It would take a while to compile a complete list of budding footballers from the Mid North Coast who had stars in their eyes before a taste of the Big Smoke put an end to their dreams.
In fact, it would be a lot easier to name those who have progressed than the hundreds – if not thousands – that have fallen through the cracks.
Port United midfielder Mason Moore tried his luck in Newcastle before the competitive nature of living and breathing football 24 hours a day took its toll.
“I’m probably done in Newcastle. I burned my bridges there a little bit because I got over always having to be in a fully competitive environment,” he said.
“It’s why I came back and played locally.”
While the game at a higher level is arguably a cleaner product, the 18-year-old said he thrived off the questionable tactics which are used at local level.
Moore is about to finish his second full year in the competition, but he says some tactics used in the Coastal Premier League are no different to other local competitions.
“As I’ve played a lot more I realised the older players like to take you out as much as they can and especially because I’m younger they like to tug your shirt,” he said.
“I feed off knowing they’re getting mad when they’re trying to mark me or I’m marking them.
“A lot of times I’ll win the ball off them and go to run away and they’ll tug my shirt and pull me down with them. It happens a lot.”
With good mate Ben Oakley also finding a home in Nathan Wade’s 14-man squad, the two teenagers are more than happy to mix it locally.
They don’t mind if the product isn’t as good – even if it means a few bruised ankles.
“Ben and I are good mates and he was in my team before I went to Newcastle and then we weren’t so then I didn’t enjoy it as much,” Moore said.
“It’s good to be playing with him again.”