Murray United's Eli Wilson has signed for Melbourne City in a move that will prove life-changing for his whole family.
The 12-year-old Catholic College student starts training with City's academy under-14 squad this week and he will relocate before the season starts in February.
Wilson's parents, Dale and Jo, will sell the family home and seek new jobs in Melbourne after committing to support their son's pursuit of his dream career.
"It's very exciting to know that Melbourne City wants me," Eli said.
"It's very cool that I get to play for them.
"Leaving school, my team-mates and the coaches at Murray United is the hard bit but it's a sacrifice that will help me become a professional soccer player.
"Mum and Dad have helped me a lot and I'm very thankful.
"If they couldn't move, I'd have to say no but they've been very good in letting me move down there."
Wilson received an offer from City after going through their three-week open trial process but the foundations were laid long before that.
"My wife and I, his two older brothers and his sister are all really proud of him," Dale said.
"We see not just the work he does here (at Murray) but what he does at home. He's always doing extra sessions; if there's nothing planned, he'll drive an extra session himself.
"He's self-motivated so we're proud that he set a goal for himself and worked really hard.
"He hasn't made anything yet but he's moving towards what he sees as his career of playing football.
"He's been really single-minded about what he wanted and there's so much work that's done away from everybody watching.
"Especially during COVID, it was tough, he couldn't train with the group but we were always down at Willow Park or down here at La Trobe doing extra sessions."
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Wilson, a former Wodonga Diamonds player, joined Murray when he was seven years old and has shown improvement every year.
"I know, if I don't put in the work, I won't make it," he said.
"I know that if I put in the work when no-one else is training, that'll put me a step ahead.
"I always get very nervous before games but that all goes when the whistle blows.
"I like to pass and move and it's just so exciting to be out there playing."
It promises to be a hectic few weeks in the Wilson household.
"It's very exciting but also a little bit scary because we do have to basically pack up our lives here," Dale said.
"We've got a lot of good friends and we've been associated with this club for six years, so to move away from that is hard but ultimately it's what Eli's been working for and Jo and I want to support him as much as we can."
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