“No one’s going to be looking for a semi-professional footballer that’s 23 or 24 years old.”
Packing up and moving to Estonia was Aamir Abdallah’s last shot at achieving his professional football dream.
Off the back of another failed trial with an A-League club, the alternative was another season consigned to the National Premier Leagues, another season that the 22-year-old knew he couldn’t afford to waste.
“I’d given the A-League a shot,” Abdallah told Kick360. “I’d had trials with Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City, even with Western United just before the Heidelberg [United] season started.
“From my view I had decent performances in those trials, the City one is probably the only one I was disappointed in myself.
“It was just unlucky for me, I did all I could in the trials, scoring goals, training well but at the end of the day it’s up to them to choose.
“I just thought to myself if I had to play the whole NPL season then my career would be done, it wouldn’t be possible for me to go abroad.”
Abdallah had sampled a taste of football overseas a few years beforehand, whilst on trial in Spain at CD Marino, a lower league Spanish club situated in the Canary Islands.
Although it didn’t work out for him, he was determined to give Europe another go, but in a completely different environment.
Abdallah was put in touch with Andreas Govas and his agency Ascend Sports Group, who had a contact with an opportunity available for a trial at FC Levadia, one of Estonia’s most successful clubs.
“Levadia offered me a one-week trial,” Abdallah explains. “They already seemed interested before, they knew they wanted to sign me before the trial, so I trained with them for the week and was then able to stay.”
Abdallah found the step up in quality and professionalism an exciting challenge that would set up him up well for the rest of his career.
“The level of the league is similar to NPL Victoria, but I would say the level of Levadia is not the same, they’re probably a top-three A-League side.
“It’s a pretty strong team and it was a good thing for me to jump straight into that, even though it was a big change for me.
“I’d rather be thrown straight in at the deep end in the first step of my professional career so I can get used to it, and then everywhere I go from there I will be comfortable.”
Good form for the U21 team playing in the second division saw Abdallah make cameo appearances for the Levadia first team, who won both the league and cup and secured automatic passage to the Champions League second qualification round.
As with all young footballers that have to make the leap overseas by themselves, Abdallah has had to sacrifice the comforts of family life but staying in regular contact with them has helped mitigate the challenge.
“It’s really hard in that way, I’m in contact with them every day, all my siblings, parents, cousins.
“You miss them a lot when they have family gatherings and you’re the only one that’s not there, but it’s as if I’m still living in Melbourne because I’m still talking to them every morning and every night.”
Looking ahead to 2022, Abdallah is looking to continue his development after moving on loan to fellow Estonian first division club Pärnu JK Vaprus.
“It’s about game time most importantly, with Levadia it was mostly coming off the bench in the league, starting in cup games.
“I thought a move in Estonia would be comfortable and a good step in my career to get that playing time. Hopefully I do well here.”
The ambitions of Abdallah do not stop there, as he hopes that if he improves his output whilst out on loan, he can attract the attention of other clubs in Northern Europe.
“My aim is to help the club that I am at by scoring goals and assisting, getting my numbers up and having consistent performances and hopefully that will lead to another Scandinavian country, a bigger team in a bigger league.”