Jose Bello Amigo is a 28-year old goalkeeper born in Spain who calls Australia home.
His career has seen him play with St George Saints, Leichhardt Tigers and Canterbury-Mackville in Sydney before heading back to Spain where he spent eight years with Racing de Ferrol, Poli Ejio and Jerez Industrial.
tribalfootball.com caught up with Jose for an exclusive interview where he discusses his time in Spain, his new business and his views on Real Madrid and Barcelona having a stranglehold on football in his native country.
tf.com - What was the wash-up of your time in Spain? What happened at your previous clubs Racing de Ferrol and Poli Ejido before you moved to play with Jerez?
JBA - “Spain was the fulfillment of many years of hard work and dedication, I consider my experience to be very positive and satisfying. My years at Racing were special because it's were my journey began. Being an unknown, not having an agent and literary walking into a Presidents office to ask for a trial made it a unique experience.
“Luis Cesar Sampredo, the head coach at the time, became my mentor and through the years his guidance was extremely valuable in my progression. I played 122 games with Racing and it became the perfect platform to promote oneself.
“When Poli Deportivo approached me I was finishing my contract at Racing and I signed a pre-contract in March, which secured the agreement. I had the chance of moving to Gimnastic de Tarragona with Luis Cesar but Poli's interest and the conditions they provided me with convinced me. Moving to the South was exactly what I was looking for both professionally and for climate reasons.
“Poli's infrastructure was modern and highly professional, training grounds, gyms, services, lifestyle, were all ideal for any footballer. My years at Poli were challenging due to injury, operation and relegation. I had just renewed my contract and with one year left the club began to experience financial difficulties.
“Eventually they forced out several players and I ended up in court. The court case was the most unfortunate experience that I had to live through. Clubs can become very spiteful and corruption is present amongst several institutions. I won the court case and decided to move to Jerez were my partner was from.
“I ended up signing with Jerez industrial to keep active and they had put together a competitive squad with the aim of winning promotion to 2b. We achieved this goal and it was then that I waited for news of a possible contract but the Financial Crisis was already affecting several sectors and clubs felt the blow.
“Several clubs have since gone into receivership, others simply disappeared due to insolvency, others continue but the conditions have changed dramatically. The current debt in Spanish Football is enormous and a lot is owed to the lower divisions. Money is still owed to me today.”
tf.com - What was your decision to return to Australia based on?
JBA - “My decision was motivated by the increasingly deteriorating economic conditions in Spanish Football. I received some interest to sign with 2b clubs but I had lost confidence in the system, there was no guarantee of payment and the atmosphere became very pessimistic. I had been speaking to friends in Sydney and a childhood friend had began a company 3 years ago called Soccajoeys Pre-School Soccer. He had grown significantly and was expanding the business.
“We spoke and I thought it was an ideal opportunity to invest in something that appealed to me. My partner and I purchased a franchise and we are very happy with the results that we have been achieving since the program began in February. I have also created a goalkeeping program called position 1 goalkeeping (www.position1goalkeeping.com.au) and we are working in other areas related to Football.”
tf.com - What are your plans now? Are you seeking an A-League contract at all or are you happy to remain playing at the level you are?
JBA - “As I mentioned above my plans are consolidating the business and pursuing goals within other areas. The A-League is definitely attractive and being 31 I still feel competitive and physically strong although the mind set is focused on the business. I'm happy in the Premier League because of the training arrangements and I've been given the opportunity to train the keepers at Marconi, which allows me to introduce a lot of methods and concepts that I learned in Spain. Although it may appear difficult I've learned not to disregard anything and often situation can arise that are unexpected and one must be prepared to step up. I would love to experience the A-League.”
tf.com - There has been recent links to a Spanish player who is also in Sydney, Alberto Manga. Do you believe football in Australia is beginning to attract more Europeans, particularly the Spanish?
JBA - “Australian football is definitely appealing it just depends on the player’s ambition and motivation. I think a European player must give the A-League the respect it deserves and not think of Australia as simply a holiday destination.
“I believe that the A-League will continue to grow and its Asian counterparts have extremely affluent leagues which will draw more players. Undoubtedly Australia's lifestyle is attractive to all and I feel that many Spanish players from 2nd division could provide the A-League with quality and diversity.
“I speak to many teammates who are always asking about the league. Obviously the financial conditions will also influence in a players decision to shift his family abroad.”
tf.com - Can you see Spanish players moving to Australia to take up contracts with A-League clubs?
JBA - “It only takes one to sign a contract and the rest will follow. The repercussions of a Spanish player signing a contract in Australia will be very positive amongst the Spanish media. Australian Clubs provide a high level of infrastructure, modern stadiums, high quality lifestyle and the opportunity to play in the Asian Champions League. All the fundamental elements are in place it just depends on the player’s motivation.”
JBA - “That’s a good question...We have definitely seen a shift. This year the points difference is mind boggling. There’s a difference of 20 odd points between 2nd and 3rd. Spain has a fantastic league, personally being as objective as possible I think it's the highest quality, both technically and visually.
“The league will continue to grow although I definitely see a pattern for the following years with Barca and Madrid competing against each other for the championship. Clubs such as Valencia, Sevilla and Athletico will have to perform at another level if they want to challenge the league. But at the same time those clubs battle for European qualification and that's a very lucrative incentive.
“Barcelona’s philosophy has helped them construct perhaps the best playing team of our generation while Madrid have had to continuously purchase players to conquer the Titles. I think all the lovers of Football and romantics of the game prefer the Barcelona Philosophy.”
tf.com - 2010 being a World Cup year, I have to ask who you think will win the tournament and why?
“Spain have over the past 7 years been developing a very young, talented, humble and extremely united squad. Luis Aragones changed the Philosophy of selection and introduced a lot of young talent. He chose performances and consistency over curriculums and past accomplishments. Players stood up and took advantage.
“This increased the level of performances and players realized that performing highly on a week to week basis could have you called up to the national team. The team has evolved tremendously and the players have reached the age of professional maturity, confidence, self belief and the experience of winning the European Cup. I think that there is no country at this current moment that can outplay Spain but games are not always won by who plays the more attractive football.
“Argentina have an amazing squad with the world’s best player (Lionel Messi) in the form of his career (22years old!!). If Messi's team mates like (Carlos) Tevez, (Diego) Milito, (Gonzalo) Higuain maintain their extraordinary form and the rest elevate their game to theuir true potential I think that either Spain or Argentina will come close to winning the Holy Grail.”