STIRLING Lions player Teeboy Kamara came to Australia as a refugee and 20 years later the young hopeful is up for a national award that could have him step up to the A-League.
The Ballajura resident made his A-League debut with Adelaide United when he was 15 before moving to Perth but then fell ill and had to take a break from the game.
But he has recovered and now is one to watch in the Player Pathway program by the National Premier League (NPL).
The program aims to foster young NPL talent and is a year-long search for the best young player throughout Australia.
The best player will be awarded a two-week trial with Sydney FC Youth League.
Kamara came to Australia in 1996 as a baby, leaving his birth country war- torn Liberia behind.
“I don’t really remember much back then, I was only a baby, so I didn’t go through some of the stresses that my mum, dad and grandma did,” he said.
“Mum just wanted to give us more opportunity and someone here sent for us and we got lucky, the Government accepted us.
“We are really fortunate to be here, I really appreciate every minute I am in Australia.”
The 20-year-old said life in Liberia was tough.
“Liberia was a hard life, there are more people in Australia who are willing to help you out, there is much more opportunity,” he said.
“You are forced to grow up quicker over there and life is hard.
“Hearing from uncles and family over there, I feel sorry for them and I hope I can help out in the future.”
Liver issues found by a routine blood test forced Kamara take a break from the game but he has come back stronger with his Stirling Lions debut last year after moving to Perth.
“Soccer is an inspiration for me,” he said.
“My dream is to play A-League for the second time; I want to get back to my best.
“Everything I do is to say thank you to my mum who passed away in 2011. Her memory motivates we and I know she is with me in spirit, she is always watching over me.”
Kamara said he was happy with the Stirling Lions and enjoyed the camaraderie of the club.
“I love Stirling,” he said.