Semedo talks to BTEC students at Leyton Orient TrustPrior to joining the Leyton Orient Academy set up in 2013, aged 16, the Portuguese midfielder was part of the youth team in Benfica, Portugal. But even with a supportive family and friends network, living abroad hasn’t been plain sailing.
“It’s not easy, but if you want to do it, if anyone wants to be a professional footballer, they can be,” said the young hopeful.
Having left his father back in Portugal and departing home at such an early age, it is easy to see why it has been tough to get to his first professional contract.
Semedo studied a Level 2 BTEC in football and coaching provided by Leyton Orient Trust alongside a full time training programme, and such was his potential that after Leyton Orient youth team coach Daniel Webb had seen him play a couple of times, the young recruit was asked to train with the Academy and was subsequently offered his first professional two year contract in July 2015.
Semedo, currently on loan with National League South side Chelmsford City, is determined to fight for his place in the first team on a regular basis.
Talking about the BTEC that Leyton Orient Trust offered him, Semedo said, “It was really good. I understand coaching things; stuff that happens off the pitch. I learnt a lot. Looking at football as a whole package really affects what happens on the pitch as well as off the pitch. Especially coming from abroad it helps to teach the cultures and behaviors that could be different in new environments.”
Semedo has already helped with some community visits this season and whilst at the Score Centre he took the time to talk to the new BTEC students hoping to follow his path to success. They asked him lots of questions and learned about what it takes to get to your first professional contract.
Semedo added: “I want to reach the top; be the best I can be! Many students also aspire to this, but that doesn’t come without the hard work and passion”.
With his 16-year-old brother Evandro now part of the youth set up maybe we will see them playing alongside each other at Brisbane Road in the not too distant future.