Jordi Valadon’s journey to his first-ever A-League appearance is one that any young footballer would dream of.
After playing his junior football for local club, Box Hill United and then captaining his collegiate side, Mazenod College, Valadon’s journey saw the midfielder spend time at Melbourne City before a familiar face brought him across the divide to Victory’s Academy system.
A Victory supporter growing up, it was former tutor and Victory Head of Academy, Joe Palatsides who reached out to the 20-year-old for an opportunity in Victory’s system that Valadon took with both hands.
“Things weren’t going the way I would have expected at City and I was open to exploring new opportunities,” said Valadon.
“I got the call from Joe Palatsides and he expressed interest in me and I thought ‘why not?’”
“I was at the stage where I thought it was time for the next chapter. Working under Pala before and the opportunity to train with the senior A-League side with Tony Popovic, it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.”
Making your professional debut as a player in the youth system is something that few can boast. On the 23rd of April, Valadon became one of those lucky few.
Coming off the bench against Macarthur FC, Valadon played his first 13 minutes of A-League action after replacing Ben Folami before starting the next week against Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park.
Talking about making his debut, Valadon had the perfect description.
“Unbelievable,” he said.
“The opportunity for starters is what every youngster wants. To break through at Academy level and get game-time with the first team is the first goal.
“The week leading up had been a lot of work, progressing myself and getting ready for the game. Even just training with the A-League team, putting myself in the mix every week. Obviously when you get that opportunity, you get up and about over it.
“Getting on the pitch was just amazing. The coaches were really encouraging, and the players trust and belief in me was important for my confidence knowing what I can do to help the team on the pitch.”
Now featuring for the NPL3 side during the A-League off-season, Valadon has scored three goals in the competition this season, helping power the Under 23 side to top spot with seven wins from its nine matches.