One lucky soccer player will get the opportunity of a lifetime to go over to Germany and train with German Bundesliga club FC Koln.
The opportunity is being offered through the Ballarat Football Academy after ties with the FC Koln have been developed in recent years.
BFA coach Corey Smith, who has travelled to Germany the past three years, said it was pivotal it uses the relationship that has been built with such a big international club
While at this point in time sending a team over is just not financially feasible, Smith said the Academy would select a player, between the ages of 12 and 16, it felt had the most potential to make it a higher level to go on the trip next October.
“The whole idea of the Ballarat Football Academy is to try and bridge a bit of a gap that Ballarat kids have in reaching a higher level,” Smith said.
“It’s not a trial, but it’s the experience to go and train in that top level.”
The program will run for two weeks, allowing the chosen player to gain an insight into what it takes to train and live as a top-flight player.
A coach will go over with the player, providing further education to the program.
Smith said the camp, which he hopes will run annually, was a great chance to better the player as well as gain knowledge that could benefit their clubs.
“The main project is to, one, educate our coaches, and two, educate our kids as to how big the step is between professional level and where they are now – and obviously there’s a lot of steps in between.
“We understand that it’s unlikely that they would play at that level…but it just gives a sample to the kids of a professional situation and what they would need to strive to get to.
“Every kid dreams of playing at a professional club…and the reality is that’s a long way away, we want to educate people on how far away that is and what it takes to get there.
“We’re just looking to maximise their talent and offer things the club can’t offer – but work with the club.
The Ballarat Football Academy is run by Smith and former Ballarat City star Michael Trigger with the aim of further developing players, in cohesion with their local clubs.
The whole idea of the Ballarat Football Academy is to try and bridge a bit of a gap that Ballarat kids have in reaching a higher level.Ballarat Football Academy coach Corey Smith