Australian attacker Oliver Kelaart is looking for a loan move to the A-League to fill the Icelandic off-season and keep up his fitness and match sharpness.
The 23-year-old currently plays for Keflavik IF, a club in Iceland’s top division, after spending his entire senior career to date in Europe.
However, with the season drawing to a close, Kelaart has set his sights on a temporary return to Australia to fill the large off-season break in Icelandic football.
“We have that break off for about six or seven months so I am hopeful that I can land something back in Australia,” Kelaart told Kick360.
“I’m currently playing in the first division here so I’d like to go back to Australia and have that same level of quality.”
Kelaart first moved to Europe after finishing school and joining the academy of Spanish giants Malaga. His first taste of senior football came at Orihuela CF in the Tercera División before he joined two more clubs in Spain.
In July 2020, he jumped at the opportunity to play in Iceland after spending three months locked down in Madrid due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“It was one of the only countries that was still playing at that time, just because Covid hadn’t really hit there,” Kelaart explained.
“I went over there and was playing in the lower divisions of Iceland but my main objective was to keep training and playing, since everywhere else in the world was stopped.
“I had a really good season and was invited to go across to Keflavik to train with them in pre-season.
“I trained with them for one week, played in a practice game against FH [Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar], who played in Europa League qualifiers, and ended up scoring.”
“After that and some more good training sessions, the coaches talked to me and wanted me to sign for the season, which was an amazing feeling.”
Keflavik were recently promoted to Iceland’s top division, and have enjoyed a successful season so far, currently lying in 8th place and into the quarter-finals of the country’s domestic cup competition. Kelaart also recently scored his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw against Fylkir.
He also has enjoyed playing alongside and learning from an Australian teammate in former NPL NSW and Western Sydney Wanderers striker Joey Gibbs.
“We’re really good mates, it’s good to have an Aussie here in Iceland and we linked up straight away as soon as I got here.”
“He’s such a professional player in the way he looks after himself and in the way he trains, so I can obviously take pointers from him and, whenever I have questions, I can ask about certain things and he’ll give me really helpful answers.”
Due to the extreme weather conditions Iceland faces in the winter months, their football season continues only until mid-September, and does not recommence until May next year.
Therefore, the A-League provides the ideal opportunity for Kelaart to showcase his talents during the break, before restarting again with Keflavik for the 2022 campaign.
“I’d like to come back to Australia to develop as a player and get more game time but my main focus is playing football in Europe.”
“Playing Europa League, Champions League, dreaming big and hopefully one day representing Australia.”
“A lot of players that represent Australia are predominantly chosen playing over in Europe, just because the standard’s a lot higher, and that’s always been a goal of mine.
“I feel like going back to Australia at this point in time, because it is such a long break here in Iceland, to get a loan move would allow me to show my capabilities there too.”