Mum's the word
Diane Purdue is the mother of Nicholas Purdue. She has seen her son
grow into a dedicated and successful footballer who is now seeking
to make a professional career for himself in Europe. Diane kindly
agreed to answer a few questions about what it was all like.
Thank you Diane.
- What, if any, is your family's footballing background?
- I only came into contact with football when I met my husband
(I am divorced and Nicholas' father was a Rugby Union player). I did not
know anything about soccer.
- What is Nicholas' birthdate?
- 24.12.78 (Capricorn).
- When and how did Nicholas first become interested in football? Was the
sport introduced to him or did he 'find' it himself?
- Nick first became interested in football when he started school.
All his friends signed for our local club team and of course he wanted to
be part of this fun. He was also encouraged by his stepfather.
- Was his interest encouraged, discouraged or allowed to develop
- His interest in football was certainly encouraged by the family
as it opened up a world of new friends, exercise and he absolutely loved
- Does Nicholas have any siblings?
- Nick has two siblings - one sister aged 22 (presently living
in New York and doing an acting course) and one brother aged 20
(presently doing a TAFE course).
- Do any play football or other sports as well?
- Both his brother and sister played football. His brother also plays
basketball and his sister played netball.
- Was there any competition between them for success and/or
attention from the family?
- There was no competition amongst themselves as we made
sure that there was always one of us at a game or at
training for each of them.
- How do they feel about Nicholas' success so far?
- They both are extremely proud of his achievements as
they know how much hard work Nick put in to his career.
- When did you first notice that Nicholas' talent was greater than average
among his peers? How did that change, if at all, your feelings and hopes
for his future?
- Nick's stepdad is a soccer coach (Level 2) and whilst he
never coached Nick he was always at games and thought
that he had a natural talent. At age 11 he was selected
to represent Sutherland Shire in Representative Football
and from there he went on to Youth League. He was approached
by other Youth League Clubs to play for them and also was
selected in the Under 13, 14 and 15 N.S.W. State Teams.
This selection process was a lengthy one commencing with some
200 kids and final selection consisted of 16.
At this stage, all we did was foster his interest in the
- What was Nicholas' first representative selection? How did he perform?
Did his family attend the game? Did you attend his other games regularly?
- Under 11 Representative Team - Sutherland Shire.
Played very well and was given the President's Award at
the end of the year.
All the family attended his games (as we did with the
other two children). We always attended the children's
sporting games - be it soccer, basketball or netball.
- Was his schooling ever neglected in favour of his football career, was
this done against the parents wishes?
- I guess we were very fortunate that Nick always did
very well at school and seemed to be able to combine
his sport with his studies.
In Year 12 when he got a letter to trial for Roda J.C.
he decided to leave and this caused great concern for me.
He felt that he only had a limited amount of time to make
it in football but had his whole life to resume his studies.
What could I say!!!
- What is Nicholas' preferred playing position, has he played elsewhere
in the past? If so why did he change position?
- Nick is a defender. He always played striker (highest goal
scorer in Youth League in Under 14's) and sometimes midfield
but when he was selected in the Joeys, Les Scheinflug had him
as a defender and he has remained in this position.
- Do you feel that Nicholas' sporting ambitions hindered or aided his
- I personally feel that Nick's involvement in sport was a
definite plus in his social development. He made lots of
friends, experienced travel and different cultures and
always had lots of fun wherever he went.
- How did Nicholas come to be selected to the Australian Youth Team?
Did this development in his career come as a surprise to him, to others?
How did he get along with his teammates?
- Nick was identified as an Elite athlete at 14 after the
N.S.W. State Team played at the National Championships.
He was informed that he should attend the N.S.W. Academy
at Parklea where he would be 'watched' for inclusion in
the Australian U/17 Joeys team. Nick's ambition since the
age of 10 was to be included in the Joeys. He worked very
hard with his training and skill development. He got along
very well with his team mates as most of them were the N.S.W.
State Team that had been together for almost three years and
were already close friends.
- How did the South American tour influence Nicholas?
- South America had a huge influence on Nick. It opened his
eyes to the world of professional football and it made him
even more determined to be a professional footballer.
It also opened his eyes to South American women!!!
- At what stage did Nicholas acquire the services of an agent? Did the
agent approach him, did you think it was a good idea to get one, did
- Nick has had an agent since August, 1996. The agent was
recommended by a friend of ours who pointed out that if he
was to go overseas, it was best to have an agent to help
with all the finer details.
