• Tom Whiteside, right, in action against Usain Bolt (AAP)Source: AAP
NPL star Tom Whiteside has had a taste of what life could be like playing for Macarthur South West Sydney in the A-League, and is hoping he can do it again when they officially join the competition in season 2020-21.
By
Nick Houghton

18 Dec 2018 - 4:15 PM  UPDATED 18 Dec 2018 - 4:15 PM

The 23-year-old, who captained a Macarthur South West select side against Usain Bolt and the Central Coast Mariners earlier this year, believes news of A-League expansion would be "music to the ears" of NPL players just like him desperate for an opportunity to play professionally.   

The Newcastle Jets youth product helped Sydney Olympic to a premiership-championship double this past season, in what was a breakout year for the central defender.

Whiteside's performances helped win the praises of former A-League star and Macarthur South West select coach Nicky Carle who said he was “surprised” Whiteside had not been picked up by an A-League club.

However, like many NPL and national youth league players, lack of opportunities have meant his dream of playing in the A-League has yet to materialise.

It is something the rising star is hopeful will change with the addition of two more clubs.

“Chances to play professionally in Australia are few and far between, and you’ve got to be ready to make the most of anything which comes your way or you risk being left behind,” Whiteside said.

“Hearing that there is going to be another two teams looking for players is definitely music to the ears of any young player desperate for their chance.

“Knowing that there will be more opportunities to break into the A-League, in the very near future, makes it an exciting time for players like myself.”

Despite his whirlwind time as a Macarthur South West player, Whiteside said the experience to play against Bolt and the Mariners is one he won’t forget anytime soon.

"It was an absolute honour to be picked for (select) side and to play in that game," he said.

"Everything was done on very short notice but the chance to captain the team and mark the fastest man on the planet was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“The atmosphere on the night was amazing, and if a crowd like that turned up to a friendly match then I’m sure there will be plenty of support for Macarthur South West Sydney when they are in the A-League."