Younis’ meteoric rise

From not being in the first grade NPL NSW side last year, to signing a scholarship contract with his hometown club, Marcus Younis’ rise looks meteoric.

But take a step back, and you’ll realise his journey to the first team involved hard work, dedication and mental strength to get through some difficult periods.

After joining the club’s youth system at the age of 12, Younis had to work through almost three years of injury problems.

“(The) first couple of years went smooth, and then I had some really bad injuries, around two and a half years of just sitting out. Knee injuries and snapped collarbones,” Younis said.

“So to get to where I am today has taken a lot of grit and hard work, from myself as an individual and from my family.”

NPL NSW Men’s First Grade, Round 20, Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Wollongong Wolves FC at Wanderers Football Park on Saturday 17 June 07:00 PM

He is grateful for the support shown both from his family, as well as by the coaching staff at the club in the youth system.

“[I] wouldn’t be here today, if it wasn’t for the support of my extended family, my parents and really the club itself. Whoever’s gone in and out of the club, whoever’s had the power in and out of the club have always had that belief in me, and have always had that trust in me.

“I feel like in the past year and a half, it’s just escalated really quickly, so I’m really thankful for the staff here and the coaches for giving that trust and giving me an opportunity to express myself and make my mark.”

Whilst Younis has an abundance of talent, he has also worked hard on the mental side of his game, which he feels is a significant aspect of achieving the most as a player.

“I’ve come to the realisation of how important the mental side of football is, it’s 70% of the game. you can be on top of the world one week, and then you can be dropped the next week. It’s very important that you don’t ride the high’s too high and you don’t ride the lows too low.

“There’s a lot of things you can do. You can read books on football psychology, you can do some journaling – I do those two a lot – and those have helped me with my confidence, my self belief, my self image, what I want to achieve and how I’m going to achieve it.

He feels that with the right mental mindset, going through rough times and setbacks as a footballer can actually make you stronger.

“I feel like those setbacks – and there have been a lot of setbacks in the last year and a half – can make you stronger depending on how you are resilient towards them. And the coaches do see how you react when things aren’t going well.”

At the end of last year, he showed enough to begin training with the first team, and made his debut off the bench against Melbourne City at CommBank Stadium.

“With a couple of injuries, I got a big opportunity to play against Melbourne City to make my debut in front of the home fans. That was a very, very special moment for my family and myself.”

He also represented his country at youth level, playing for the Australia Under 18s side at a youth tournament in Portugal, where he scored a goal against England.

The tournament taught himself about playing against high quality opponents and how he can develop as a player.

“International football really is just another ballgame. The players are so fast, they’re all so fit, all so strong, they think very quickly, they shut space down so quickly. So for me to be given an opportunity to play these three games, I learned so much, really, I’ve come back and I feel like I’m a new player.

“There’s a lot of things I realise now, and there’s a lot of things that I need to work on. And I’ve discovered some strengths I have going over there and some weaknesses I have.”