My name is Tedros Yabio. I want to represent Australia in the World Cup in 2018.
When we came here, most of us Ethiopians we went straight into soccer. We didn’t know any other way to socialise with other countries, like nationalities because we didn’t know how to speak the language. But with soccer we don’t need to know how to speak the language so it was easy for us.
Growing up in Australia I went to more of a multicultural school. There were a lot of different nationalities, so I didn’t find it hard to fit in because everyone was new to the school too, new to the country. So, for me it was pretty easy, because I was a kid it was pretty easy growing up there. I had my brothers and my cousins to help me out, talk and everything.
I had a lot of Australian, Greek and different background friends. It was pretty similar, not much different.
My parents were born in Ethiopia and my older sister, she was born there too, and then they had to move to Sudan because of political reasons.
[Ethiopian] In Ethiopia we were under a socialist rule and there was no democracy.
I come from a really big family, a close family. I’ve got five brothers and three sisters, and so when they moved to Sudan I was born there and my older brothers were born there too, and now we’re all here. My older sister, she ... She had been in Ethiopia. She just moved recently here, and I hadn’t seen her since I was two years old, so I was pretty happy to see her.
My family is close with the Ethiopian community. Because we were from Adelaide, we used to live in Adelaide, and yeah, we used to get invited to festivals so we used to perform.
A couple of times a year there's a festival we attend, Ethiopian festival, which we listen to music, Ethiopian cultural music, traditional music, and dance, and we eat our traditional food and we show off how we are, how Ethiopians are.
When I grew up in Adelaide, it felt like I was in a close Ethiopian community. Then when I came here it felt like everyone had just moved away. Like us as Ethiopians, we’re usually together, but when we came to Melbourne there was so much of Ethiopians that we couldn’t find each other, it was scattered everywhere, so we didn’t really have a cultural understanding when we came here. But when we were in Adelaide we did.
When I was five years old I remember when my older brother was training and me and my two other older brothers, we went and watched, and we wanted to play for them as well, but they said I was too young and I had to wait. I didn’t want to wait, I wanted to play straight away. So I waited around, I waited for two years until I was seven years old and I could join my first club. I remember going to training, looking forward to training once a week, and playing with my brothers at the park all the time, playing mini goals and everything, and I look back now, that’s why I fell in love with soccer, because that’s what we did for a living, we just played. It was enjoyment. We didn’t have to speak this language to understand each other or this kind of way, it was just the ball and that’s it. But back at home it wasn't like that. We wouldn’t be playing soccer. Personally, my dad said, I wouldn’t be playing soccer if I was in Ethiopia. I would have been a farmer like my dad. But lucky I came here to Australia and I fell in love with soccer.
[Ethiopian] In Australia we support the government and everyone has access to education. In Australia everyone sleeps peacefully.
In a few… like in a couple – two years time – I want to go back to Ethiopia to see where I’m from, because I haven’t really seen it. I was born in Sudan and I moved to Australia, so I haven’t really seen Ethiopia. I just heard about it and my parents told me about it, so I want to go and see where my parents were born, where they were raised.
I want to go back to experience what life it is compared to this. Apparently it's a real eye opener when you go back, and you take life for granted here if you don’t see what's really happening there.
I always consider myself Australian, and when I did represent Australia in the under-17 level I was proud of it. Since I’ve been playing soccer I’ve been able to have a lot of opportunities, moving around, going to different countries and stuff, like Indonesia, Japan or Holland, where the culture might not be the same as here, and so I understood then - when I went there not being able to speak the language – that my parents would have went through the same problems as what I had when I went there. But luckily we had our coaches and stuff to help us along, as did my family – when we moved here we had each other, so it was… I understood how it was back then.
The best memory I have of playing soccer of my life is when I was a little kid, when I was 10 years old. We had to sing the Australian anthem at every assembly, but me, I never used to sing, I always usually say 'what's the point in singing it?' You know? I’m not going to really sing it when I grow up or anything. Then when I was 15 years old, 16 years old, I represented Australia, and we had to sing the Australian anthem, so it's funny how life changes. Everything changes.