- Was the decision for Nicholas to trial overseas an easy one to make and
how did the oppertunity arise?
- The decision to let Nick go overseas was a relatively easy
one as this was what he had been planning to do for a very
long time. He had also been in England in January, 1996 and
had trials with Bolton Wanderers who were most interested in
him but the difficulty with visas (we have no British background
and he could not get a British passport) made it virtually
impossible for him to pursue this avenue. He then decided
it would have to be Europe.
The opportunity arose when Nick wrote to about 10 overseas
clubs including a resume, career background and references
from his State Coach and Youth League coach. Roda J.C.
replied but warned him that the standard was very high and
unless he was 'talented' that it would not be worthwhile.
- How did this trial affect the family as a whole? Is Nicholas coping well
with his time overseas so far? Has he made new friends?
- As his Mum, Nick's departure from home left a big hole.
I miss him very much - but as my daughter had already left
some 12 months before for New York, I was kind of used to
the dramas in the departure lounge. Nick has also travelled
a lot (we used to live in the Philippines and his Dad is still
there so there have been on many overseas trips since he was about
six). He also toured Japan playing soccer with the U/15 State
Team and went to England and Canada playing indoor soccer for
Australia. His stepdad misses watching him play the games.
I now have a lot of food left in the house!!!!
So far he is coping really well with living away from home.
He is now speaking Dutch and has made a lot of friends. The
other players have been extremely good to him and made him
feel very welcome.
- Why was Nicholas loaned out to another club, what was Nicholas' reaction?
- I cannot comment as this has to do with contractual
arrangements between different Federations.
- Has he made first team appearances? How well is he playing? Does he
have any contact with Soccer Australia officials or coaches?
- Nick is three times a week with the First Team at Roda J.C. The
rest of the week is spent travelling to Genk (Belgium) and
training and playing with the Second Team. He has had friendly
games in Germany and Belgium with the First Team for Roda.
Nick feels that he is playing well and I guess the fact that
they signed him on an 18 month contract and paid Parramatta
Eagles xxxxxxx amount of dollars for him indicates that they
are pleased with him also. He feels that his football has
improved 200% since he has been in Europe.
I don't think he has any contact with Soccer Australia although
I am sure that they know he is there.
- Did Nicholas ever consider a career in the Australian NSL as an option,
was it pursued? Did he play for any NSL youth/reserve sides before leaving
- Nick played in the NSL Youth from the age of 14. First
with the N.S.W. Academy of Sport and then with St George U/18.
He was then asked to go to Parramatta Eagles but only played
three or four games with the Youth Team when he was brought
into the First Grade Team playing in every match including
the Final (against Adamstown) which they won. He also played
in Waratah Cup games up until his departure for the Netherlands.
Nick decided that he really wanted to go overseas at a
young age rather than stay here and hopefully make a name
for himself in NSL.
- What are Nicholas' current ambitions? Does he have any role-models
he wishes to emulate?
- I guess one of Nick's role models was Craig Johnston. He
read and reread his book "Never Walk Alone" from the age
of about 12. He also admire greatly Ruud Gullit and has
followed his career closely. I guess his current ambition is to
make First Grade in Europe as quickly as he can and continue
learning and improving.
- Does Nicholas have any fall-back plans in the unfortunate event of
a career ending injury?
- Nick is undertaking correspondence study in Business and
Finance with the Securities Institute in Australia. This
will give him a degree when he finishes and allow him to
be involved with the money market (Stock Exchange, etc.)
He was always keen to do law so I guess that wouldn't be
out of the question either.
- Is there anything you wish to add?
- As Nick's mum I can only say that I am incredibly proud
of his achievements because I saw the sacrifices that he
chose to make - early nights before a game, training three
or four night a week, hours of personal training down at
the local oval. I don't know whether he is the most skilful
player, but I know that he is determined. His stepdad also
feels that he has exactly the right attitude to make a
footballer and that his vision and 'football brain' will
get him through.
His agent has told me that the report on Nick's performance
by Roda J.C. and Genk have been great.
Let me finally say that Nick absolutely loves what he is
doing and I think that that is half the battle. He told me
that he was training with the First Team at Roda and he realised
that he was smiling simply because he couldn't believe that he
was there and it had finally happened.
I miss him though.