BOOMERS FC youngster Zac Mackenzie will receive a belated birthday present he will never forget — a debut for A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers.
The talented midfielder turns 18 today and tomorrow makes his first competitive appearance for Wanderers in their Youth league match away to Adelaide United.
Mackenzie impressed as a defender in a senior trial for Wanderers against NSW Premier League side Blacktown Spartans in August and was recently invited back to train with the club’s youth team.
The Barnawartha-raised youngster got the late call-up yesterday because of an injury to a teammate.
It’s unclear if Mackenzie will be starting or come on as a substitute.
“The coach talked to me the other day and said one of the players was injured so I might be getting a game this weekend, depending on whether they get a senior player back in or not,” Mackenzie said yesterday.
“Playing on Saturday would be as good as it gets.”
Mackenzie has been living by himself in a Wollongong apartment for the past month as he chases his dream of becoming a professional.
He is likely to play with State League outfit South Coast Wolves in the winter.
Mackenzie, who has been used as a central defender at Wanderers, said his goal was to become a regular youth team player next season.
“There are a few who have played Joeys ... so they are pretty damn good,” he said.
“They haven’t really guaranteed me anything.
“This is a good sign to hopefully getting something more permanent.
“If I do well enough hopefully I can be a part of it full-time next year.”
Mackenzie will become the second Border export to play in the Youth league, with former Twin City striker Zac Walker at Melbourne Heart.
Mackenzie, who finished third in this year’s AWFA best-and-fairest, has enjoyed a stellar two years.
He played for the AWFA in the friendly against Melbourne Heart, won the AWFA league best-and-fairest at just 16 years of age, trained with Central Coast Mariners and renowned Sydney school Westfields Sports High School and won the AWFA league championship with Boomers.
The Wanderers are second last in the youth league, with the senior side, which hosts the Reds at Parramatta Stadium tonight, fourth.