Ballina boys set to kick goals in Germany
PASSING the ball as they run down the Tintenbar-East Ballina Soccer Club field, midfielder Zack Miletic and striker Jack Martin are feeling on top of the world.
The pair, aged 17 and 18 respectively, said they were stoked to have achieved one of their dreams to make soccer their career by being selected for professional German team, 1.FC. Schmeltz.
On Saturday the mates will fly to Frankfurt to take up 12-month contracts with the club, which is in the nearby town of Schmeltz, near the French border.
"The team plays in the German eighth division, which is the equivalent of the second division in Australia," Miletic said.
"We went to Germany last June and July to play some friendly games."
"Except there's no such thing as a friendly game if you play seriously," Martin said.
"It was great."
The pair gained the chance to swap their maroon, blue and white jerseys for 1.FC Schmeltz's green, white and black after making selection at a regional Queensland tournament.
"We played in Toowoomba with the Joey All Stars at a tournament at Harvey Bay," Miletic said.
"From there we made it to a team of 20 players on the tour of Germany last year."
What they are too modest to say is that only one in 10 players made the cut from a pool of 200 talented players all battling it out for a place on the squad.
"Over there we met with some scouts and selectors," Miletic said.
And it's not just on-field assistance their new club is providing -- they've also been set up with jobs.
While genuinely thrilled with the next stage in their pro sport careers, this dynamic duo has their footy boots firmly on the ground.
Martin and Miletic know while they have put in the hard yards to get this opportunity, the next 12 months means a new level of commitment, and not just on the field, as there are the cultural and language challenges to overcome.
However, they have been preparing by taking language lessons and said they were travelling with a good work ethic and an open mind.