Why joining Adelaide Olympic was an "easy choice" for former Reds' captain Michael Jakobsen
One of the more notable additions to the NPL SA in 2023 was former Adelaide United captain Michael Jakobsen. The experienced defender joined Adelaide Olympic and recently spoke to Front Page Football about his decision and the new season.
Former Adelaide United captain Michael Jakobsen has bolstered Adelaide Olympic's backline for the 2023 NPL SA season. (Adam Butler/80Kms)
Jakobsen's move to Adelaide Olympic sent shockwaves around the NPL community. He's a former Danish international with UEFA Champions League experience and captained A-Leagues sides Melbourne City and Adelaide United. Jakobsen is a real coup for his new club and the local South Australian community.
Many may have been surprised to see Jakobsen sign at Angle Park. But the defender shared that he committed to the move over a year ago before he joined Indian Super League side NorthEast United.
"I was actually looking at playing with Olympic before I went on a little journey to India, so when I came back here, my first thought was to come back and play for Olympic. I am happy; it’s a very nice club, it’s a very inclusive club, like one big family. It’s very appealing to me, and I’ve enjoyed every day at training so far," Jakobsen shared with FPF.
After a couple of challenging years, Olympic made many changes in its pursuit of climbing the standings. Former Albanian international Kristi Vangjeli has been recruited to address the side's defensive deficiencies. Jakobsen is relishing the opportunity to play with a fellow experienced defender.
"He (Vangjeli) is looking good; he’s a very talented and gifted player with massive experience from overseas playing at the highest level, so you cannot fault that kind of import. It’s going to be good; hopefully, we can get a really good relationship going and drive the team," Jakobsen said.
Newly-appointed Olympic coach Andrew Calderbank has also made an impression on Jakobsen regarding the expectations he has set and the football he wants his side to play.
"We’ve got a few older boys that need to step up and take leadership and be involved on the pitch; they need to drive it, same as training; he’s been quite vocal on that. We have very high expectations from the senior players because it is quite a young squad. But he’s been very positive," Jakobsen added.
"The way he wants to play, it is very positive going forward, but obviously, we need to focus on the defensive part as well. We have some experienced players, myself included, in the defence; it is going to be good."
Training and playing on an artificial pitch at the back end of his career is a concern for Jakobsen coming into the NPL. It could prove taxing on his body. Speaking to Front Page Football in September 2022, former Adelaide Olympic player and current Adelaide City captain Matthew Halliday shared similar issues.
Despite that, Jakobsen, who grew up playing on artificial pitches in Denmark, is confident his body will hold up training and playing on artificial turf three times a week. He admitted it would be a challenge, but everyone has to deal with it in this situation.
From his observations of Olympic during season 2022, Jakobsen described the football played in the NPL SA, specifically by his new side, as "hectic", which can be a physical challenge if sustained throughout an extended period. It is a challenge Jakobsen is keen to help his side tackle, helping them become more decisive about when to settle and turn up the pace during games.
Despite not having any experience in local Australian football, Jakobsen did not hesitate to commit to Adelaide Olympic, initially a year ago but again a few months ago. He saw similarities from playing for Adelaide United.
"From day one, when I initiated contact with them, it was like one big family. The people around the club, in the club, they’re really good. It was like one big family when I got there; that was one of the things as well [at] Adelaide United, the group of players is very united, which is amazing. It was very similar at Olympic, so it was quite an easy choice."
Jakobsen's choice to join Adelaide Olympic extends beyond the football pitch. As many A-Leagues imports have done in the past, the defender and his family have made a life for themselves in Australia which they are keen to continue.
Committing to a club like Olympic was a logical step for him in the twilight of his career. Jakobsen's long-term plans were further discussed recently with Danish reporter Anders Jensen for Bold. He shared that he plans to open an academy for talented players who may not be able to afford the cost of football in Australia.
Jakobsen concluded his chat with Front Page Football by reaffirming his commitment to Adelaide Olympic and life in Australia.
"This (commitment) is longer term; me and my family are really happy in Adelaide. We want to stay in Australia and Adelaide, so Olympic have committed to me, and I am very committed to them as well."
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