Young player invited to train with West Ham United
Matthew Sarayeldin, 14, of Woy Woy has been accepted into the West Ham United Football Club Academy in the United Kingdom.
Following his recent attendance at a national camp in Australia, he was selected to participate in the Spring 2018 West Ham United Academy Elite Trip in London.
This decision was made by the coaching staff and program directors under the club's selection criteria.
Matthew has been playing soccer since the age of four and said he was overjoyed to hear that local trials for the West Ham team were being held.
"I had to try out for the local auditions first and was one of 15 people chosen out of 80 who tried out," said Matthew.
"It was a two-day trial we had to participate in and we basically trained for the first two days and played a soccer game on the third while coaches watched.
"Then when they selected their top 15 soccer players, we were sent to do a similar process again for four days in Queensland but on a national scale," he continued.
Matthew was one of the 800 soccer students chosen to continue to London.
"Now if I complete the week-long trial in London and get accepted I get to stay for a whole year with their academy training with the under-15 division," he said.
Many players attend West Ham ID Camps each year in the hope of being invited to the Elite Trip.
Players are given the opportunity to gain valuable international and cultural experiences and to showcase their talent and dedication to the sport in front of the senior coaching staff.
The trip includes transport for the family to and from scheduled airports, training facilities and sightseeing activities, as well as training uniforms, support of qualified staff and accommodation.
"I'm very proud of Matthew," said his mother Ms Lena Sarayedlin.
"He always knew soccer was a passion of his and sometimes you just have to take a risk and travel half way across the world to support your child's dream," Ms Sarayeldin said.
His trip to London is set for March 8 to 16.
His family have started up a crowd-funding page to support his trip to London and help Matthew to achieve his goals.
Interview, 13 Dec 2017
Lena and Matthew Sarayeldin, Woy Woy
Reporter: Suzy Monzer