Former Sorrento goalkeeper Neil Young was for many years the best goalkeeper in the West Australian state league and was asked in to trial with Perth Glory, but a contract was never forthcoming.
To fulfil his dream he travelled the Newcastle Jets in the Hunter Valley, and despite the team leaking goals had to wait for his chance. He made his debut for the Jets at home on November 8, 2009 against North Queensland Fury after Ben Kennedy was forced out during the warm-up with a groin injury.
In the Jets’ clash against Gold Coast United on the 13th of January, Young was kicked in the face by Gold Coast striker Shane Smeltz when diving on a loose ball in the 18-yard box. He has not played again for the club after a nightmare eighteen months.
What was supposed to be a routine operation to repair a badly broken nose went very, very wrong. He suffered an adverse reaction to the antibiotics prescribed after surgery. An infection in his bowel was the end result. Things went rapidly from bad to worse. At his lowest point, his liver shut down, and then his body stopped producing white blood cells and finally his bone marrow failed to function.
His bowel was removed and a colostomy bag was attached to his intestine. He was unable to eat for weeks and lost 20 kilograms from his lean athlete’s frame to weigh just 68kilograms.
After five bouts of surgery, his small intestine has been modified to allow him to function without the colostomy bag, and he resumed playing this season in the National Youth League.
Today it has been announced that he will finally sign for his hometown club as back up to Danny Vukovic. Perth Glory it is believed offering more money and a longer term deal than the Jets, to try and lure a WA player back to the fold.
If anyone deserved a break it is Neil Young. The Glory has now signed two quality ‘keepers looking to start with shoring up their defence as they rebuild once again.