Thomas Deng | Australian Olympic Committee

Thomas's Story

Fast Facts

Sport: Football
Event: Men's Football
Olympic History: Olympic debutant
Coach: Graham Arnold
Year Born: 1997
State Born: Nairobi, Kenya

About Thomas

Thomas Deng was born in Nairobi, Kenya. At the age of six, Deng and his four older siblings, and mother fled the Sudanese conflict. His family were granted refugee status in Australia and settled in WA. 

He was around seven-years-old when he started playing football, and had followed his brother into the sport. His brother is also a talent in the game, and has represented South Sudan on the international stage.

Growing up in Australia, Deng found that playing football was the best way to make friends, especially whilst getting to know a new country. His first club was the Adelaide Blue Eagles, two years later he joined Green Gully, where he was noticed by Melbourne Victory.

In 2011 Deng moved to Victoria to further his football. It wasn’t long before he was playing for Melbourne Victory's U21’s side and in 2015 he was elevated up into the Melbourne Victory side. 

Deng made his Hyundai A-League debut against Melbourne City during Round 2 of the Melbourne Derby in 2015/16. Shortly after this Deng went on loan for the 2016 season to PSV U21s in Holland, returning to Melbourne Victory in 2017. 

As he progressed in the Australian Olyroos, his defensive brilliance and leadership not only cemented his status in the team, but also his role as captain.

In October 2018, Deng made his Socceroos debut in Kuwait City alongside fellow Sudanese refugee and school-friend Awer Mabil. This was a big moment for the two Aussies and their success was seen as an homage to the broader refugee community. 

Deng bid farewell to Melbourne Victory and moved to the J1 League in 2020 where he now plays for the Urawa Red Diamonds. Tokyo 2020 will be his debut Olympic Games.

Read More

Get involved…

Want to have a go at Football, or find the nearest club to you?

Visit Football Australia Website