Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Earlier this year we reported on the journey of a young Melbournian, Nik Constantinou, and his dreams of following in the footsteps of past VFL/AFL stars like “Diamond” Jim Tilbrook, Saverio Rocca and Ben Graham to play American football. See Reverse Psychology Worth A Punt.
Whilst Nik is far from the only Australian to try and crack the American market, that doesn’t lessen his prodigious talent and potential – something that the Texas A & M University has noticed. Next week he will head to College Station campus located close to the Texan cities of Houston and Austin.
It is the same stomping ground of a player who now has a cult following at Collingwood – Mason Cox.
Nik has spent many years working towards an opportunity to head to the United States and try his hand within the college system and hopefully get to the NFL. That would be a very big deal for the former tall key position player from Aberfeldie in the Essendon District Football League.
He was keen to thank those who had cleared a path for him. “I am stoked to announce that I have committed to study and play football at Texas A&M University for the next four years.”
“A massive thanks to Michael Gallus for all your work, and introducing me to my coaches Nathan Chapman and John A Smith at Prokick Australia who have helped me tremendously over the last six months to make this opportunity a reality.”
“I’d also like to thank Dave from Conquest Athletic Performance and Paul Van Haltren from PVH health and fitness for preparing me physically and mentally for the weight room, and my parents and friends for supporting me through this journey. Finally to coach Fisher and coach Eric C Russell at A&M for giving me this incredible opportunity.” “Go Aggies!”
Nik was certainly a mixture of excitement, humbleness and gratitude this week. “I feel very gratified, after six months of hard training. It’s really good to know it’s all paid off and the experience over in the States will be once in a life time.”
When asked if he was nervous, Nik replied, “I wouldn’t say it’s daunting, I see it more as a privilege and an unbelievable opportunity to play in front of thousands of people and many more watching at home, and just being able to play the game itself is one many dream of.”
“For now my main goal is to do the best I can for the next four years and make a name for myself at the Aggies. Making pro is obviously a long-term goal, however that falls into place once you have a great college career.”
Should Nik enjoy success, which is most likely given his scope for development above and beyond his existing talent, it might open the door for other Australian Rules footballers to pursue a similar pathway.
It will be interesting to see just how much further towards his dream Nik can go now that he has been signed for four years and will be exposed to the game in the heartland of American football.
He has already come a long way since Aberfeldie.
World Footy News