Just 18 months ago he was playing grass roots football at Ryan FC in Walthamstow, but this season right-back Huseyin Biler has earned a place in AFC Wimbledon’s first-team squad.
Huseyin, whose family are from Cyprus, has been in Wimbledon’s match day squads on several occasions during 2019/20 after a string of impressive displays in county cup competitions impressed Glyn Hodges.
Such a scenario is in stark contrast for Under-18s player Huseyin to playing non league football during the majority of his teenage years.
“I have only been at Wimbledon for a year and a half,” said Huseyin. “I came here after a trial in the summer before last. I was playing for a team called Ryan FC, based in Walthamstow. When I first started playing football I was turning out for Omonia Youth FC in Enfield. I was just enjoying playing my football every week, but I heard through a contact with Ben Fosuhene (Head of Talent ID) that there was a chance for a right-back. I did well in the trial and Robbo, James (Oliver-Pearce) and Jeremy (Sauer) decided to sign me.
“It meant everything to be given this opportunity because I’ve always wanted to play for a professional football club. After I was offered a chance here, I also looked up the history of AFC Wimbledon and I knew what the club meant to the fans. I love the environment here, I have seen all the hard work that people put in at this football club, and I wanted to be a part of this team. I got stuck in at training, showed what I was about, and I’m fortunate to have an opportunity at this club.”
Huseyin is aiming to follow in the footsteps of close friends Paul Osew and Jack Rudoni, two team-mates that have come through the academy to make their debuts this season.
“I am truly blessed, it has meant a lot to me to be in the first-team squad for matchdays this season. I thank the gaffer and all the first-team staff for seeing my potential. I know I got lucky that there was a few injuries for me to be in the squads, but I feel I must be doing something right to be in there. I have to keep my head down and keep working hard.
“All of the senior players have been very supportive. I’ve also known Paul Osew and Jack Rudoni since I first came in here, so I’m quite close to them. The fact that they’ve made their first-team debuts gives me confidence that there will be a first-team chance for me if I keep my head down, work hard, and show what I’m about. You can never take your foot off the gas. The manager was at the games earlier this season in the county cups and you never know who is watching you.
“When I was younger I had trials at Barnet and Leyton Orient, but I was not given a chance at those clubs. If I’m honest, I didn’t think I was ready anyway at the times when I went to those clubs. I had belief though that I had get an opportunity at a pro club if I kept working hard at my game. Now I’m here at Wimbledon and I’m aiming to make further progress.”