Elementary Dear Watson

In a footballing sense, there is little doubt why Bengaluru FC’s new head coach Albert Roca wanted to bring in Cameron Watson.

In a footballing sense, there is little doubt why Bengaluru FC’s new head coach Albert Roca wanted to bring in Cameron Watson. The lanky Australian fits the coach’s mould for a midfield player and has all the attributes that are needed to keep the team ticking.

But perhaps what is more interesting is the sense of fate, sceptical as one might be on its existence, that he was always likely to travel across the sea’s to ply his trade in India.

Right from a call from former Bengaluru FC striker Sean Rooney which turned his head, to his relationship with coach Arthur Papas, who had quite a few stints in India, which led to Watson getting the confirmation he needed to make the switch.

“I had come back to Melbourne to kind of restart my career and was playing for a year-and-a-half in the local league. I was 21 at that time, trying to get back into the A-League. Papas was just beginning his coaching development. He was very passionate about me getting back to playing at the top-level. He was a big help and always there for good advice. He had a lot of good things to say about not just this club, but the country as a whole,” said Watson when asked how his move to the I-League champions came about.

Fate, or not, as as his move to India may be, playing football was an inevitability for Watson.

“My dad is from Scotland and mum is from England. Dad played professionally in Scotland and moved to Australia in the 80s after my brother was born. A lot of my uncles have played in Scotland. They were Rangers supporters. As a kid I was watching football all the time,” he revealed in typical Australian nonchalance.

And perhaps it’s the European roots that made the 29-year-old choose to leave the nest and head to Portugal to further his youth career. A route that is not a norm in his country. A route far lonelier and gutsier for a teenager.

“I moved away from home at 16. I was training with Melbourne Victory. They had a practice match. There was a guy who was watching the game with my dad and his friend. He was Portuguese and asked if I had an intention of going overseas. So I gave him some footage and he sent it to FC Porto and Celtic. Celtic wanted me to go there. But I didn’t think Scottish football suited me. The Portuguese club style was more suited. So I ended up signing,” he opined.

But changes within the club threw a spanner into the works.

“It was an unbelievable club. It had everything. I signed a two year deal. After that, they changed the structure of the youth set up. That’s when I went to Holland. A loan deal for a year to Venlo. I learned a lot there. We got promoted. After that, it was tough for me to play because they brought in five or six guys from the top league. So I decided to head back to Australia. I wanted to get to A-League,” he stated.

It took a few years, and injuries hardly helped matters, but Watson did achieve his dream when he signed with Adelaide United, even playing the AFC Champions League, the pinnacle of the Asian club football competitions.

“Personally, it was the best time I have had playing football. I got to play in the Asian Champions League and that’s what every player wants,” he added on his time at the A-League club.

Now, a part of a side that is making inroads into the latter stages of the AFC Cup, Watson is looking forward to add more moments into his cherished memories list.

“I’ve got a few moments. One where I scored my first goal for the national team, the young Socceroos. Winning the SFA Cup with Adelaide in the first year, that was something special. We were on our home ground as well, in front of our fans. Hopefully, I can add from here as well,” he signed off slyly grinning at his fan moment when he met his hero Alessandro del Piero.

There is no big story there, just a fan meeting a legend. A dream come true.

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