Aleks Gogic is a nineteen year old American goalkeeper currently playing overseas in Europe. Originally coming from the Red Bulls academy, Gogic signed with Reading FC two years ago and is now playing with the Nike Academy after a successful trial in their Most Wanted setup.
What was your time with New York Red Bulls like?
When I look back at it, I enjoyed my time with the Red Bulls. I did have a couple of up and downs with them. We trained 3-4 times a week, the quality of the players was amazing, the coaching staff was good, and the Red Bulls was one of the few academies in the NJ/NY area that had a full time goalie coach that went to every session. Probably the only negative thing was that when I was with them, there were three keepers in the same age group and the coaches had split the playing time. So I didn’t get as much playing time as I hoped I could get.
Talk about your time with Reading. What stands out looking back?
My time at Reading was good in my eyes. Everything that happened in those two years helped me get better as a player and also helped me become more mature. I have to say the biggest difference between the two [New York and Reading] was that in Reading, all the players took the game to the next level because they were trying to make a living from playing the game. In NYRB, the players weren’t as serious to get better everyday.
How come you didn’t stay at Reading? Were they just not looking to re-sign or were you looking to move on?
I wanted to stay at Reading because the keeper training there was phenomenal and I felt like the coaches there could teach me so many things about football that I didn’t know. But unfortunately the club had too many keepers at that time so they didn’t resign most of them, and I just wasn’t good enough to make the cut.
How did signing for the Nike Academy come up? Since they’re not in a proper league, how is being on this team different than other teams you’ve played on?
My agent, Adam Jodoin, was looking for trials for me at the end of last season. He told me about an opening at the Nike Most Wanted trials. I thought it was a good idea to try it out so I spent a weekend at Saint George’s with 33 players from around the world. During that weekend, the Nike coaches liked me and they offered me a place at the Nike Academy. The only difference [between playing for Nike and a club in a league] is that instead of playing league games, we are only playing friendlies every week. But everything else is the same.
What’s the most impressive thing you’ve done with Nike?
Well I’ve only been with them for two months now, so not much has happened but I would have to say playing against PSG’s U19 team last weekend has to be the best thing that I’ve done with Nike. We traveled to France, toured around Paris, and saw the PSG first team play. Then we played the U19s at their training ground. They have to be best team that I’ve played against so far in my career.
How do contracts work with the Academy? Surely most of the players are looking to land to a club soon so how does Nike assist with that? Are you constantly looking to find another club or can you stay with the academy another year?
It’s like a one year contract but at the end of the year the coaches can give you another year. Nike helps us get trials at other clubs by helping us making video clips of our games, sending resumes about us, and playing against teams. I could stay at Nike for another year cause the age group is up to twenty-one and I’m still nineteen. But, yeah, I’m always checking to see if any clubs are looking for a keeper and if there are any trials around.
Are you looking to stay in Europe long term or is a return to the US preferred at some point?
I haven’t really gave that much of a thought, but hopefully I can stay in Europe in the early stages of my career so I can make a name of myself and hopefully end my career in MLS. But then again, I wouldn’t mind signing with an MLS team at this point.
What’s a common question you’re asked about being American?
That’s quite a hard one. Some questions are “Why do you guys call it soccer instead of football?” and people always ask if America is the same as how the movies portray it.
Are you a dual national with Poland? Am I reading that right?
Yeah, I have an American and Polish passport.
I know you’ve spent a little time with the USYNT but is there any interest in playing for Poland? Is one preferred over the other?
To be fair I haven’t thought about playing In the international level, but I would edge more towards America because I’ve lived there most of my life and I have already been part of their set up.