In pursuit of a dream, Riad Mouette from Clermont-Ferrand became a professional footballer in Melbourne with the North Sunshine Eagles Club. A Frenchman’s journey and his signature is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Talented, passionate, but above all stubborn, Riad Mouette, 24, collected setbacks. First at Clermont football at age 13. Then other denials, Montluçon, Lyon la Duchère, Toulon. Trials without a future and prospects for a career disappear. “I clearly asked myself the question of quitting football,” he recalls.
It was in the summer of 2023 that the life of the Auvergne defender would take a completely different turn. In parallel with his law studies, he was a coordinator of a primary school and a player for the football club Riomoise in Region 1, allowing him to achieve his ultimate dream of signing professionally.
“Clermont-Ferrand could change my life”
Since the summer of 2020, Riyad Mouette has played for Algeria during the Franco-Algerian Africa Cup of Nations, an annual event where players from multiple countries compete for the trophy during a two-week tournament. Clermont-Ferrand CAN is highly promoted in France.
“At that time, I was earning €400 a month and I was doing nothing in my life,” he recalls. Riot, winner of the tournament in 2022 and a semifinalist in 2023, is putting together a “highlights” video of his performances. Former teammate and North Sunshine Eagles player Redouan Charak is acting as the mediator. High scorer and top vote-getter at the Australian D3 Championship, his words count. “The club was urgently looking for reinforcements at the defender position and I got my plane ticket in two days.”
Riad heard the news when he was lying in the hospital bed after a kidney operation. Crazy opportunities open up to him and he finally touches his dream. He will take advantage of the transfer window to join the Australian club in June 2023. “CAN in Clermont-Ferrand changed my life,” he enthuses.
The Australian Dream
The club management gave him a chance to play the last nine matches of the championship. Compared to his life in Clermont his rent is paid and his salary increases tenfold. Holder Riot has had a number of good performances since his debut: he has no room for error if he wants to sign a long contract. “It was a very athletic championship, even more than France, what they liked about me was my technical communication, ability to bring the balls out cleanly, good restart,” he analysed.
At the end of the season, in August, the club wanted to keep him in the team. “I acted like a reluctant guy who had other offers, but I was very happy,” he laughs. The adventure continues and the management of the North Sunshine Eagles offer him a new one-year contract. He will play the rest of next season, which starts in February.
In addition to the athletic dimension, it was the professionalism and passion of a D3 club that really impressed Avarne. “The infrastructure is great, especially the staff, before every training I have a physiotherapist, a physical trainer, it has nothing to do with France,” he insists. Thousands of supporters with paid tickets fill the aisles of Larissa Stadium for every match.
Two more months in France and Riad will return to his Australian adventure for a new season. “I think I have a card to play there, I can reach the first division of the championship, that’s a goal,” he concludes. A history that perpetuates the waking dream.
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