If a new team in Macarthur, Perth Glory goal-fests, cross-town rivalries and quality new imports is not enough to get you watching the A-League, there’s a 16-year-old kid in the number 17 shirt that will get you over the line.
When the A-League began back in 2005, Mohamed (Mo) Toure was just one-year-old living with his family in his country of birth, Guinea.
The family left the African country when Mo was two, setting their sights on Australia where Mo would eventually realise his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
A footballing family, his brother Al Hassan is also a crucial part of the Adelaide United side thriving under Carl Veart, although he is currently out with an injury.
Al Hassan cracked the first team months before Mo, with the elder of the brothers having a terrific 2019, resulting in him winning the Mark Viduka medal, awarded to the best player on the pitch during the FFA cup final which United won 4-0.
The turn of the decade, though, saw Mo become known to A-League fans, bursting onto the scene with similar vibrancy to his brother the year before.
Just 15 at the time, Toure became the youngest scorer in the history of the A-League when he netted on Valentine’s Day against Central Coast, something that gave him great confidence moving forward.
“Leading up to that time I didn’t think it was possible, I thought I was there as an extra player because of injuries,” Toure said of his record-breaking goal.
“After I scored I started to believe I could do it.
“If I have the right mindset, I can do it and it’s possible.
“It boosted up my confidence a lot after that goal.”
Toure continued to improve and people across the league started to realise just how impressive a skillset the young forward possessed.
One of those most impressed by Toure, who turns 17 in March, is Adelaide United head coach, Carl Veart, who in a recent press conference heaped praise on the youngster.
“I think he’ll go as far as he wants to go, Mohamed,” said Veart.
“I think he can go all the way to the top.
“I haven’t seen a 16-year-old in Australia like him, ever.”
Veart, a former striker for the Socceroos during his playing days, has shown a lot of faith in Mo over the course of his short reign at the Reds.
“He tells me when I get up there just do what I normally do,” Toure said about Veart’s influence.
“The structure part of it he does coach me but when I get up there he doesn’t really tell me anything he just says do what you always do
“That gives me freedom to play and do what I like to do which I think has helped me.”
“He’s played the position and he’s had experience in there.
“He knows if I’ve made a run, if it wasn’t the right one he would tell me how to make the right one.
“I think he’s helped me a lot.”
Veart will be grateful that his faith has been repaid in goals at the start of the 2021 season.
Toure has netted twice so far, one a consolation goal against Perth in the dying embers of the game, however his other goal was of far greater significance.
He lived out the dream of many Adelaideans on Saturday, January 23 when he scored the winning goal against rivals Melbourne Victory.
In the first few minutes of the game, he went on a daring run down the right side which saw him nearly open the scoring for the Reds, but he would have to wait until the second half to find the back of the net.
In the 53rd minute, Spanish import Javi Lopez played Toure through.
Toure stopped on a dime, showcasing his agility for a player of his size, cut back inside onto his left foot and calmly slotted the ball past Victory goalkeeper Max Crocombe.
The game finished 1-0 and Toure was named Adelaide’s man of the match for the second time in four days.
Speaking to the press after the game, Toure revealed that although happy he scored, there is still room for improvement, showing a great amount of maturity at such a young age.
If you’re left wondering where that attitude comes from when the kid could be forgiven for lapping up the spoils of victory, you only need to look as far as his father.
Toure lauded him as a driving force behind his attitude towards constantly improving his game.
“He wants the best for us he wants us to be the best that we can,” Toure said of his dad.
“He’s really tough on football.
“He was proud that we won and that I scored but he was upset about the two chances I missed.
“He thought they were easier than the one that I scored so he was confused.”
The rigours of being a professional footballer are well known, but Toure has the added pressure of completing his high school education.
“Year 12 this year,” Toure revealed.
“After training I will just go to school, have a couple of lessons and might stay back, one on one lessons with the teacher after school.
“On days off I go for a full day.
“Even if I joke about dropping out of school for soccer, my dad gets mad.
“He wants me to finish school so badly so I think I’ll finish it and see where things go from there.”
With a humble persona and outgoing personality, Toure has endeared himself to the Adelaide United faithful.
His on-field performances speak for themselves this season as the Reds continue to impress, despite a comfortable loss against Perth midweek.
Their bounce back win over Melbourne has ensured they remain at the top end of the table for another week, sitting in second behind surprise leaders, Central Coast Mariners.
Mo has long term aspirations of playing for Chelsea in the English Premier League, but for now, the possibility of being able to play with his brother once he is something he is looking forward to.
“He is working hard right now because he’s been out for a really long time,” Mo said about Al Hassan.
“That would be crazy, to play with my brother, but we’ll just have to wait until he gets back.”