Olyroos midfielder Ryan Teague has spent the last three-and-a-half years chasing his European dream – and to the Sydney FC academy graduate, that time has gone by in a flash as he reflects on the journey he has been on.
It’s the leap of faith that many young footballers elect to take as they look to kick-start their football careers; for Teague, that decision was made with the help of none other than European super agent Jorge Mendes who, through his agency GestiFute, boasts a portfolio including Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota, Bernardo Silva, James Rodriguez and many more of the world’s footballing elite.
Teague was spotted by Mendes whilst captaining Australia through the U17 World Cup in Brazil in 2019 as he was part of the Sydney FC Academy – something he describes as “a big privilege”. Mendes’ interest led to Teague signing with the FestiFute agency, and making the move to Portuguese first-division side FC Famalicao in 2020. He has made one senior appearance for the club and has largely played for their youth side.
“It was a massive stepping stone,” Teague said, reflecting on the U17 World Cup.
“I always had the dream since I was little that when I turned 18, that I wanted to take a push and take a step forward into Europe, and fortunately enough, my time at the World Cup led to a move overseas so (that tournament was) very important.”
He’s part of Australia’s U23 squad taking part in the Maurice Revello Tournament in Toulon through June, arriving in France off the back off a productive season for Famalicao’s youth side, registering two assists in 18 appearances to help his side to a second-place finish behind Benfica in the Liga Revelação U23.
In the season prior, Teague got his first genuine taste of senior football on loan to S.C. Covilha in Portugal’s second tier, making 27 appearances. It’s been three-and-a-half years since Teague has called Sydney home – but football-wise, he sees plenty of similarities in Portugal to what he experienced rising through the youth ranks at Sydney FC.
“I think (the facilities are) more or less the same,” he said.
“When I was at Sydney FC, they had very amazing facilities and like it is at Familicao.
“But I would say in Portugal there’s less time focused on gym and more time focused on ball and that type of culture and that way of playing.”
“(Sydney FC) was a massive part of my development,” he continued.
“I was at Sydney FC for five or six years and it played an influential role in where I am today in terms of not just the footballer but the person I am as well.”
Teague has featured prominently for the Olyroos across their two opening fixtures at the Maurice Revello Tournament; he played 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw with Qatar on matchday one, scoring his spot kick in a shootout Qatar won 4-3 to secure a bonus point. Then, on Friday night (AEST) he bagged the winning goal in a 3-2 triumph over Mediterranean Select.
Teague knows just how important it is for him to impress at a tournament with some of tworld football’s most influential scouts watching along.
“You go to these tournaments that are worldwide and everyone across the planet is there watching,” he said. “Scouts, different teams and ultimately you’re playing against the best players in the world.
“As an individual, as a player, you get to see where you are on a world scale as well.”