GREEK striker Klaidi Lolos has signed his first professional contract at Plymouth Argyle after being promoted from the Pilgrims’ youth ranks.
It has been a long journey for Klaidi, moving from Greece and pursuing a new football journey in England.
He said: “When you are a kid playing football, the first thing that comes into your mind is being a professional footballer, so this is a dream for me.
“I was born in Greece, playing for a Sunday League team from the age of 6-9 and got scouted by Olympiakos. I left when I was 12, for opportunities in life.”
Having had trials at clubs such as Liverpool and Norwich, Lolos earned his first Academy contract with Crystal Palace, with whom he parted company as a 16-year-old.
He said: “I did alright in my first season, but I was a bit unfortunate in the second one because I picked up an injury on my back and stayed out of football for six months, and I got told I was not going to make it.
“It made me stronger, if anything, and I thought: ‘Go again, go harder, go stronger and find something else’.”
After being released from Palace, he was scouted and invited down to Home Park for a trial during the 2017-18 season.
He said: “I went on trial at Birmingham and we played against Argyle. [Academy Director] Kevin Hodges was watching me. We kept close tabs and he got me in for pre-season two years ago.”
Klaidi has made a significant impact within the youth ranks during his time at Argyle, including in the successful FA Youth Cup run in the 2017-18 season.
He was also called up to the squad for the final first-team game of that campaign against Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium, which contributed to a memorable time at Argyle
“I have enjoyed every single moment of it,” he said. “All the lads are great, the football’s going great.”
Having been rewarded for his hard work with a professional contract, Lolos is keen to get started and prove himself in training to push for a first-team place under manager Ryan Lowe, who has always played with an attacking formation.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling.,” he said. “I just can’t wait to get started. In the youth team, I was used to playing 4-3-3 as a lone striker, but I’m looking forward to playing two up top, it sounds good.
“I would say that I am good at holding the ball up, but I feel comfortable in turning with the ball when I receive it and getting past the defender. I’m also good with both feet.”