Kick it like Edgar Davids
"Andi spent every free minute of his childhood with football. Whether he watched videos of Ajax Amsterdam, tried to imitate their tricks or practiced against poles in our garden. When the weather was bad he just moved his training session to the basement. Football has always been the real deal for him.” Martin Lasnik, brother
Indeed it would have been a miracle if Andreas Lasnik had not taken the path to being a professional footballer. Since his early childhood, the life of the boy from the Austrian province Styria was all about the beautiful game. He grew up a stone's throw away from the sports ground in Maria Lankowitz and his family shared the love for the game. “My father and my brother played themselves, my mother helped out at the home games of Maria Lankowitz in the cafeteria and my aunt was the club`s groundskeeper. So I almost grew up on the football field," Lasnik recalls.

Early on it was clear that football would play a very important role in the life of the blonde boy. His life took a decisive turn when he was just just nine years old. At that time he signed his first contract in Portugal. At least that`s what you could call it. Andreas attended one of Hermann Stessl`s football camps, where the former youth-coordinator of Austria Vienna, Mark Schruf, noticed his talent. He promised to invite him to a summer camp in San Diego in the following year, if he would meet up a list of conditions. These included individual football practice as well as good grades in school. “This was a turning point for Andi, because from that time on he has followed his way without making compromises", remembers his father Gerald.

While other kids at his age were watching cartoons on TV, Andreas watched technique-trainings of Ajax Amsterdam on VHS cassettes and tried to imitate the exercises immediately. "He was perhaps not the greatest talent, but he was extremely willing to learn and could reproduce things very quickly", his father says, who worked out individual training plans that were tailored to the age of his son, in order to stabilize and strengthen his body.

His talent was certainly no secret to the Austrian Bundesliga teams and Sturm Graz wanted the ten-year-old to play for their youth department. Due to the big amount of time that Andreas would lose in commuting to Graz the family decided against it. A decision that shouldn`t harm the development of a future national team player. Again and again he was invited by big teams to major tournaments to support them as guest player. At the age of ten he faced a crowd of 15,000 people when he played a youth game for Austria Vienna just before a game in the European Cup at the Ernst-Happel-Stadium.

In the year 1994 Andreas Lasnik was part of a team comprised of talents of Austria Vienna and First Vienna FC that represented Austria at the biggest youth tournament in the world. His parents were also part of the team that supported the kids during the competition in Sweden. "Hundreds of teams played at the “World Youth Gothia Cup", 68 only in Andi`s age group. In the same week, Sweden won the bronze medal at the World Cup in the United States and Andi was among the 35,000 people in the stadium in Gothenburg when the fans welcomed their successful stars back home. It was an amazing experience that surely motivated Andreas even more to become a football player.”