Thomas Deng is living the dream as he aims to create history with the Olyroos at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
With the Australian under-23 soccer team returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2008, there’s plenty of excitement among the team.
Among the key players is Deng.
“I’m proud and honoured to represent my country and to go to an Olympic Games is something special and something you can always remember,” he said.
“It’s something your family can be proud of and you can create many memories with the players and the staff you go on the journey with.”
Deng, who played with the Western Eagles and then Green Gully when he moved to Australia as a 16-year-old, was a key player for the Olyroos as strived to qualify for the games.
He has played 11 games for the Olyroos since 2016.
He said it was a massive achievement for the side to make it to the Olympics.
“It’s another massive achievement by the team and also the staff, to all that hard work they’ve put in and to come back 13 years later is really special and we can’t wait to create more memories.”
Deng, who is currently playing with Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan, said playing in the Olympics was up there with playing for the Socceroos, the open age national team.
The former Melbourne Victory player has played one game for the Socceroos in 2018.
“As a young kid you want to play at the big tournaments, to play at an Olympics Games is a huge accomplishment,” he said.
“As a youngster I’ve grown up watching the Socceroos on TV and to put on the green and gold and to line up with the team is something special.
“Hearing the national anthem and seeing the likes of Mark Milligan, Mathew Leckie in front of me and it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
“I’m very honoured to represent my country and I can’t wait.”
Deng said the team has big expectations heading into the competition.
“We want to reach the final and to win the gold,” he said.
“In these tournaments you want to play the best and I think we have a fantastic group of boys and a good team and I think we can go all the way.”