Spirit Stories: meet Aria Samimi, proudly local, fiercely determined

Aria and the MYL 16s 2022 team

“He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” ― James Allen.

The level of discipline and dedication that it takes to get to the top of any profession is one that separates the ones who don’t make it, to the ones who make it to the very top. 

18-year-old, Aria Samimi is an embodiment of just one of the many young talents at Spirit working hard to make a name for themselves in the world of football. Unlike many others his age, Aria’s drive to become the best he can be, has opened up opportunities for him to further his abilities on and off the pitch. 

Forging an early love for football in under 12’s at North West Sydney Football (NWSF) local club, Thornleigh Thunder, Aria was scouted into the NWSF Academy, while continuing to train with his club side. Aria was then successfully selected into Spirit’s AYL squad at under 13’s. After becoming one of the AYL U13’s key players that season under the guidance of head coach Steve Hainsworth, Aria was selected into Spirit’s MYL 14s the next year.

Aria in his first year of MYL football

“Coming in from AYL to Spirit was a whole different ball game.”

The transition into Spirit’s MYL 14’s squad brought greater demand on performance, and higher expectations for all players to meet, pushing Aria to work towards getting to that next level to be able to compete with his teammates. After changing positions for the needs of the team that season, Aria found himself adapting more to the challenges of the MYL program, and began to feature in the starting team more and more frequently when it came to matchday. 

Aria’s first season in the Spirit side proved to be successful on an individual level, with Aria forging a stepping stone for his future as a key player at Spirit.

“Lockdown was a bit of a lonely period, but I was still trying to push myself to the same high standards.”

During the COVID-19 lockdown period, online training sessions had become the norm for all teams and coaches, with players needing to rely on their own initiative to keep fit and healthy under the circumstances. In accordance with training and fitness exercises set by coaches, Aria set a strict routine for himself, which included waking up at 7:30, going out for two 5km runs per day, balancing school work and individual training, as well as keeping his mental health in check. 

Aria and the MYL 16s 2022 team

All the little sacrifices I believe, help an individual grow; both physically and mentally.”

At 18 years old and fresh out of high school, Aria  has continued to maintain his focus to be the best footballer he can be in Spirit’s AYL U18s program.

Taking inspiration from Mohammed Salah’s determination to make it to professional football at all costs, Aria’s commitment to being the best dates back to his first year at Spirit at under 12’s, where he had to take two buses to get to and from training three times a week. Acknowledging his parents’ work and familial obligations, Aria used the challenge as an opportunity, and learning curve, to show just how important it is to make sacrifices in order to achieve a goal. 

Many coaches at Spirit comment on Aria’s tribal mindset and willingness to work hard for the team as one of his X-Factors, noting the sacrifices that he makes as a big reason for why he has continued to improve on the pitch. 

“In the future, I hope to get into first grade as soon as possible and then hopefully into Europe; but that all starts with hard work, and if you put the work in it, there might be a chance.”

By Renesh Krishnan
Renesh Krishnan is an aspiring football journalist at NWSF who currently studies a Bachelor of Media and Communications at Macquarie University. Playing for NWSF club, West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook Lions FC, since under 5’s, Renesh and his family have been a part of the NWSF community since 2009. With a passion for creative writing, public speaking, and all things football, Renesh looks to tell the unique stories and journeys of everyone at NWSF, helping bring the community closer together.

Connect with Renesh on Instagram / Twitter / email


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