YEAR 11 St Stephen’s School Carramar student Kyle McDonald stumbled across soccer four years ago.
The then AFL-mad 12-year-old was invited to play indoor soccer with friends.
He was made goalkeeper after admitting he was not the best outfield player and the 16-year-old has not looked back since.
With only four years experience, he has received a contract to play with Burnley Football Club in the UK as their goalkeeper.
“My club has a sync-in with them and every year 30 players go on a tour to show what Australian football is like,” he said.
“I went on the tour this year and they didn’t have a goalkeeper so I got to play.
“The rest is history.”
McDonald became the first player to be picked up from the tour.
“I felt very privileged because there are a lot of other players who deserve to be there,” he said.
“It was about being in the right place at the right time.”
McDonald played for Balcatta Football Club under the guidance of coach Chris Thackaly.
He trained five days a week, working on his footwork, catching and diving.
He said although his position was not as physical as others, it was still challenging.
“It’s pretty hard because you’re the last man and you have to concentrate the entire match or it could be your fault that you lose,” he explained.
“That said, it’s not as physical as an outfielder – it’s more mental.”
McDonald has had several successes on the field.
He has played in Spain and made it to the final selection of the under-19s state schoolboys team last year when he was just 15.
Excited about what the next two years holds with Burnley Football Cub, McDonald is determined to work hard to ensure a long and successful sporting career.
“I’d like to become a professional footballer,” he said. “If that doesn’t happen, I’d like to become a coach and keep spreading the love of football.”