A FORMER Port Elizabeth soccer player has landed a spot at Bloemfontein Celtic FC as a midfielder.
Wayde Jooste, 22, a former Alexander Road High School pupil from Cotswold, joined the Bloemfontein Celtic academy last year and was later signed to Bloemfontein Celtic.
“It’s been an amazing experience. Moving from the academy to the first team is a big step. I’m adjusting well and enjoy travelling all over the country and going to the different stadiums,” he said.
“When I was younger I always wanted to be a professional soccer player but I had no idea I’d be playing for Bloemfontein Celtic.”
As a 13-year-old in Grade 7 at Moregrove Primary School, Jooste scored 51 goals during the 2004 soccer season. He also represented Safa EP U14, EP Schools U13 and Pefa District U13 that season.
He played for Bay Stars, Bay United and Bidvest Wits Academy before joining Bloemfontein Celtic.
His first game for Bloemfontein Celtic was against Kaizer Chiefs in the Macufe Cup last month. They won 1-0.
Two weeks ago he played against Maritzburg United and the teams drew 0-0.
“When I played my first game against Kaizer Chiefs the stadium was packed. I was nervous at first but once I got used to the crowds shouting I settled down and played.”
Jooste, the son of teacher parents Wayne and Ashlin, has two sisters, Daniela and Jamie-Lee. His father is a soccer coach for Saints soccer club.
“My family couldn’t be more proud of me. After every game I get messages from my family.
“Playing away from home is part of the sacrifice to have a successful career and my parents also know this,” Jooste said. He juggles his University of South Africa (Unisa) psychology studies – he wants to become a sports psychologist – with training.
“We train once a day and the rest of the day we rest. In my free time I study. It is my goal to play for an overseas team. Like many African-born soccer players I dream of playing for a European-based soccer club one day.”
As an international player he would like to emulate a man whose name he shares – Manchester United midfielder Nani.
“I am nicknamed after Nani because I look a bit like him and we play the same positions.”