Gatt Determined to Make His Mark with Dundalk
After waiting patiently to become a Dundalk player, Joshua Gatt is determined to make an impact with the Lilywhites and earn himself a long-term deal with the SSE Airtricity League champions.
The 28-year-old American spent time at Oriel Park earlier this year, playing 69 minutes in the friendly with Longford Town in February, but the onset of COVID-19 put paid to his hopes of securing a contract at that stage.
The former USA international was invited to return to the club earlier this month and after initially spending two weeks in isolation, he linked up with the squad this week. Pending international clearance, he will form part of Vinny Perth’s squad for the remainder of the campaign.
Gatt’s career, thus far, has been eventful. A native of Michigan, he secured a move to Austrian side SCR Altach in his late teens and went on to win the Norwegian title under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Molde.
His form was rewarded with a call-up to the USA squad for a friendly against Russia in 2012 but his time in Scandinavia was marred by a host of serious knee injuries and after playing just seven times in three seasons between 2014 and 2016, he returned stateside.
Spells at Minnesota United, Colorado Rapids and Detroit City followed but after seeing his wife battle cancer, he rejoined SCR Altach for a short spell before going back to the USA in May 2019. Seven months later, he was on a plane to Ireland.
“An article came out about me in ESPN towards the end of my contract with Altach in Austria,” he told the club’s Patreon membership page. “I basically said that I was still hungry and looking for an opportunity to showcase that I could still play at a high level and be successful.
“Bill (Hulsizer), the chairman, got a hold of the article and Dundalk basically said: ‘Let’s give this kid a shot’. I came over here and took the chance. The game against Longford was the first I played in a year and it was a great feeling just to be back playing football.
“Obviously events around the world threw a wrench in my own and everybody else’s plans. Sometimes there are external things you can’t prepare for and you have to deal with them as they come. That’s exactly what I did; I remained patient and worked as hard as I could waiting for this moment.”
Gatt’s move to Dundalk resulted in a flood of well-wishes on social media and he said that he was intent on showing people that his injury problems were a thing of the past and that he still has a lot more to give.
“It’s good to see that people have responded to the story,” he said. “It seems like a lot of people are rooting for me to do well and that’s extra motivation for me to do well and keep going.
“I would love to have a place that I can stay at and become stable at for a long period of time,” he added. “I couldn’t have asked for a better situation than then I have here at Dundalk. I’m playing for the best team in Ireland who want to compete in Europe and this is a place that I could easily see myself calling home for a long period of time.
“I’d be grateful for that opportunity but I know it won’t be just given to me, it’s something that I have to earn and I want to earn. The only way to do that is to continue to do the things I’ve been doing all my life, work hard, believe in myself and push and strengthen my body and my mind to ensure that going forward that I have the tools to be successful.”