Brandon Lauton is nervous, and he has every right to be.
The former Ballarat City player is hours away from his first professional season with Melbourne Victory and - for all he knows - hours away from his A-League debut.
It is an unbelievable thought for the Ballarat junior who signed a two-year scholarship with the club in July.
If named in Saturday's squad, he will run out in front of 40,000 screaming fans in Victory's round one derby against arch-rivals Melbourne City.
"At the moment, I'm in the extended squad but there are still people who have to be admitted, so I still might be omitted," he said.
"I've always been one to get nervous so it's how I get rid of those that will determine how I go if I play."
Selected or not, just to be considered is a dream come true for the 19-year-old who was plucked from Ballarat City by the powerhouse club two years ago.
After spending two seasons with the club's youth program, his elevation to the senior side came sooner than he ever anticipated.
"I was in the youth team but for a few months I had been called up to train with the first team, and one day I was called into the office and offered a deal," he recalled.
"We had a new coach come in and he hadn't been here long. He pulled me a side and told me about the scholarship. I said yes before he finished speaking."
Lauton made his professional debut earlier this year when he was named in an FFA Cup clash against Newcastle Jets.
Lauton said it was something he would never forget.
"It was my first time playing against professionals so it was a bit of an eye-opener, but you play within yourself and get into it," he said.
Time on the pitch may come in small doses for the youngster, but he has every intention of making the most of his opportunities.
He told The Courier he would use his work-rate and unselfish approach to the game to help the team however he can.
"I think what helped me is that in the youth team, I always played a lot of roles," he said.
"It's a nice feeling now because I know if something happens I'm in contention to be up there to replace a player because I've been trained in multiple positions."
The teenager played most of his junior soccer in Ballarat, playing his last three years under current Ballarat City head coach James Robinson.
He said the lessons learned in his final years in Ballarat helped him transition to the professional ranks.
He hoped this season was the start of bigger things to come.
"I like improving and getting better everyday, because when I play I want to play well. I don't expect to play much, but when I do I want to impress," he said.
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