Adelaide United defender Antony Golec is only 21 years of age.
Adelaide United defender Antony Golec is 21 years of age but you would think otherwise given the experienced and wise demeanour he portrays for a young footballer.
Whether it's being left out in the harsh wilderness of modern football for six months without a club or recently having his Adelaide United contract threatened to be torn up following a controversial social media comment, Golec has learnt and matured from his early experiences.
After beginning as a member of the inaugural Sydney FC National Youth League championship winning squad in 2008-09, the 21-year-old broke into the senior side immediately making his debut in 2008.
However the towering centre-back would go on to make only a further 12 appearances in three seasons before he was given the cold shoulder and dumped by his hometown team at the end of his contract and the 2010-11 season.
Left with no choice Golec was forced to ply his trade elsewhere in the hope of kick-starting his Hyundai A-League career - a move he admits he did not want to make but later accepted.
"Things happened at Sydney that didn-t work out and I had really nowhere to go ... I had to move on," he said.
"I'd been there for three years and only played a handful of games."
"I didn-t want to leave but that's football and football takes you new places."
Golec looked to have found a new home on the central coast of New South Wales with the Mariners after a brief stint trialling with the club, however financial issues complicated a deal leaving him to look abroad following a lack of interest elsewhere in Australia.
His search took him to the Indonesian Premier League but it was short lived when Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen offered the Australian U-23 and U-20 representative an opportunity to return to Australian shores with a trial.
Despite limited preparation, Golec impressed in pre-season games against Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory and was rewarded with a one-year deal.
"When I went to Indonesia I got a call that Adelaide wanted me to come down," Golec recalls.
"I had my good friend (Iain) Ramsay there (playing for Adelaide), so I spoke to him and it didn-t take much time for me to make a decision to come back."
"I thought if I came to Adelaide I would definitely get an opportunity because Sydney was a little bit tough with all the experience they had."
"Adelaide didn-t know much about me because I didn-t play much last season (for Sydney), which was Rini's first season (in Australia) but I came and did my best (in pre-season), and they were happy to sign me."
With a second chance in the A-League underway Golec is eager to repay Coolen and the club for the gamble they took in signing him.
Despite an impressive start to his Adelaide career which has seen him on the cusp of making his senior debut recently, especially considering the Reds' injury woes this season, Golec refuses to get ahead of himself, preferring to remain patient for his opportunity.
"I've got to earn my spot ... work hard and keep going to repay everyone," a modest Golec said.
"I'm still a young player ... I've got a lot to learn, and under Rini and Jon McKain (Adelaide captain) I'll learn a lot."
"I've also got Michael Valkanis (youth team coach) who is pretty much Rini's right-hand man and is always at our training and speaking to Rini, which definitely motivates me to work harder and do well."
"I'm lucky I have time on my side. I just got to keep working hard and staying positive."
"I'm happy that at least I'm training and that I've got the opportunity, and when the time comes (to debut) I'll be ready."
Although he has an experienced head on his shoulders, Golec made a schoolboy error recently much unlike the footballing intelligence and nous he possesses - an error that could of cost him his second shot at the A-League.
Having played earlier in the day for the Baby Reds, he later posted an offensive comment which was intended to be private, using social media tool Twitter about the refereeing performance of Ben Williams in the clash between Melbourne Victory and league-leaders Brisbane Roar.
Golec came under fierce criticism for his remarks and was quick to apologise to Williams and the FFA, before he was later sanctioned by the club with the threat his contract would be terminated if any further digressions were to occur.
"It was very difficult and I was upset. That night and the next day I couldn-t sleep. I was worried," Golec said reflecting on the incident.
"It was something silly and I'm lucky that the club was very supportive, they helped me a lot and are still helping me now doing a few things."
In what he described as a "big lesson" Golec knew he had to take responsibility for his actions and eventually move on and learn from the experience as he considered it his last chance to make an impact and impression in the A-League and at international level following an invite to the joint Socceroos/U23s camp in October that fuelled his hunger for selection.
He had to let his football do the talking.
"I've had a lot of chances in life and I think that was the last one, so I'm going to be very careful now," he said.
"I have to man up and take responsibility whether it was a mistake or not, I still wrote it, and at the end of the day I have to move on now."
"It's finished, it's in the past and I have to let my football do the talking."