Talented teenager Samuel Joe Dweh has swapped the National Premier Leagues Western Australia for a spot in Spanish football.
Liberian-born, Perth-raised Dweh has signed for the youth team of CF Alhendin Balompie.
The 18-year-old moved to Spain at the end of August and his new club competes in the Liga Nacional Juvenil, the country’s second division for players aged 19 and under.
Impressively, Joe only started playing competitive club football in Australia five years ago with Stirling Lions but is now out to make his name in Europe.
“I was born in Liberia and my family moved to Ghana,” Dweh told The World Game.
“We were there for a few years and we came over to Australia when I was six. We were refugees, my dad had family over here. I played football a little bit in Africa, but it wasn’t serious, just a kick-around with mates.
“When I came to Australia, I wasn’t really playing football, back then everything was about AFL. So I played AFL for a bit. I guess I was too small for that.
“Then I went to basketball, I played that for a few years, then I went to football and I just fell in love basically and I just kept playing from there.
"My first season was in 2015, it was crazy how I started playing as well, as in pre-season I broke two bones in my leg.
“After that people around me were saying you probably shouldn’t got back to playing football. But after three months I was back into it again.”
Dweh began playing in the NPL WA Under-15s in 2015 as a 13-year-old, before the next year being moved up several age groups after he scored 10 goals in just eight matches for the Under-16s.
At the age of 15 he was playing for Stirling’s Under-20s, where he bagged five goals in 15 appearances, and earlier this year the striker made his senior NPL debut for Gwelup Croatia.
“I was with Stirling Lions for three, four years, then I moved to Inglewood United for a year and this year I was with Gwelup,” Dweh explained.
“I got moved up pretty quickly. This season and last season were probably my best seasons. I was playing Under-20s and this season was my debut year in the first-team.”
In August, the forward moved to Spain to join FC Malaga City Academy, before linking with CF Alhendin Balompie after a successful trial.
Dweh admits it has been an adjustment getting used to the demands of professional football and the language barrier.
“The club’s pretty good, it’s my first time playing in Spain,” he said.
“The season starts next week. The team that I’ve joined is in the second division. There’s a lot of training, more than I’ve done before.
"We train every day, Monday to Saturday and sometimes we have a game on Saturday, so we train Monday to Friday and then play.
“So it’s pretty full-on. The standard is very high, there’s a lot of good players here. The intensity is high as well. It’s exactly what I was after. That’s the goal at the moment, to get better, get better coaching.
“The language is very difficult but we take classes, three times a week. At the start I was like, what the hell, but now I’m getting a little bit better and understanding.”
Originally a right-back when he first started playing football, Dweh is now a forward or winger who can also fill in at number 10.
A Chelsea fan, he grew up idolising the likes of Belgium star Eden Hazard and Brazilian attacker Willian.
“I really looked at Hazard and Willian, because I’m a Chelsea fan,” he said.
“I really like the way they play.”
Dweh hopes to one day emulate other African refugees to Australia, like Awer Mabil and Jason Geria, and wear the green and gold.
“That’s another goal for me, playing for the Socceroos,” he added.