Adelaide United NPL captain Josh Mori never thought he would play against his father and head coach of Adelaide City, Damian, as the clubs lock horns in the Round 3 clash at the Parks Football Centre on Saturday.
Josh played under his father in his days with Adelaide City in both the juniors and seniors before leaving for the Reds in mid-2016. Current Newcastle Jets A-League coach Mark Jones was with United’s youth setup at the time gave the 19-year-old an opportunity.
Damian is a renowned figure in Australian football and has played a total of 45 games for the Socceroos and formerly held the all-time leading goal scorer record on 29 before Tim Cahill surpassed it in 2014.
Josh said the move to United was a breath of fresh air, after admitting there may have been cynics who believed there was some nepotism.
“I think with the dad thing, pressure came… everyone wants to compare me to him and we know we’re not the same player,” Josh told FourFourTwo.
“I definitely know that and I’ve got my own identity so last couple of years I’ve been trying to just get away from that.
“With City, a lot of people were criticising dad saying ‘why’s he playing Josh, is it because it’s his son?’ and things like that. But at United I’m starting games there based on my merit and ability. My ability was there but maybe people were thinking ‘maybe it’s just because of his dad’.
“Going towards United now, it’s given me my own identity so I’m not relying on my dad, which I never was… so it’s good to break away from there and not show who I am and not be under him anymore.”
Josh currently lives at home with both parents and he joked about being the favourite in the household should the Reds win, as mother Josie and sister Olivia will be attending the match.
The teenager was born in Viersen, Germany after Damian spent a season with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Josh said he was proud of his father, after watching highlights of him in his prime, admitting it gave him goose bumps to see his impact in Australian football.
“Dad’s taught me everything I know about the game and the player I am today, I wouldn’t be in this position without him to be very honest,” Josh said.
“It’s weird really. I never thought I’d play against my father… having him coach against me, it’s going to be a strange feeling but I’m just going to go out there and do my job. Hopefully get the three points as well and I’m looking forward to it.”
Josh aspires to play in the A-League one day, his versatility includes being able to play as a midfielder centrally and on both wings, as well as an attacking-midfielder.
The 19-year-old is currently the skipper of the Reds’ youth and NPL side, juggling his Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Business, Finance degree.
Josh also said getting full games under his belt was a goal in progressing as a player.
“Hopefully one day I can play with United (A-League), but with any team really,” he said.
“My goal and dream is to play at the highest level possible and hopefully have a career in football.
“Playing full games this year, get into the top six, do well in the league and hopefully get something out of it.
“I just want to give it everything I’ve got, have no regrets at the end of the year and hopefully another opportunity arises whether it’s at United or elsewhere.”
Main Photo: Josh dribbles the ball for the Reds against Adelaide Comets. By 80kms/Adam Butler Photography