Holmes not giving up on Olympic dream

Jordan Holmes in action for Ebbsfleet United Source: NurPhoto

UK-based Olyroo goalkeeper Jordan Holmes might have missed out on the recent Australian Under-23 camp but isn’t giving up on his dream to play in Tokyo next year.

The Olyroos recently gathered in Sydney for two matches, losing to Sydney FC 3-0 and beating Macarthur FC 2-1. Twenty-six players were involved in the training camp but only domestic-based players were considered because of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Holmes, who has been a regular of the Young Socceroos and then the Olyroos for the past five years, was one a of number overseas-players to miss out such as Thomas Deng, Zach Duncan, Alex Gersbach and Gabriel Cleur. The 23-year-old was part of the Australian squad that sealed a place at Tokyo at the AFC Under-23 Championship early this year.

Holmes, who spent six years with English Premier League club Bournemouth, is hoping to remain in contention for the Olympics next year.

“It’s a bit unfortunate. I spoke to a few people at the Olyroos and they’ve just basically said the way Covid’s going and everything there’s no overseas players attending for the fact of two-week quarantine if you go there,” he told The World Game.

“There’s no point. So I think it’s the first time in a whole they’ve just had A-League-based players and no one overseas.

“But hopefully I’ll still be in and around it for the upcoming camps, hopefully, they can organize one where everyone’s together in a safe environment and can get there safely.

“I’ve played a considerable amount of games already, compared to the boys in the A-League. It would be harsh to miss out as it’s a four-year stint, well now five years between the Olympics.

“I’ve done the first four and the qualifiers and all that, and go all sorts of countries to get there, so it would be very disheartening once achieving that and not actually going.

But I can only focus on my own performances and hopefully that’s enough.”

Melbourne City keeper Thomas Glover was involved in the training camp this month, along with Sydney FC shot-stopper Tom Heward-Belle, Central Coast Mariner Adam Pearce and Sydney Olympic keeper Nicholas Sorras.

After six seasons with Bournemouth, which included loan spells with Weymouth, Eastbourne Borough and St Mirren, Holmes joined National League South club Ebbsfleet United last year.

The former Rockdale City Suns and Sydney United 58 junior is getting regular senior football at the ambitious Kent-based club, with 22 first-team appearances last season and already nine in the 2020-2021 campaign.

Ebbsfleet were controversially relegated from the National League in July on a points percentage, after the season was cut short thanks to the Coronavirus, but the Kuwaiti-owned side is bidding for promotion back to the fifth tier this term.

“It’s been great compared to last season, that was a real struggle for us,” Holmes admitted.

“A bit demoralizing towards the start, losing every other game. But towards the end of last season we looked like we’d stay up, but because of circumstances the league got cut short and we got relegated on a points per game ratio.

“I don’t think that was fair in the end for us, we weren’t in the bottom four anyway. But this season has started great, the manager’s been good since he’s come in.

“I joined in September last year. I’ve nearly done a year and I’ve had 30-odd games for the club now. It’s been great.

“They gave me my chance to come straight in and play, I had a few good performances and it kept me selected for the Australian team.

“The fans, the management and all the people at the club have been behind me so I can’t really thank them enough for the opportunity they’ve given me.”