The buzz may well be about the A-League and I’d be lying if I said I never want to secure an A-League contract, but with South going through administration issues last season, the club folding would’ve resulted in a significant change of landscape for the game in this country, and such a loss would’ve been tragic.”

What can the supporters expect from the team and from Evan Karavitis?

“The supporters must be patient. We have a lot of natural talent at the club, but ultimately talent, that is just starting out.

The experienced warheads like Dean Anastasiadis, Vaughn Coveny, Con Blatsis and Kosta Salapasidis need time to take us youngsters under their wing to pass on their experiences and help us improve.

That said, the fans can also expect exciting football times ahead, you know the odd-talent stepping up and producing a quality through ball, but again I stress and beg the fans for patience.”

“Personally, playing in a “somewhat” restricted position, my aim is to do a job for the team, week in week out.

As time goes on, the supporters will begin to see more flair and magic in my play… you know, more quality through balls, extra pace, more organisation, accurate long balls etc.”

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