Tratt's Sydney Derby heroics five years in the making
Jacob Tratt’s second coming with Sydney FC has been somewhat of a whirlwind, much like how it was when the young defender first joined the Sky Blues in 2013.
Tratt became an instant Sydney FC hero on Saturday night when he marked his long-awaited Hyundai A-League debut for the club with a match-sealing goal in the 3-1 win over bitter rivals Western Sydney Wanderers.
The 24-year-old was only called into the squad on game day after training with the youth team in the morning, with Alex Wilkinson struck down with gastro.
Having only been signed by the club on an injury-replacement deal last month, Tratt’s opportunity probably came sooner than expected, similar to his first stint with the Sky Blues five years ago.
Plucked from the Sutherland Sharks Under-20 team, Tratt was soon rubbing shoulders with Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero on Sydney FC’s pre-season tour of Italy.
“I managed to get a trial at the Sydney FC youth team and Steve Corica gave me a call after a couple of weeks and said we want to sign you,” Tratt told www.a-league.com.
“And then he asked me if I wanted to come to Italy with the first-team as well and two days later I was in Italy with Del Piero…that was an amazing experience.”
Tratt went on to skipper Sydney FC’s youth team – which was coached by Corica – to the NYL title but in three seasons at the club never made a first-team appearance.
The Dubbo-born defender spent time with NPL NSW clubs Sutherland Sharks and Sydney United before finally getting his shot in the Hyundai A-League with Wellington Phoenix during the 2016/17 Season.
“I was under Ernie Merrick for a couple of months and though he ended up leaving I was grateful for the opportunity that he gave me, I definitely developed as a player there.”
“Unfortunately, I burnt out a little bit and ended up having a bit of time off football but I think that in the long run it’s definitely helped me with the mental side of the game.
“Although it’s been a tough journey I couldn’t be happier for it to be honest.
“I feel right now that the stuff that I’ve learnt over the past few years has helped me develop into the player that I am right now.”
And that’s a player that has a Sydney Derby goal to his name following his impact off the bench at ANZ Stadium last Saturday night.
Known for his prowess in the air, Tratt rose highest to meet Brandon O’Neill’s pinpoint corner to power his header in from close range to continue Sydney FC’s derby dominance.
“It was unreal, especially in front of my family and friends,” Tratt said.
“That morning I was training with the youth team and then was told you’re playing with the first team tonight.
“It was a bit late for my family to come up from Dubbo but they caught it on TV.”
Tratt and his Sky Blues teammates head to Perth this week for Friday night’s blockbuster clash against league-leaders Glory at nib Stadium, with kick-off at 9pm (AEDT).