Name: Aisen Ishak
Position: Left-back or centre-back
Joined Victory: 2019
Youth teams: Moreland Zebras, Melbourne City, Pascoe Vale
Aisen Ishak was stunned to discover Melbourne Victory’s scouts had been watching him as a 17-year-old at Pascoe Vale.
The defender was making a name for himself in Vale’s first team before Victory’s coaching staff approached the youngster.
“There were a few scouts from Victory watching our games, but I didn’t realise they were watching me,” Ishak said.
“I was shocked and happy to receive the call. I trialled for over a month and was then invited to join the NYL squad.”
Ishak inherited his passion for football through his dad, who arrived in Australia as a refugee over 20 years ago.
“When he first moved to Australia from Iraq he played as a goalkeeper, so I used to see all his photos and trophies,” Ishak said.
“He has scarified a lot by taking me to trials, training sessions and matches – the small things that people don’t see behind the scenes.”
Ishak hopes to soon represent Iraq at youth level, a dream which has been hampered by the current restrictions.
“I was called up to Iraq’s Under-21s in January for a camp in Qatar,” he said
“The Under-23s have also invited me to attend a training camp in Turkey, but COVID has stopped me from attending.”
The 19-year-old has played every game in Victory’s stop-start NPL 3 Victoria season so far, where he continues to harness his defensive abilities.
“At the start, I didn’t expect to be playing every game, but my confidence has grown each week,” he said.
“I joined Victory as a full-back and I’ve also played at centre-back.
"Playing NPL has helped me mature and understand both positions.”
Ishak was named as a substitute for Victory’s home match against Macarthur FC towards the end of last season, another proud moment for the youngster and his family.
“I was speechless when I made the squad,” he said.
“I called my dad straight away and he was just as happy as me. I’ve been watching Victory for years, so to be alongside players that I have looked up to is surreal.”
Ishak is yet to make his A-League debut for Victory but continues to train alongside the first team on Gosch’s Paddock in preparation for 2021/22.
“We're putting in the hard work in pre-season, but we know we’re doing everything for a reason and we believe in that process."