In getting to know some of the Club’s younger players, fulhamfc.com will pay a regular visit to our Under-21 and Under-18 squads in the hope of putting our young hopefuls in the spotlight. Today we spoke to Under-21 defender James Musa who talked us through his fledgling career so far and his journey from Plymouth to New Zealand.
You were born in Devon but grew up in New Zealand, how did that move come about?
My dad used to work at a hospital down in Plymouth and then one of his colleagues went over to New Zealand and she sorted him out with a job so we relocated – my whole family went over there. It’s a nice place; it’s a good place to grow up. I was six, turning seven when I went out there so was pretty young. My parents and my sister are still out there but I’ve got a lot of family back here and I’ve also got my dad’s family in Zimbabwe.
Was it quite daunting coming back to the UK on your own then?
I didn’t feel particularly daunted coming here on my own as I’ve been back a few times to see family and I’ve been on a couple of trials over here. But I think now I’m a bit older and more mature I can look after myself. My family is still there to support me and if I do get into trouble I’m sure they’d be on the next flight out! I keep in contact with them every day so it’s almost as if I’m at home anyway.
You secured a contract with the Club after impressing on trial – you must have played well in those pre-season matches?
I played two trial games and they went alright. Obviously I didn’t really know anyone so it’s always good to come in and make a statement so the other players start to respect you and you do your best to make an immediate impact so I thought I did okay. All the players are really friendly here and we all get on really well so it was good.
Can you give us a bit of an insight into your career before you moved to SW6?
There is one team from New Zealand [Wellington Phoenix] that plays in the A-League [Australia's top league] and someone I knew got me a trial with them. I did quite well so I was signed as an injury replacement for a couple of weeks and then I did well during that spell which led to a full-time contract for the next season. I was only around 17, 18 then and was there for a season and played three games in the A-League. Then I was released, along with a lot of other players, at the end of that season as the owner left so they had to release a lot of players. Then I joined up with the New Zealand Under-20 side and went to the U20 World Cup last year. I played in that where we did alright and came back to New Zealand and just played locally to try and help me get into the Olympic team. I managed to do that and then obviously played in that and I must have done reasonably well as it got me to Fulham!
What was it like playing in the Olympic Games at Old Trafford?
Especially coming from a country like New Zealand, it’s every kids’ dream to play in big stadiums like Wembley and Old Trafford so to be able to do it and to get something out of it [moving to Fulham] was pretty special.
Is the Barclays Premier League popular in New Zealand?
We get most of the Premier League games televised back in New Zealand and I tried to watch most games when I could and I try to focus on people in my position to see what they do in different situations. It will be good to get along to some games at Craven Cottage and feel like I’m part of the Club – that will be pretty cool.
What ambitions do you hope to achieve here at Fulham?
In the immediate future, because I’m on a short-term, one-year contract, I’m looking to extend that by doing well over the next year. I want to impress the right people with my work ethic and the way I do things and hopefully I’ll get re-signed for a long period of time. Looking beyond that, maybe I could go out on loan in the future to try and get some game-time at other clubs and then, obviously, in the long-term I want to make a career out of football, playing regularly and consistently at the highest level, week-in, week-out in the Premier League. I think it’s every footballer’s dream to do that and obviously I’m in a really good position to do that and make it come true so I’ve just got to take it with both hands and make the most of it. There are a lot of people sitting at home who would die to be in the position I’m in and so I’m determined to make the most of it.