Playing football for Gibraltar

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Ambassador - Jayce Olivero

I have always been enthusiastic about sport and I think it’s an element which should be present in every individual’s life. It has always been an integral part of my life. I thoroughly enjoy learning how sport, exercise and nutrition have an effect on our bodies both mentally and physically. As a result of this, I chose to study this course. This course is a multidisciplinary degree which equips you with the vocational, professional and academic knowledge required for those with aspirations for a successful career in coaching and teaching. This degree requires your practical involvement in sport and physical activity in order to systematically challenge and critique the theoretical aspects of Sport, Coaching and Physical Education.

I started playing football at the age of five, rising through the clubs youth set up and playing at the highest domestic level in Gibraltar. To my surprise, I first debuted for the senior Gibraltar Premier League team at the age of fifteen.

I consider myself to be a very keen sportsman and an active person, participating in several sporting events and activities. I have played for Lions Gibraltar FC since I started playing football at the age of five, rising through the clubs youth set up and playing at the highest domestic level in Gibraltar as a left full-back. To my surprise, I first debuted for the senior Gibraltar Premier League team at the age of fifteen, making over ten appearances in the starting eleven and a further six from the bench.

In the following season I was a first team regular, making over twenty starting appearances for the team. I was awarded Gibraltar’s most promising under-15 player for the 2013/14 Season.

I have also been a squad member of every Gibraltar National Squad since the age of seven, playing in international development tournaments until Gibraltar’s acceptance into UEFA, where I had the privilege to represent my country in every Euro qualifying stage at U17’s, U19’s and U21’s level, the highlight was captaining the National U17 squad during the U17 Euro Qualifiers, in Dublin, where Gibraltar obtained its first official point in a UEFA competitive match. The experience of playing youth internationals has been an integral part of my progression and development as a footballer. The youth internationals really helped me to step up my game and allowed me to reflect and act upon a lot of areas of my game. The youth internationals significantly improved my knowledge of the game and throughout the years it allowed me to develop a different perspective. It made me appreciate the value of playing for your country which in turn had a great effect on the extra hours and hard work I put in to improve.

As a result of my experience, I was lucky enough to be selected to represent the Senior National Team in the Euro qualifiers against Republic of Ireland and Poland. In addition, I was also selected for the Senior National Squad for two international friendlies where I played against Liechtenstein and Latvia. I made my first team appearance against Liechtenstein and in the process I became the youngest player in the senior national side of Gibraltar to make an international appearance. Since then I have earned a further sixteen international first team caps. These caps included games against Greece, Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Belgium and Armenia. Last month Gibraltar won their first competitive game in an official international competition. I was part of the team that made history by beating both Armenia and Liechtenstein in the UEFA Nations League.