Luca Doorbar-Baptist is one of Australia's brightest young football players. Following a spell back in Australia to recover from injury, he will return to Nottingham Forest later this month, progressing from the Under 18 squad to the Under 23s. Like many of Australia's top footballers, Luca's background also includes futsal. He was a representative of NSW in our National Club Futsal Championships and represented our national squad on their overseas tour to Malaysia. Luca generously spoke with AFA, to tell the futsal community more about his journey so far. How does it feel to have earned a professional contract with Nottingham Forest?
It feels amazing to be able to play football as a job. I am so lucky to be in the position I am and I am here thanks to my family and the endless support they have given me. I love football and it is a lifelong dream that I am now living. Despite being the best thing I have ever done playing professionally it is also the hardest. I cant wait to be playing again and get back to work in Nottingham.
Can you tell us about your involvement in Futsal throughout your youth sports career?
I played Futsal from the age of 10 - 17 and was at UTS Northside Futsal Club. I thoroughly enjoyed playing alongside some of my closest mates and at a high level. I was also involved in state and national teams during that time and had very successful events with many exceptional players. It was great fun and I developed a lot.
In 2014 you toured Malaysia with the AFA Under 12 team. Can you tell us more about that experience?
I was playing for NSW in 2014 at National Club Futsal Championships. During the tournament I played with a great team against many other strong sides. At the conclusion of the tournament I was awarded player of the tournament which I was extremely grateful for. AFA then selected a team from the whole tournament combining players from different states and I was lucky enough to be selected. The tour to Malaysia was amazing. I went with my Dad and had the best time with the organisation. I have lifelong mates from that tour who I am still in touch with today often. I loved the tour and it was something I will remember for the rest of my life, not only for the amazing talent but the experience in itself.
How has Futsal helped your development on the soccer field?
Futsal and football are different in many ways however I learnt in each game it enabled me to improve in both. Developing my skills in tight areas in futsal allowed me to improve that aspect on the big pitch. My 1 v 1 skills both attacking and defending improved out of sight as the process is very similar. This allowed aspects of my futsal game to transfer into football and develop me further in those areas.
What was it like juggling both Futsal and Soccer at points?
Balancing Futsal and Football at times was challenging due to seasons overlapping. However despite this I was motivated to do both as often as I could. There was planning involved and thanks to the endless logistical help from my family I was able to juggle both for 7 years.
What advice would you give to a 12 year old kid who loves playing Futsal and Soccer?
If I could speak to myself when I was 12 years old I would have told myself many things. One of the biggest points I would bring up is the fact that the industry that is my dream and that I am now working in is tough. Its incredibly difficult painful and hard. However it is the best job in the world and I feel extremely privileged to be in the position I am. It is quite simple whatever you put in is what you will get out. For years I worked endlessly and for so long nothing came of it. Now I am so grateful for all the hours I put in and all the work I did.