It has been a long road for FedericiBy Nick Ive
December 16, 2008
It has been a long, rocky journey for Adam Federici, but the keeper finally has the chance to stake a claim for the No. 1 shirt.
The 23-year-old gambled everything when he left his native Australia as a teenager to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
He had trials with Bolton, Wolves, Italian Serie C1 side Sardenga and Leeds before arriving at Reading in January 2005.
Royals saw something in him, but he spent the first year with the club on non-contract terms and could only afford to stay thanks to former team-mate Ibrahima Sonko, who let him stay on his sofa until he earned his first pro contract in the summer of 2006.
His first-team chances have been limited since then due to the form and almost exemplary injury record of Marcus Hahnemann.
But with the American sidelined for several weeks with a calf injury, Federici now has his big chance.
And he is determined to take it.
“Sometimes you do have to pinch yourself,” admitted the keeper. “The one thing I do is appreciate playing. I’m so excited to be playing. I am looking forward to Birmingham this week.
“I appreciate everything that has come my way, especially after what I’ve come through.
“Basically I’m over here to play football, that’s the whole point of me being here. If I wasn’t I’d be sat in the sun in Australia, but instead I’m out there playing in the crappy weather.
“It has been a fantastic ride and shows that hard work gets you everywhere and that’s a great message to put out.”
Hahnemann had started the previous 100 league matches for Royals, but Federici plans to make it tough for his rival when he returns to action.
He added: “It’s a possibility I can stay in the team, but it’s not about me it’s about the team doing well.
“If the gaffer feels we are better if Marcus comes in or I stay in then that’s the way it is I think we’re both prepared for that.”
Despite the competition Federici insisted: “Before the game Marcus just said I was ready and go out and do my stuff and enjoy it. It’s good to have someone like that around.
“I have been really supportive of him so fair play he has of me and that’s fantastic to have that sort of relationship at a football club.
“He was in the dressing room after the Norwich game giving high praise to everyone.
“He said I played well and picked out a few pointers. It is good to have someone to do that.”
Federici more than softened the blow of losing Hahnemann by keeping a clean sheet against Norwich on Saturday despite the treacherous muddy conditions.
“It was a great result, a clean sheet and three points so it was a fantastic game for us,” said the keeper.
“It was rainy, wet and muddy and just had to keep on my game and watch the ball. I had a few dodgy back passes and a few shots so it was a good game to start with.
“I didn’t want to talk about the pitch before the game, I didn’t want it in my mind, especially with it being my first game for a while.
“It can be a nightmare with your boots full of mud, but the whole week I have just been buzzing to play.”
Federici had double reason to be happy after signing a new improved contract extension that keeps him at the club until the summer of 2011.
And he admitted: “It has been an absolute fantastic week for me. I signed a new deal and played – what a fantastic week.
“There was interest (from other clubs). I had a great summer, then played some league games which I haven’t done before. That is fantastic for your confidence and I got a new contract out of it.”