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Player Profile: Adam Mealin – Opportunity Knocks

Adam Mealin Opportunity Knocks Adam Mealin is proof positive that FC Isle of Man provides opportunities for all players on the island, no matter your age or development path.

Although he had star potential in local younger age group football and was a regular player in those same age group National teams, Mealin drifted out of the game for a short while in his late teens.

And while he returned to the sport within a couple of years, he struggled initially to find that form and confidence that he had demonstrated at a younger age. Not even selected for the Ravens’ initial pre-selection trials in the spring of 2020, Adam was ultimately plunged into the limelight that winter.

The Pandemic had put paid to what should have been the Ravens’ first season in the NWCFL, and the club put everything into the two friendlies against Guernsey in August and September of that year and a charity game in December against an Isle of Man Football Association team.

Injuries abounded ahead of the IOMFA game, and with some of the Ravens players lining up for the opposition, Mealin, now starting to find his form with his local club side, was thrust into Ravens starting line-up that evening and took his opportunity with both hands as he played a starring role as FC Isle of Man defeated the IOMFA side 4-2.

‘Addy’ has not looked back since and was a shoe in for the Boss’s initial NWCFL squad announced at the start of this season. Injury and unavailability have meant that that the 26-year-old hasn’t played as much as he would have liked but when he has played, he has had provided some big moments, especially his Man of the Match performance against Stafford Town in November.

Joe Reid and The Editor had a natter with him to get his thoughts on the whole Ravens experience and to find what extra-curricular activity he enjoys away from football.

FCIOM
Most of the Ravens players have come through a similar development path through national age group football. Your journey’s been a little different, although you were a bit of a rising star in your early teens. At senior level you could be classed as a late developer, why was that?

Adam Mealin
My first ever team was Marown when I was a kid. I played with Ste Whitley and Dan Simpson there and I was way better than them (laughing)! But I became a bit of a journeyman and played for a few teams before taking a bit of a break from the sport and didn’t get back playing until I was 21.

When I came back, I couldn’t even get in Marown’s reserve team! However, with a little maturity I knew I had to work pretty hard to improve and here I am now part of this magnificent experience.

FCIOM
It look a while for you to get a chance in the team, but your debut at Cammel Laird was pretty spectacular. What’s your favourite moment form the season so far?

AM
From a personal point of view, it was my debut away at Cammell Laird. I started the game and got an assist within a minute so that was a nice feeling! I also won the man of the match award in the home game against Stafford so that was another highlight. I still need to score though so when I do that, I’m sure that’ll be another memorable moment!

Just being part of the team in general is great. At the start of the season, I thought I’d just be a fan who watches games from the side line so to become part of it has been fantastic.

FCIOM
The demands on the players are high and nobody can take their foot off the peddle. What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learnt from the season?

AM
I need to start believing in myself. That’s one thing I’ve been made aware of this year. I always want to do better and make improvements to my game. The tactical side of things has been a big learning curve this year and something I’ve never paid much attention to before.

I’ve also been making changes off the pitch too, early nights, lots of sleep, improving my diet and just generally being careful with my lifestyle choices. In the early part of the season, I found I was hitting a wall at around 11am in the day so I knew I had to change something in my routine.

FCIOM
There’s some fierce competition for your favourite position. What do you need to do to make that right wing spot your own?

AM
To be honest I didn’t even expect to get as much playing time as I already have! I had booked a lot of holidays in the year which have affected my availability as I didn’t expect to be such a regular part of it all. I also had an injury in preseason so missed the opening period.

Next season will be different now that I’m know I’m a part of it all and can be more positive about it! I thought best case scenario this year would see me being a squad player so to end up having some starts and a run in the team has opened my eyes to what could be the case if I committed more to it.

My work rate is something which I think helps me stand out as I’ve been used to tracking back so if I can improve my game when I’m on the ball then I think that’ll put me in good shape.

FCIOM
Not that there’s much time for other interested but what do you do outside of football?

AM
I have a big passion for wildlife! Animals are a big one for me. I met my partner in South Africa and since then we’ve become safari guides and I often go back to South Africa on holiday. I’m an Arsenal fan and like to go to watch their games when I can, and then I watch a lot of sport in general.