Joe Di Iorio

Bundesliga action took a break in Germany this weekend, as Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen fought out the German Cup Final.

Bundesliga action took a break in Germany this weekend, as Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen fought out the German Cup Final.

Taking an avid interest in the Cup was Bremen youngster, and one of the stars of the LG Joeys performance at the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in New Zealand last year, Joe Di Iorio.

The 18 year old has been with the Club for almost two years, and has gradually worked his way through the ranks of the Under-18s to the Reserves, with his sights set firmly on a berth in the first team squad.

While that may be a little while away yet, Di Iorio is busy planning his future, with thoughts of his own appearance in a future Cup final well and truly in mind.

“Unfortunately, I didn-t have the chance to get to Berlin to watch the Final live, but as a player with the club, it was almost as intense watching it on TV,” said the former LG Joey, 24 hours after Werder Bremen-s 3-0 defeat.

“Obviously it was a very disappointing result from my point of view, nobody likes to lose, especially not a Final, and this is almost twice in a year for me, but on the other hand, at least we were there.

“The atmosphere around the Club in the build-up was electric, everyone was very excited, the senior team left for Berlin almost a week before the Cup, very confident that we could take it out two years in a row, but Bayern was always going to be a tough challenge.

“In the end the result didn-t go our way, but even so, right through the game you-re sitting there watching it, and thinking that could be me, that-s what I-m aiming for, that-s my goal.”

The youngster, who recently toured Australia with the Werder Bremen Under-18s before being called back for the Reserves side, has had little difficulty settling into Germany, despite a move at 17 to a totally foreign country.

“When I first got here, I thought to myself, how was I going to learn this language, it was basically the first time I-d heard German.

“It took me about a year to pick it up, though I was helped through last season by a Nigerian team-mate who spoke both English and German so he was translating everything for me.

“This year I can understand almost everything though, I-m pretty fluent, which makes it three languages for me, which is pretty useful in Europe.

“As one of the foreigners, I actually live in the Stadium, on the fifth floor, so I haven-t got any excuses for getting to training late, and I hope to be moving into one of the “reserve” rooms in July, they-re for the reserve grade players and come with their own kitchens, which means I-ll be calling my mother for a little help.”

Right now, it may be a matter of going through the ranks with his Club side, but the last 12 months have been big ones for Di Iorio.

In July he was part of the Werder Bremen Under-18 side which took out the German Cup, and in November, he was part of the LG Joeys squad which created Australian soccer history by taking the silver medal at the FIFA Under-17 World Championship.

Both events have made their mark on the young Victorian, and both have given him the impetus to continue his push forward.

“Winning the German Cup last season in July against Stuttgart definitely stands out as one of my best experiences so far. We won 4-1, I scored one, got a penalty, and set up the fourth goal, so yes, it would have to be right up there.”

“But the Under-17s Final is also something that-s always on my mind, you think about New Zealand and the lead-up games, you think about the Final against Brazil, you think about the chance that you had, and what if.

“We had a really good team, and hopefully we can go through the ranks together, accumulating the experiences of those who play in Europe, and those who play in Australia, it can only be good for Australian soccer.

Di Iorio is aware that many of his Under-17 team-mates are currently trialling, and securing Clubs within Europe, and his words of advice are simple.

“You need to set a goal, and you need to stick to it, to never lose sight of it. I always wanted to make it as a professional footballer and play overseas, and hopefully I-m on my way to doing just that.”