After putting pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Reds, New Zealand international Jamie Searle spoke of his eagerness to get going at Oakwell.
Standing at 6’5”, the former Swansea City and Aston Villa goalkeeper emphasised his desire to join The Reds.
“I’m looking forward to it”, opened our new recruit.
“It’s been a while coming. To be able to get out there now and just show what I can do is what I’m looking forward to most.”
Searle is the latest of numerous Kiwis to grace the hallowed Oakwell turf, with Rory Fallon, Chris Wood and Leo Bertos (to name just three) all hailing from New Zealand and having previously adorned a Reds shirt. Their advice will be called upon by the ‘keeper.
“I spoke to a couple of them recently. I haven’t spoken to them personally about Barnsley itself, just because purely the last time I spoke to them I didn’t know I was coming here for sure.
“But now that I’m here, I’m definitely going to have a conversation with them about it, and see what they say about it.”
Travelling across the world aged just 18, Searle arrived in the UK in July 2019 for a trial with Villa. Impressing in several friendly matches for the Claret and Blue, Searle signed a permanent deal with the Midlands based club.
“I had a coach out in New Zealand, Sam Wilkinson, who mentioned the possibility of going over to the UK after school”, Searle elaborated.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school. He said he’d get me a few trials out there, one being Aston Villa, which was my first club. It all took off from there really.”
Our goalkeeping coach, Tom Fawdry, spent time working in New Zealand and Australia, so the pair already have things in common before their work begins on the training pitch.
“I hadn’t met Tom before,” Searle admitted.
“But speaking to him, we know a lot of the same people. He’s played with players I’ve played with, he knows a lot of the same people.
“There’s definitely that connection of back home.”
Along with making his full international debut for the Kiwis in March of this year, Searle was also part of the New Zealand football team that travelled to Japan for the delayed 2020 Olympic Games.
“Phenomenal”, he beamed, when asked about the experience.
“It was my first international call-up, my first international camp. I know it was different with the whole Covid situation, but to go to an Olympic games is something I’d never thought of. To have that chance to go, it’s something that I’ll never forget.”
Searle, along with with his desire to impress here at Oakwell, also recognises the impact this move can have for his international prospects, with the hope of more caps for the All Whites.
“I want to kick on here, which will hopefully progress my international career as well.
“I want to make my debut [at Barnsley], play as many games as I can and do as well as I can for the club.
“For the club, it’s to get back to the Championship. That’s everyone’s goal.”
Our new signing is available to sponsor for the new campaign. Please contact the team here at Oakwell via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01226 211211.