A TWO week trial at one of the world’s most famous soccer clubs.
That’s what lies ahead for young Ballarat Red Devil and – who knows – future Aston Villa player Stefan Nigro.
The 15-year old will leave for England on July 13 for a fortnight with Villa that is both trial and a chance to train alongside the club’s professional players during its preparations for the coming season.
“It is a genuine trial with the club. It’s a dream come true,” Nigro says.
“Ever since I was young I wanted to do something like this. It is hard to believe really.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to see where I’m at against some of the highest quality players in England and the world. It will show where I need to improve to get to that level.”
Nigro was nominated by his coaches, including Red Devils technical director Paul Smalley and senior coach Brian Shelley, for the trial with the West Midlands club.
While Smalley’s contacts within the English Premier League were significant in establishing the opportunity, Shelley said Nigro was also a good fit for what Villa is looking for.
There will be one other junior from Australia in the Villa squad.
“At 15, and with the experience (Nigro) has, he is the right age,” Shelley said.
“Clubs in England are actually looking at players as young as 12.”
Nigro will spend the two weeks at Aston Villa’s training complex half an hour outside of Birmingham.
He will train twice a day with the club’s junior squad and stay at an international standard hotel at the complex.
If he meets the club’s criteria then there are a number of steps that could eventually lead to a contract.
“Two weeks of training twice a day is more than I’ve ever done before” Nigro says.
“I will start off with kids my age and then move up to under-18s. The aim is, if they do like me, they might ask me back in a year or so.”
Nigro has played overseas just once, representing Victoria at junior level in New Zealand.
He has already played four senior games for the Red Devils.
Nigro says he barracks for Liverpool in the English Premier League but admits that could change very quickly.