Words: ACFC Media
Tuesday 26 July 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Nathan Lobo played his last game for Auckland City FC at Kiwitea Street as he pursues a new academic and football adventure in the USA.
The 19-year-old left back has had an outstanding season for the Navy Blues making 20 appearances for Albert Riera's team and scoring two goals.
Lobo originally made his breakthrough at Kiwitea Street with the club's National Youth League team before finding game time in the New Zealand Football Championship with Waitakere United.
Last year he played for Birkenhead United and signed for Auckland City FC earlier this year.
Riera said: "We wish Nathan all the best and of course he'll be welcome back here at Kiwitea Street anytime.
"I'm sure Nathan will miss his team-mates at the club and we'll miss him as well.
"We wish him every success."
For Lobo leaving the club at such a pivotal moment is difficult but he is clearly excited by the challenges that are set before him in the USA.
"I'm going to play for Seattle U, where one of my former team-mates Campbell Strong is, so I'm looking forward to it.
"But it's tough to leave behind such a great group of team-mates here at Auckland City FC.
"Everyone was so welcoming and accepting from the minute I walked through the door.
"They knew me from my Auckland City FC Youth League days and treated me like I never left and so it's hard to leave," he said.
Working under Riera and his coaching staff has been a positive experience and Lobo believes he's learned a lot in a short time.
"Albert is a great coach, I don't think I've ever had anyone as tactically aware as he is.
"He always comes up with something new for each game, e always wants to win games and he's very driven.
"I think that drive has shown up in how well we've played this season," Lobo said.
Lobo will study diagnostic ultrasound which means a switch into the medical field from what he was doing previously.
Seattle's season starts in early August with pre-season games then play non-conference games to achieve a ranking within the country.
Once a conference is determined they play in a national tournament at the end.
Improving academically and helping his new team reach their objectives is now his new end goal.
But before he set off on that new pathway, Lobo left a parting message to everyone at Auckland City FC:
"I would just like to say thank you to everyone at Kiwitea Street who made me feel welcome.
"To Albert and the coaching staff, to my team-mates, the people behind the scenes at the club who make it what it is and especially our supporters.
"You've made my return to the club a great experience and I wish everyone a successful outcome for the challenges ahead."
Nathan Lobo's final game for the club will be in the OFC Champions League on Friday 5 August 2022 at Ngahue Reserve when Auckland City FC take on Hienghene Sport.
Striv3: A Pathway for Success in Sport
Lobo's move to the USA came about due to the help provided by Striv3.
You can find out more about what Striv3 do by visiting their website here.
v Western Springs, Sat 25 March 2023, Kiwitea Street, KO: 3pm NZST