Young midfielder Leo Mazis is looking to resurrect his career in Europe after spending nearly a year on the sidelines back in Australia.
Mazis, who signed for Celtic as a teenager in early 2018, has been without a club since departing Serie C club Triestina last March. The attacking midfielder only spent a month with the Italian side after exiting Celtic, but left after the outbreak of Covid-19 gripped the country.
The 20-year-old has spent the past few months training with a number of A-League clubs, but is now targeting a move back overseas in 2021.
“That’s always been the goal and where I want to play,” he told SBS The World Game.
“I left home at 16 to go to Europe and that’s where I want to be. Obviously, at the moment, it’s a bit more difficult with the whole travel and stuff like that. But hopefully, something gets sorted pretty soon.
“I’ve been speaking to a few clubs and hopefully something can all work itself out. But it’s about being patient and it’s a waiting game at the moment with the whole Covid situation. I’m just staying positive and keeping sharp.
The World Game understands Mazis has received interest from clubs in Italy and Cyprus. The Canberra-born product admits it has been difficult being away from the professional game for so long.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster in some ways,” he said.
“I guess similar to Jackson Irvine, it’s about 10 months without being in a team environment or being with a club. Look it’s just about listening to the people around you and taking their advice really.
“I’ve been training a lot with Giancarlo Gallifuoco, and he’s just been giving me endless amounts of advice.
"Obviously he’s more experienced than me and telling me what I need to do and where my mind needs to be at, because as a young player, although I’ve experienced overseas and done a lot of things at a young age it still plays on your mind and be back playing.
“It takes a toll on you. But I’m learning every day and trying to stay positive because I feel everyone is in the same boat and that’s the way I’m looking at it – I’m not going to be too far behind as long as I’m doing the right things, eating the right foods, training as hard as I possibly can, getting to the gym when I need to and just being switched on.
“It’s tempting to jump at something when you’ve been out of action. But it’s also good to take a step back and really analyse and think about if this is the right move, will this benefit my career and the pros and cons to it.
“Just hopefully weigh up a few different offers and situations up and see what the best move is for me to get back playing. I’m still young, I’ve got a lot of time ahead of me so that is a positive, but it’s also important to get back as soon as possible.”
Mazis spent 10 days in December last year trialling with Adelaide United and has also had spells training with Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners.
“I mean obviously having spent time at home with the whole Covid thing and not being in a team environment, with the whole training situation it was good to get back in a team,” he said.
“But the feedback [from Adelaide] was very positive and I was keen to go there and they were keen to have me, but the financial issues kind of brushed that aside, which is a shame. But what can you do really?
“I think that’s a common theme with most A-League teams at the moment during this whole situation. I did a bit of training with Western Sydney, I played a few games with them.
“Obviously it’s close to Canberra, so it was good to go there and just training with teams. That’s the main thing for me, just trying to stay on the ball and as sharp as possible.
“There’s only so much you can do by yourself. And also seeing what the standard in the A-League is compared to clubs I’ve been to previously overseas, and to see where I am fitness-wise.”
Mavis is determined to reignite his career and reach his full potential in the professional ranks despite the setbacks.
“Exactly, it’s an emotional rollercoaster,” the former Belconnen United midfielder said.
“Some days you’re hating it, you’re like what can’t I just be playing? But other days, the whole situation was good for me in a way because having not been home for a long time and leaving at a young age, so I got to come home and just reflect on everything and what’s been my journey so far.
“Give my mind a little break as well. So it’s a positive as well as a negative, it’s been up and down, but I’m appreciative of the time I’ve had at home and the time I’ve got to spend with family and friends.
“I suppose there’s more to life than just football, that’s also a very big part of it, you get to spend time with the people you care about the most.”