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Monday, 26 September 2011 13:17

PortuGOAL exclusive
From Australia to Atletico 

Caleb Patterson-SewellIntroducing Caleb Patterson-Sewell

If a positive attitude, unrelenting determination and no little talent are the ingredients required to go far in football, be sure to remember this goalkeeper’s name: Caleb Patterson-Sewell.
American born and Australian bred, Caleb, as he is known in Portugal, has packed a lot into his short career so far. His CV includes wildly disparate clubs, both geographically speaking and in terms of prestige in the world game: Toowoomba Hawks (Australia), Liverpool (England), Miami FC (America) and now Atletico Clube de Portugal, to name but four. 
Caleb has wasted little time in making a big impression following his courageous decision to move to the Portuguese second tier. His displays at Atletico have helped confound all expectations surrounding the historical Lisbon side’s prospects following their promotion last season. The club are currently sitting pretty in top spot in the Liga Orangina. The 24-year-old has put in a string of superb displays, so much so that Atletico’s sporting director, Admar Hipolito, says he has already been attracting the attention of bigger clubs, and Atletico regret the fact they could only put him on a one-year contract. 
But what did Caleb exactly know about Portuguese football before taking the plunge? “I know it’s a hotbed for young talent. A lot of clubs come here and get bargains. They can come and find good players. Since Mourinho did what he did at Porto, all of a sudden all these Portuguese players are everywhere. I was at a game last year (Sporting-Lille) and the amount of scouts you see is unbelievable. And that filters down to the second league. On a weekly basis there are people watching. You have a few good games here and the sky’s the limit,” Caleb told PortuGOAL.
Not that Caleb’s decision to move to Atletico was taken lightly. “I could have just stayed in the States. I had plenty of offers to sit on the bench in the top league there and have a crack at playing, or I could have played in the second league. This was part of the decision - to come somewhere where I had the opportunity to play.

Dynamic coach

Things could hardly have got off to a better start for Caleb and his new team-mates at Atletico, and the goalkeeper puts a lot of the early success down to the club’s coach, Joao de Deus. “The success is, one, down to a coach who is young, energetic and organised, and I think you’ll find in this league there is not much standard difference between certain clubs. It’s just who’s organised, who knows their roles and who executes on the day. We’re very well organised. We know what’s asked of us now. 
And we’ve got players who are out to prove stuff. Some guys have only played in the third league; the second league is as high as they’ve been. There’s guys like me who come in and want to have a good showing to move on elsewhere. So I think you mix all these things together and you’ve got a good environment where guys want to move on, the club wants to go up, and there’s a good mix between old heads and young heads.
Despite the promising start, Caleb recognises that “we have just been promoted and we don’t want to get relegated so we have to take it one game at a time,” but when pressed he admitted that he has entertained the thought of playing in front of 60,000 at the Estadio da Luz or trying to stop Hulk, James Rodriguez and company at the Dragao. “A few years ago you would say that was pretty far-fetched. But coming here, seeing this league and the top league and knowing how European football works, you never know your luck. You’ve got to have personal goals and my goal is to play at the highest level. We’ve conceded one goal in four games, which is outstanding. If the team plays well, we’ll get more recognition and you never know.

Tactical emphasis

Like many players coming to Portugal from an Anglophone background, Caleb noted a big difference in training techniques, with the heavy emphasis put on the tactical and technical preparation. “It’s very tactical and technical here. America’s more like the English. Lots of small-sided games in training, lots of fitness, a lot more competition, while here it’s more like ‘this is your role, we’re going to drill this into you, we’re going to move like this, move like that.’ It’s very tactical, very different. And that’s why you don’t really see many crazy scorelines. It’s very rigid, everyone has a role and they’re not really going to go outside that role.
Estadio da TapadinhaNot that Caleb’s adaptation has been plain sailing. “When I came here I couldn’t, and I still can’t to an extent, speak to the back line. The first couple of games it was horrendous and I thought what am I doing, I might as well just shut up because they don’t understand me, it’s a nightmare. Those things affect you. But you just have to stick it out and keep focused.
As regards his overall adaptation to living in a new country, Caleb is in no doubt that he made the right decision. “The climate for me is perfect, the food’s sensational. It’s really a lovely place, Portugal. You can’t beat it. If you don’t like it here there’s probably something wrong with you - look at it, you just look across here and you’re looking over the water, and you’ve got anything you need (the interview took place at Atletico’s picturesque Tapadinha Stadium – pictured above). It’s what I envisaged when I envisaged Europe. For me it’s sensational. I couldn’t have picked a better spot to be in and hopefully it stays that way.
To listen to the full interview click on the play button below:
by Tom Kundert 
Keep track of Atletico’s progress and events in the Liga Orangina throughout the season at PortuGOAL.net
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Comments (4)
Australia produce good goalkeepers
4 Tuesday, 27 September 2011 13:08
I must admit I had never heard of this guy until I was looking through Atletico's squad list a few weeks back on wikipedia and saw that they had an Aussie guy. Actually in Australia there are 4 major football games Rugby Union, Rugby League, Aussie Rules and Soccer (football). Most people growing up play a combo of all the games in school as Australians are mad about any sport. I'm saying this because other than soccer the 3 other games despite being called football mostly involve using your hands and involve a lot of upper and lower body to body contact and similar attributes to what is required of a goalkeeper. I might also add that in these sports there is no padding like gridiron (American football) A lot of the best potential goal keeper go to play these other types of football so the actual players that choose to play as goalkeepers is small. Despite this Australia has produced Bosnich former Man UTD, Swartzer Fulham, and Kalac AC Milan and have many younger players around the leagues of Germany, England and Holland. I believe any Portuguese clubs looking for really cheap and talented goalkeepers then the place to look is Australia. Why? Because Australians make very good goalkeepers as they are naturally tall, fast, Athletic, determined, brave and not afraid to get hurt in a challenge.
Good story
3 Monday, 26 September 2011 19:31
Very interesting story. It would be great to get a 3rd Lisbon club back in the first division.

I think having players from the states is a great thing for our league. Adu was an epic fail in Europe but it doesn’t mean our clubs shouldn’t try. The amount of media and sponsor attention is great.
Viva Lisboa!
2 Monday, 26 September 2011 15:11
"If you don't like it here (in Portugal) there's probably something wrong with you." Sorry for the brief diversion from futebol to turismo, but i have to second that statement! i'm from the New Jersey, USA and went to lisbon for the first time last june. thought it was a great city. i hope my compatriot oguchi onyewu with sporting is having as positive an experience on and off the field in lisboa as patterson is.
It should be Portugals turism slogan
1 Monday, 26 September 2011 13:39
Another great job


"If you don't like it here (in Portugal) there's probably something wrong with you."
Caleb Patterson-Sewell(Atletico Clube de Portugal's Australian goalkeeper)

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