Goulburn Strikers forward Eric Noheli is preparing to trial in England with Doncaster Rovers Football Club next year.
His coach, Robin Caulfield, believes Noheli has real potential to make a career of the sport he loves.
Caulfield has contacted some of the key people he knows from the club and organised a week for Noheli to show his skills to the coaching staff.
“I have seen some real potential in Eric and want to give him every opportunity to realise his potential,” Caulfield said.
“He will be staying with me while he is over there and I will be introducing him to the coaching staff and see where it leads.
“Eric’s family are supportive of this opportunity for him to realise his dream, a dream he had when he was a little boy growing up in a refugee camp in Rwanda.”
Noheli’s mother, Rachel Mukarwego, is grateful the family had an opportunity to leave the impoverished camp conditions thanks to the UNHCR, which organised for them to travel to Australia and resettle in Goulburn in 2010. It was just before Noheli‘s 11th birthday.
Noheli and his brother were born in the camp after the country was torn apart by civil war. Many of their family and friends perished in the atrocity, and conditions in the camp were cramped and poor. One of the few activities the children had was to kick a ball around. They lived for their games of soccer in the camp.
“I had virtually no opportunity to learn to read and write and get a good education in Rwanda,” Noheli said. “I am not very academically inclined, just an average student at Goulburn High, but I love playing football and do so, or practise, every chance I get.
“I really enjoy playing for the Strikers and am grateful to Mr Caulfield for giving me this opportunity.
“It is my responsibility to do as well as I can to make my family proud of me.”
Caulfield said he had seen potential in the way Noheli played, both in training and in games, and in his natural ability to read play and be in the right position to take control of the ball with an eye on the goal.
“He is really quick on his feet and has an ability to get himself to the right place at the right time,” Caulfield said.
“The Strikers are looking for keen players who want to take their football to the next level and I am happy to use my contacts in the English league to provide opportunities for any of our players who show potential like Eric.”
Strikers start training for the 2017 season on January 10 at Strikers Park (the PCYC oval) at 6.30pm. Anyone interested in the Strikers Football Club, which plays in the Capital League, can contact club president David Albrighton on 0408 429 965.