The latest Australian goalkeeper making saves in Germany

    It is no secret that Germany is a great place for Australians to learn their trade in one of football’s most crucial positions.

    Frank Juric, Mark Schwarzer and Mitchell Langerak have all spent time between the sticks in a country that is renowned for its interesting goalkeeping techniques and training.

    There is however another young Australian who is progressing through the ranks in Germany, hoping to eclipse the performances of the previous 3 Australian goalkeepers to have played there.

    Ben Becker was born in Sydney, but the talented 15-year-old now calls Germany home; after spending the past two seasons with Borussia Monchengladbach – his 13-year-old brother Charlie, also plays at the club.

    The boys moved to the country of their mother’s birth, Germany – to pursue a career in football after the family believed they could no longer develop any further in Australia.

    This is not an unusual story, with more and more children trying their luck overseas – after reaching what they perceive to be a bottleneck in terms of Australian development.

    Ben was initially offered trials with Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke, but – saw his dreams cruelly crushed by something, that was completely out of his control – the world-wide pandemic

    His determination however did finally pay off, when Borussia Monchengladbach followed up initial interest and signed the player to his first ever contract.

    Becker is your traditional modern-day keeper, equally comfortable with the ball at his feet as he is plucking crosses out of the air.

    He has greatly benefitted from the individual goalkeeping training in Germany – only linking up with the rest of his Monchengladbach’s team mates once a week, for training as a group and on actual match days.

    Ben’s junior football was played at one of Australia’s most renown youth development clubs, Apia Leichardt.

    Leichardt also have a direct connection to the Nick Rizzo Academy, which is where Ben also spent time.

    While it’s debateable if the Nick Rizzo Academy is the best in Australia, younger brother Charlie saw his early growth, at possibly Australia’s most fast rising new academy – Futboltec, which is ran by former A-League players Jason and Glen Trifiro

    Where this story gets very interesting, from a potential point of view – is the star quality of the Apia Leichardt junior team that Ben was a part of in 2017

    Becker’s team mates in this age group, included two well known Australia-born youngsters I have previously written articles about – Danilo Treffiletti and Noah Slunjski.

    Monza playmaker Treffiletti appears set to debut for Italy before the end of the season, while Hadjuk Split attacker Slunjski has already been capped for Croatia at under age level.

    Alessio Genova is currently trialling overseas and looks like being the fourth member of this side to sign for a European club.

    Closer to home, Oliver Sacks and Jaydon Ellis are already with Sydney Fc, while Liam Ippolito plays for the Central Coast Mariners.

    Mitchell Langerak spent several years with Borussia Dortmund. (Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images)

    Massimo Papallo and Alex Tilloca have been selected for the NSW schoolboys under age side & 5 other teenagers from this team are currently in the FNSW talent support program.

    Based on the potential career trajectory of players, this group of players who were all together at under 10’s – with a little bit of luck could go down as one of the best junior sides to ever be produced in Australia

    Ben is the latest of this group, to have given no indication yet of where his international future lies -the country of his birth, Australia or that of his mothers, Germany

    In a sliding doors moment, he is working on learning the language and has already begun the necessary paperwork to obtain a German passport.

    This doesn’t guarantee that Ben Becker is lost to Australia – both these steps are very common for any Australian teenager living in a foreign country with nationality options.

    The Sydney born German based gloves man, has plenty of time to decide where his future lies.

    In the meantime, fans will debate where Becker’s former under 10s class of 2017 with Apia Leichardt – ranks in terms of potentially Australia’s greatest ever junior football team.

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