Like father, like son, Mathias Macallister keen to follow in his Dad’s footsteps

Originally published on the NSW NPL website prior to the Sydney Derby.

Mathias Macallister has enjoyed a strong season for Sydney FC so far in the NPL Men’s NSW competition. 

The son of Dylan Macallister – former NPL NSW and A-League Men ace who has also plied his trade in Europe – has impressed for the Sky Blues with his decisive goalscoring and clutch moments.

The 17-year-old dreams of reaching the heights of his father overseas and was given his first taste of this when selected in a Sydney FC youth squad to tour Germany in late March.

In this way, many players endured a gruelling season within a season, playing eight matches in eight days at the Under 19 tournament.

Dylan Macallister at Melbourne Heart celebrates scoring against Melbourne Victory
Macallister in 2009 playing against Sydney FC for the Mariners

It had a major disruption on their NPL Men’s NSW campaign, but it was highly rewarding for all involved, as Sydney upset some high-profile teams to finish second in the competition.

“Towards the end of March I was lucky enough to be in the squad for a tour of Germany, which was a real eye-opener, not only for me but for all the boys and the coaching staff, that we can compete at the highest level against some of the best teams in Europe, such as the likes of Everton, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach,” said Mathias.

“The tour itself really put Sydney FC on the map, coming 2nd overall and losing to Everton on penalties.

“It was a life-changing experience for myself being able to compare myself to some of the best forwards in Europe, and finding the back of the net a few times.”

The Academy had a great performance in Germany

It was an incredible achievement for the Sky Blues, who will be looking to harness that momentum and confidence for the rest of the campaign after a tricky first few weeks back.

“Returning to NPL football after a decent start to the campaign in February and performing so well in Germany was a challenge that took us some time to adapt to, still playing our way of football the results, unfortunately, didn’t go our way,” said Macallister.

“In the past few weeks, it’s really kicked into a new gear with the level and intensity of our training and games.

“Continuing to score goals regardless of the age group and winning games is my main focus for the rest of the season.

“Now our main goal for the nine remaining fixtures is to continue to play our football and secure some important wins.”

The Sky Blues have picked up some good form in the last few weeks, and they have Macallister to thank, with the forward playing a significant role in kickstarting a run of positive results.

The seventeen-year-old netted a brace against St George FC to give Sydney their first win in the NPL Men’s NSW competition in 92 days, an impressive enough achievement without considering it was his first start in the NPL Men’s NSW First Grade competition.

Macallister scored a brace in Sunday’s Academy Sydney Derby

Speaking on his goals against St George, Macallister said, “It doesn’t get much better to be honest.

“It was an unbelievable feeling scoring goals and winning the game for your team and it was also my first start at NPL level.

“After the first win against St George, I felt as though there was a buzz in the changeroom and around the team, we all thought of the win as an addictive feeling and ultimately wanted more, because that’s what you aim for, to play some high-quality football and come away with the 3 points at the end of the night.

“I was just happy to get the opportunity to start and be able to embrace it in the best way possible.”

From there, they followed with a victory over Hills United – with Macallister again scoring – before they drew to the Central Coast Mariners with another strong performance.

Macallister is continuing to establish himself more and more as a key player within a rejuvenated Sky Blues side at just seventeen and looks set to continue an upward trajectory through Sydney FC’s sides.

“Everything has happened so quickly, going from having only a few appearances in the under 20’s last year, to starting and scoring in games for NPL and being one of the top scorers in the U20 competition,” said Macallister on his rise over the last year.

“At the moment I’m really enjoying my football playing with such a great bunch of boys and playing some of my best football.

“I started the season pretty well scoring a few goals in the 20’s before going over to Germany and playing well while scoring over there against some big teams.

“Coming back and being able to progress into the NPL squad is a big opportunity for me which I’m not taking for granted.

“As for now, my main goal is to continue to work harder than anybody and to score goals along the way at the highest level possible.”

This coincides with Macallister’s dreams within football, as the seventeen-year-old strives for glory both on a club and national level, just like his father.

Macallister celebrates a goal for the U20’s side earlier this season – Photo: Jaime Castaneda

“Many goals and dreams come to mind, but my main goal is to become a professional football with Sydney FC and hopefully also progress into either the Australian or Norwegian national teams as I’m eligible for both (I was born in Norway),” he said.

“I think it’s every Australian footballer’s dream to also play professionally in Europe, but taking things a day at a time and a game at a time and not getting ahead of myself is how I will get there.”

Dylan Macallister has plied trade overseas in Norway, Iceland, Hong Kong and China, as well as for Australia’s youth teams.

It’s not only being able to hear about these experiences in Europe and Asia, but also the invaluable advice and bond the two share over their love for football that further inspires young Macallister to make it to the big stage overseas.

“It would mean the world to me, to relive some of his experiences that he has told me about, about playing in Europe, winning trophies and representing Australia at different levels.

“I always ask him questions about his career and ask for advice and feedback on what I can do to improve and he is always totally honest!

Photo – Jaime Castaneda

“He is my biggest inspiration and I would love to follow in his footsteps, seeing photos of him playing in Europe, Asia and for Australia inspires me even more to perform at a high level and become a professional.

“Taking me for extra sessions and being able to receive advice after every session and every game, how I look after my body and what I eat plays a huge role in where I am today and couldn’t have done it without his help.”