The Australian leg of Nike’s Most Wanted returned to Melbourne this week, welcoming 64 talented young footballers from across the country to complete for the chance to represent Australia at the Global Showcase in the UK and a spot at the Nike Academy.

Under the watchful eye of Head Scout and former Socceroo, Craig Moore and an expansive group of coaches, players trained on Melbourne’s AAMI Park demonstrating their skill, fitness, endurance and decision making.

“It’s an opportunity for a player that maybe hasn’t broken through,” Moore told TURF.

“We’re looking for a complete player. Somebody that’s a good decision maker, has a good technique and has good physical attributes in terms of fitness.”

A quick photo with the Asian Cup and a rest on the new A-League benches (which, by the way are a HUGE improvement) ushered in the most important test of the day, match simulation.

Four teams of 16 players were established, before tactics were talked and games began. Each player having the opportunity to show their ability and hopefully make it into the final 30 and eventually become Australia’s Most Wanted.

Some great set pieces, defensive runs, silky skills and powerful shots, left a tough decision to be made of who the lucky lad would be. After much deliberation, Moore revealed Emilio Martinez, a 16 year-old from Parramatta, Sydney the winner of the Australian Most Wanted.

Emilio now travels to the Most Wanted Global Showcase at St. Georges Park in London later this year to compete for one of five spots in the Nike Academy and hopefully follow the path of players like Tom Rogic to become a professional footballer.


Photos by Aleksandar Jason. Words by Jacob Arnott.