Grimaldi growing in confidence

Matthew Grimaldi with captain Josh Risdon (Western United)

Harper Sercombe

It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for Western United young winger Matthew Grimaldi, who for the first time started as a professional soccer player earlier this month.

The 20-year-old joined United from Melbourne City at the beginning of the National Premier League 2 season and was soon given opportunities to train with the A-League side.

After dominating the NPL season, scoring five goals and providing nine assists from midfield in 26 matches, he was awarded his first professional contract. signing with United on a two-year scholarship contract.

“It’s gone so quickly, it only feels like yesterday that I was playing in the NPL with the ‘23s,” he said.

“We had such an amazing year and just fell short of promotion, but I feel like that season really kick started the confidence and new way I’ve been playing.

“At City it didn’t work out but I got to come over to the west and have a new opportunity and it’s all kind of working out now.

“Coming to United with a new team and new coaches, it was a sense of falling in love with the game again, like I was a kid again. There was just something about Diogo (Ferreira, NPL coach and assistant men’s coach) and Dura (Andrew Durante, academy coach) and my new team and the way we played with expression. We are able to express ourselves on the pitch, and I think that was really evident in how we went last year.”

Since being with United he has gone from strength to strength, with his career hitting its highest peak to date when he started in last Friday’s clash against Macarthur, assisting a goal just three minutes into the clash.

He said it was an amazing feeling to step onto the pitch.

“It was an amazing feeling,” he said.

“It’s something that I’ve been working towards, everything has happened so quickly from being in the youth team last season to the first team now and to get an assist was a really good feeling.

“It’s been a dream of mine to play professional football and now that it’s all coming together and I’m living that now I just want to take it to new heights, and try to start in more games and build off that and build more confidence.

“At the start of the year I set all these goals that have already happened, like making my debut, scoring a goal, getting an assist and making my starting debut.

“Now I think it’s about just pushing new ones.

“I want to start in even more games, score more goals. But I definitely want to play finals for Western United. With our recent form we definitely want to turn that around and make the top six. That’s one thing that’s definitely on my mind right now, I want to help the team and push up the ladder and make finals.”

Despite having the weekend off, there is no slowing down for United or Grimaldi as they hope to turn their season around. United’s match with Adelaide United has been rescheduled.

“We’ve got a bit of a bigger week of training and then an intra-club match on Saturday, and then we will rest and recover on Sunday,” Grimaldi said before the weekend.

“We don’t want to slow down too much because we have a game next week against the Wanderers in Tasmania which should be a big test. We’re looking to get the result there and try to get some points on the board again.”