Nicholas Bilokapic is set to become the latest Australian prospect to head to Europe after the young goalkeeper signed a two-year scholarship deal with Championship side Huddersfield Town’s Academy.
The 17-year-old, who was previously with NPL NSW side Sydney United, spent December 2019 on trial with the Terriers after being spotted by the club’s goalkeeping coach Paul Clements, keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 friendly win over Scottish side Hibernian
A member of Australia’s squad at the 2019 U17 World Cup in Brazil – one of two Sydney United players in Head Coach Trevor Morgan’s squad, the other being Michael Ruhs – Bilokapic has since begun to press his case for Young Socceroos selection under Gary van Egmond.
The youngster, whose Croatian heritage means he doesn’t require a work permit to complete the move, made seven appearances for United’s U20 side during the 2019 NPL NSW season, as well as a further 13 for the club’s U18 side.
“We’re really excited to welcome Nicholas to the Huddersfield Town Academy,” Head of Academy Recruitment Emyr Humphreys told the club’s website.
“He has real physical attributes in terms of his frame and athleticism and real ability with his feet, plus he has a calmness that is really welcome in a goalkeeper.
“He still has a lot of room for improvement, and our coaching and games programme will give him every opportunity to fulfil his potential.”
Bilokapic is the second young Australian goalkeeper on the books at the West Yorkshire club, 19-year-old former Sydney United and Marconi custodian Jacob Chapman recently making the first-team bench for the first time in a Championship game against Fulham earlier in February.
Huddersfield’s most famous Australian link is their former star Aaron Mooy. The Socceroos midfielder made over 100 appearances at Kirklees Stadium, including 65 in the Premier League.
After initially being loaned to Brighton & Hove Albion following the Terrier’s relegation, he was permanently sold to the South coast side for an undisclosed fee in January.
Huddersfield currently sits 19th in the Championship, just two points above the drop zone to league one.