The old adage of if at first you don’t succeed try and try again certainly applies to Tom Doyle.
The talented 22-year-old has hit many speed bumps during his pursuit of a career as a professional footballer, but his perseverance paid off today when he signed a two-year contract with the Wellington Phoenix.
For the past couple of weeks everyone was expecting Doyle to be signed by coach Ernie Merrick, but after previous disappointments the Team Wellington and Miramar defender didn’t want to count his chickens.
So much so that, arriving back in Wellington after an outstanding performance against West Ham United in his Phoenix debut Doyle asked not to do any media interviews.
“I didn’t want to jinx it because I wanted it so much,” a smiling Doyle said today.
“I just wanted to keep my head down and show Ernie that I was up to the job.
“Hearing I was getting a contract was a massive relief and now I have to go for it and show the coach he has made the right decision.
“Since I was a five-year-old I’ve wanted to be a professional footballer because it is the best job in the world.”
Doyle, who began his playing career with Central United, will always be grateful for the help he received from former All White Danny Hay while playing for Sacred Heart 1st XI.
“Danny got me trials in England with Crewe Alexandra and Leyton Orient but it didn’t work out and when I returned to New Zealand I missed out on selection to the team for the Under-20 World Cup,” he says.
“That was a massive setback for me. It really shattered me.
“I then had to decide where to go to university. It was a toss-up between Wellington and America.
“Opting for Wellington allowed me to play for Miramar and I was chosen for the Phoenix’ Football School of Excellence.”
Doyle freely admits he didn’t take the opportunity offered to him at that time.
“Perhaps we were given too much when we went into that environment and were training with the first team every day,” he remembers.
“Some of the boys, notably Tyler (Boyd) and Louis (Fenton) were able to cope but I didn’t.
“I was living with seven mates in a ‘university type’ lifestyle and didn’t do myself justice at the FSE.”
It was a completely different Tom Doyle who came into the Phoenix environment at the start of this pre-season after showing how he had matured by captaining Miramar and being part of the leadership group with Team Wellington.
“I was gutted when I was released from the FSE and was determined it wouldn’t happen a second time,” he says.
“I now have sensible living arrangements, am eating well and preparing well.”
Doyle describes his debut against English Premier League side West Ham United as an “unreal” experience but says it is only the start of what he hopes will be a successful career.
“The hard work begins now,” he said.
“It is like going to university. Once you earn a place you have to work hard to get your degree.”
Doyle is doing a degree in Graphic Design at Massey University but has dropped his studies to part time to concentrate more on enjoying “the best job in the world”.