Three months ago Alessandro Pena Alcazar made the more than 11,000 kilometre move from Chile to Canberra in pursuit of furthering his dream of playing soccer professionally.
With the country's borders shut until further notice, he left his family in his home town of Santiago, without knowing when he would be able to see them again.
The 18-year-old made the move to play in the NPL for West Canberra Wanderers FC after he was drawn to the club by his cousin, assistant coach Nico Alcazar.
The winger flew in from Los Angeles and spent two weeks in hotel quarantine in Sydney, where he trained inside his room.
"It was very difficult because you're on the other side of the world from the people that you love. I'm not gonna lie, it was the biggest challenge of my life.
"Those are the sacrifices that had to be made if I wanted to make my dream come true," he said.
"I had to travel about two days, I had to go all the way up to the USA so I could catch a flight and there was only one flight and it didn't have many tickets.
"As soon as I finished my quarantine, I arrived in Canberra and started to train with the club."
The year 12 student explained he was only allowed to enter the country as he was a dual citizen, because his parents lived in Australia when he was born before they moved back to Chile.
He said the COVID-19 situation back home was very different to the one he had experienced in the ACT.
"COVID happened and we saw that the COVID situation here in Australia was very good and I would have the possibilities that I wanted, so that helped a lot to make the decision," he said.
"It's very, very, very different. Because in Chile, if you want to go out, you have to wear a mask all the time.
"In Australia it's like living two years ago, where nothing has happened. You can do all the things that you used to do, you can go to school, we can play football. I don't have to worry about wearing a mask."
Alessandro said his dream was to play professionally at the biggest level, but at the moment he was taking it one step at a time.
"I just want to make for myself here in Canberra, then hopefully Australia step by step," he said.
"The football here is much more physical transitions and focus on the shape of the team, whereas in Chile it's more about technique and the relationship with the ball. It's a bit more romantic."
In Santiago, he was training five times a week in the morning before high school as everyone in the country and South America "lives and breathes football".
The Erindale College student played as a junior with Club Universidad de Chile, Colo-Colo and Union Espanola.
However, it is not his first time playing in Australia. In 2017 he came for a couple of months and played with Gungahlin United FC in the Summer 20's competition.
"We're all very passionate about football, like the whole family is always watching football. It's very special in our family, it's one of the most important things," he said.
"That's what we do on the weekends, watch football games, because we love the game. It's our life."
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The born-midfielder has been pushed to the wing in the competition, but said he was willing to play wherever his coach Ulisses Da Silva put him.
"I'm willing to play wherever Ulisses needs me, where he needs me I'll play, even if it's goalkeeper I'm more than happy," he said.
"As long as I'm on the field."
The Wanderers match against Belconnen United FC on Saturday will be a battle for third spot, as the Wanderers sit fourth under United with a point difference.
It will be the first time the two teams have met in the NPL this year but Alessandro said they knew what they had to do to secure three points - work hard.
"We worked hard for it, we just have to stay positive and play the way we're supposed to and I'm sure if we do that we will be able to get a good result on the weekend."