By Janakan Seemampillai
Noa Skoko, the son of former Socceroos’ great Josip Skoko, has followed in his father’s footsteps and signed his first professional contract with Croatian powerhouse Hajduk Split, nearly 29 years after his father did the same.
Skoko junior, who also came through the ranks at North Geelong Warriors, has been plying his trade in Split for the past two seasons in the club’s youth program.
The 18-year-old has now been elevated to the senior level, where he will look to emulate the success of his father who played 149 games for the Majstori s mora across seven seasons.
“It is good that he has affirmed himself here at Hajduk since he moved 18 or so months ago,” said a proud Josip, who was capped 51 times by the Socceroos.
“This contract means a lot as it confirms he has reached the next step in his development, which is now the challenge to break into senior football at a professional level.
“In the last 18 months he has had a lot of intense football including national team games, junior games but all at a very good level giving him the chance to grow steadily which is important at this age.”
Noa was recently touted as one of the best youth footballers in the world by well respected English media outlet The Guardian, after he helped Hajduk Split’s youth team make the final of the 2022–23 UEFA Youth League, where they ultimately went down to Dutch club AZ Alkmaar.
Noa has found plenty of success while in Croatia, having been capped 17 times already for the Croatian Under 17 national team.
He has recently been called up to the Under 19s setup, and while there have been plenty of calls from Down Under for him to be capped by the Socceroos, Josip admits he is unsure where Noa’s international future lies.
“He leaves tomorrow for his first Under 19 Croatian team camp but who knows what the future holds regarding his international football,” he said.
Noa’s older brother Luka, 21, is also impressing in Croatia. The former Warriors’ best and fairest winner, recently signed at Croatian second tier club Croatia Zmijavci, after a solid mid-season preparation at NK Solin.
The success of the Skoko brothers continues the impressive production line of professional footballers produced by the Warriors. The club’s excellent youth program over the years has seen numerous young footballers make it to the professional stage, with a number being capped by the Socceroos and Croatia at youth and senior level.
Skoko, Steve Horvat, Matthew Spiranovic and Joey Didulica (Croatia) have all come through the ranks at Elcho Park.