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'Promise, strength and composure': Reuben Awaritefe's rise through the club ranks to follow in his father's footsteps

(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Roar Rookie
18th November, 2023
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Son of the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Chair and former National Soccer League player Francis Awaritefe, Reuben has been rising through the Australian domestic football ranks.

From scoring goals for St George City FA youth squads, he has more recently marked his first senior season with Blacktown City in the second division of Australian football – and has even had some trials in England.

The 1.92m striker has won numerous accolades over the years, displaying the potential of a future professional like his London-born father.

Awaritefe played football from an early age in the parks of Sydney, having been born on September 4, 2000, while his father was currently employed with Marconi Stallions in the NSL.

He quickly progressed further when, at the age of 12, he joined the AC Milan Academy in Sydney, where he would spend the next three years under the wing of Andrea Icardi, a prominent midfielder for the Rossoneri in the 80s.

Awaritefe soon found himself playing in the youth divisions of NPL NSW 3 for Balmain Tigers and St George City FA, although it was at the latter where he faced his most prolific season as a youth.

With 25 goals in 24 games, the 2018 Central Coast Sports College graduate was awarded the Golden Boot and Player of the Year for St George’s under-20 side after leading them to the championship in 2019.

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His impressive form earned him his first minutes with the seniors in the same season, making 11 league appearances and two goals in the NPL NSW Men’s 2 competition.

It is no surprise that Central Coast Mariners then came calling, with the 19-year-old striker soon joining on a youth contract in October 2019.

Despite the season being suspended due to COVID-19, it did not stop Awaritefe from scoring 15 goals in 12 games for the under-20s of the Mariners, winning his second consecutive U-20 championship all while remaining in Sydney and driving to the Central Coast five days a week for training.

Awaritefe returned to playing in Sydney in November of the following year with Western Sydney Wanderers in the same competition. A partnership with Ali Auglah soon led the Wanderers to a second-place finish in the league table with the pair combining 18 goals in the 16 games played during the season.

Awaritefe departed the Wanderers by the end of the campaign but not without reward.

He was offered two trials in England with Salford City and Millwall, a chance for a clear pathway into professional football.

A contract was not out of the question and with his British passport, a spot in the squad would mean valuable experience among the British ranks.

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However, Awaritefe was sent home to Australia and although a chance to play for Millwall would replicate his father’s early career with Wimbledon in the Premier League, a bit more work needed to be done on his game.

Awaritefe plays as the main man up front for Blacktown City, having also played for St George FC until mid-2023.

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With two goals in his debut season in the top flight of NPL, Awaritefe still shows promise with his strength and composure up front in goal, combined with his aerial ability, making him a lethal striker up front for any side.

Currently employed as a part-time football coach by SCEGGS Darlinghurst (Sydney Church of England Girls’ Grammar School) and studying for a bachelor of Business at TAFE NSW, only time will tell if we see Awaritefe playing in the A-League like his father did before him in the NSL.

Despite playing one full season in senior football, he still has much room to grow, but promisingly, the now 23-year-old Awaritefe is still a brilliant forward to watch.

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