Garang Kuol is a name you may not have heard of, but that will change in the coming years.
Newcastle United have confirmed they have reached an agreement to sign the striker from Central Coast Mariners, and he will join the Toon in January 2023 before being sent to a European club on loan.
So how did Kuol pull off this move?
The 18-year-old was born in Egypt in 2004 after his family fled Sudan.
But he didn’t stay there long as the Kuol family moved to Australia as refugees a year later.
Her father, Mawien, and mother, Antonita, worked as dry cleaners to support their family, while Antonita also worked in a fruit factory.
But they found a supportive community in Shepparton, Victoria, which played a big role in helping Kuol get there.
Antonita revealed to ABC that neighbors and community members used to take Kuol and her brother Alou, who plays for Stuttgart, to and from games while she tried to get her driver’s license.
And the community even helped pay for Kuol and his brother’s trip to Japan for a soccer tournament as they continued to pursue their dream.
$8,000 was needed. Kuol’s parents had $4,000, but the community rallied and found the money.
Antonita said: “It was really amazing. And I really don’t want to forget it. This time was very, very important to see someone can pay thousands of dollars to help you.
“We are very lucky to be in Shepparton.”
It has not been an easy journey for Kuol or his family, but he is determined to take advantage of this opportunity. “I’m happy to have been able to express myself on the pitch.”
Kuol only made ten senior appearances for his club, during which he scored four goals.
That’s impressive for a young player, but it’s his all-around game that should excite Newcastle fans.
The Australian international likes to drive with the ball and is extremely fast.
He can also finish at a high level.
Scored on April 5 for his debut, four of eight on May 7, @Socceroos start in september
— Teo Pellizzeri (@teopellizzeri) September 28, 2022
There’s definitely a reason Barcelona loved Kuol, and he impressed manager Xavi earlier this year.
The La Liga giants played an all-star team in League A, where the striker stood out. “He did really well,” the Barca and Spain legend said.
“He created a lot of chances and almost scored,” adding that he was amazed to be only 17 years old. “He may be a big liar! To , it’s incredible. I wish him the best.”
Praise doesn’t come much higher.
And although he hasn’t made many senior appearances, he was called up to the Socceroos senior squad for the first time during the last international break.
Kuol made his debut in the second game against New Zealand; he was sublime.
He only played 19 minutes but his running and quality led to a penalty which Jason Cummings saved.
And Australian sports journalist Francis Leach is a big fan, telling talkSPORT: “He absolutely electrified that game. Fearless, quick and wonderfully skilled.
“He’s a bit of an eye opener for Australian rules football fans because he’s only been out ten times for Central Coast Mariners, so we’re still figuring out who this kid is.
“He played in an All-Stars game against Barcelona, and he played fearless in that game, so he’s clearly comfortable against the best.”
Based on this performance alone, Kuol has a high chance of going to the World Cup with Australia.
Socceroos fans loved his game against New Zealand and want to see more.
His future teammate, Chris Wood is also delighted to partner with him. “I’m sure he’s a very exciting talent if a club like us is looking at him, especially with what the club are going to do in the next few years.”
The only problem is that he’s unlikely to get a work permit straight away, so he’ll join another club on loan for the rest of the 2022/23 season.
A move to Portugal seems the most likely for the striker before he joins Eddie Howe’s squad next summer.
And the 18-year-old can’t wait to get into the Premier League, he told the Newcastle website: “It’s unreal. As a young boy in Australia, the Premier League was the main thing everyone looked up to, but no one really believed they would ever reach those heights. To be one of those people, to be in the position that I am in, it’s amazing.
“Now that I’ve signed for Newcastle I want to train hard, play hard, hopefully go to the World Cup and come back here.”
Kuol has worked too hard to pass up this opportunity, so don’t be surprised to see him tear up the Premier League in the next few years.
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