Gungahlin United's Miguel Goncalves always wanted to be playing in Australia's top competitions by 17 and the teenager has gotten his wish.
The 16-year-old has been selected to play for Sydney FC's under 18 junior academy next season.
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak ending his trial run with the Sky Blues prematurely, he impressed and earnt himself a spot.
His passion for soccer began after he started playing at about age 10 in Brisbane.
"In Canberra's when I started taking it more serious. I was like 'Okay. Wait, maybe I can actually do something here'. I've always had a goal ... by the age of 17, I wanted to be somewhere other than Canberra, like Melbourne, Sydney or even overseas. So that's something I've always looked forward to," he said.
"Obviously it will open up a lot of doors but I'm just hoping to ... try and get in the NYL squad for next year as well."
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Miguel in one of a handful of players from the club in recent years who have earnt themselves a call up into the A-League academies.
United NPL head coach Marcial Munoz said the club hoped it would not stop with Miguel, as they wanted to provide a pathway for more players to realise their dream.
"We put him in the environment where he was able to grow that little bit extra, but it was his hard work, his commitment and sacrifice to wanting to get there in the end, we need to acknowledge first and foremost," he said.
"And then as a club. This is exactly the platform that we want to give all our players, whether they're a little bit younger or a little bit older, that have dreams of going and stepping outside of the amateur world ... because unfortunately we can only provide them so much."
The attacker had stints in Gungahlin's NPL and under 23 sides this season, before COVID-19 shutdown the competition, to improve his game understanding and his athleticism.
"You're not going to get too many 16 year olds across Canberra, or any competition really, that are going to be able to step into a senior environment, and be able to handle the demands," Munoz said.
"It is the resilience isn't it for the younger players, putting them into an environment where you've got ... highly competitive humans, all in one space. It's trying to drive that part of Miguel, make sure that he could withstand the knocks and the hits, and ... the confrontations, if you will, that are placed upon any player within those types of environments. It's not easy to be a 16-year-old in a man's world."