A 26-year-old Brazilian winger was scouted by Torquay United and invited to train and play with the first team.
Mateus Scavardoni, formerly of America Mineiro and Cruzeiro EC in his native country, was scouted at our December trial in West London.
Torquay Utd, who currently play in the National League South, assessed Mateus as he spent several days training with the first team before playing in a behind closed doors friendly.
We spoke to Mateus a few weeks after his trial, as he revealed all about his trial with Torquay, his history in Brazil and the challenges of trying to make it as a professional footballer at 26.
A bit about yourself?
My name is Mateus Scavardoni, I’m 26 years old and I was born and raised in very small town called Lagamar in Minas Gerias state in Brazil.
I like playing as an out-side forward or a false 9.
Could you tell us about your football history and background, any previous trials?
I started playing football on the streets at a very young age, just like any other kid in Brazil used to do back then.
Then, I joined the youth academies of America Mineiro and Cruzeiro EC launched in my city before I started playing for our local team Nacional EC later on, where I played until the age of 21.
Due the lack of professional opportunities in our region, I decided to move away to chase my dream abroad.
So, I went to USA to play college football where I played for Jackson Jets. Then, after I got my AA Degree, I played professional futsal for Lansing City, and semi-pro football for Livonia CFC.
Last year, I decided to come to England to give it a last shot. I firstly joined Hackney Wick FC, did a couple training sections with them but I ended up signing with Wembley FC later on, a semi-pro club. That’s where I’m currently playing.
How did you hear about UKFT?
Through a web search I did about football trials in England.
Why did you come to UKFT?
Because I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to get seen.
How did you find out about your invite to Torquay?
During the UKFT, their scout came to talk to me right after the first half of the game. A few days later he emailed me inviting me to come for a trial with their professional team.
How was your trial with Torquay?
It was great, they really liked me. They were actually in need of a different type of player. Even though I ended up not signing with them it was a great experience practicing with them and getting to know what a professional club is like. Their facilities are great, stadium, training ground, the fans, everything. The level of players is surely higher than what we have at Wembley, but it wasn’t hard to catch up. The coaches and all the staff were very professional.
How was the game you played in - how long did you play and how did it go?
It was very good. Our team were really well connected and we won 6-1. I played the whole game and had a couple assists.
What's your overall experience been like?
It has been really nice since my trials with UKFT. I was scouted by 3 scouts and all of them got in touch with me really quickly. It’s very exciting being around and in touch with the professional side of them game.
What are you finding tough about being an 'older' player trying to make it?
Honestly, the toughest thing must be hearing people saying to you that it’s too late for you to make it (Laughter). But I’ve always ignored these type of comments, I really believe that no one other than yourself should tell you when it’s too late for you to make it or not.
Would you have any advice for other 'older' players?
You know, obviously the older you get the fewer opportunities will arise for you, that’s just how the football world works. But you shouldn’t just give up on your dream just because you haven’t made it at the same age as most other players did.
Everything happens in different times in our lives. So, if you really wanna make it pro someday, you should keep grinding it every day until the very last second of it.
I know this is gonna sound cliché, but I truly believe that hard work pays off. So the advice is; regardless of your age, keep working harder and knocking on that door everyday. And keep on knocking until you get everyone bothered. Then at some point you will surely get what you deserve.
How are you feeling about your upcoming trial with Brechin FC?
I’m excited. You know, it’s another great opportunity. It’s a Scottish club that plays in League 1 coming from Championship the previous year. So, it’s high level of professional football as well.
Yeah, I’m very focused and I have been practicing a lot recently so, I’m sure any time they call me to come I will be ready for it!
Any final comments you may have?
Everyday is an opportunity for you to get closer to your dream. Don’t give up!