A Mount Annan Mustangs footballer has been selected to travel to Europe to represent his football academy in late September.
Jaidyn Richards, 8, will pit himself against other talented players his age from mega-clubs, including Real Madrid and AC Milan in Spain and Italy.
Darrin Richards and his wife Jo saw potential in their son from the age of three.
“We took him to Soccer Toos [now Soccerjoeys sports clinic] and saw his thought process and how he used the ball … their first thought was that they will see Jaidyn on television one day,” Mr Richards said.
“With some kids you’ve got to work to build their talent and some are just naturals at it.”
Jaidyn is a natural left-footer, like one of his football idols, Lionel Messi. Much like Messi, he is also a goal-scoring machine.
“I have probably scored over 30 goals this year. The highest in my team this year,” he said.
Jaidyn, who also plays AFL and cricket, dreams about playing for his favourite football team.
“I want to play for Manchester United one day,” he said.
Jaidyn’s parents want him to understand nothing in life is achieved without hard work.
“He trains Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays,” Mr Richards said.
“Since he was five Jaidyn said that he wanted to be a professional footballer, so if that’s the case, he better start training.
“The experience will show Jaidyn how much the kids train and the effort you’ve got to put in to reach that goal.”
Mr Richards said the trip is important for young players like Jaidyn because it can open up opportunities not always available in Australia.
“Football in Australia is money orientated and it is not always about the kid, it is about how much money you’ve got,” he said. “It should be about skill and coachability.”