Lowood teen earns 'huge' European opportunity
SOCCER: It's every football player's dream to one day go to Europe, and for one Lowood teen - it's a dream come true.
Tyler Whitten will next week be jetting off to Portugal for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with SL Benfica.
The 15-year-old will spend just under a month training with the Portuguese powerhouse club, as well as spending time with the Portuguese U15 National team.
It's a far cry from the Brisbane Valley pitches he first started playing on at just seven.
"I'm really excited, it's another big step in my career - coming from a local club and then to Brisbane and then going overseas to Portugal,” Tyler said.
The goalkeeper hadn't originally started in goals, and took some time to find his niche.
"It took me about two years to build up my confidence, because beforehand I was playing out in the field just messing around, and then I got chucked in goals one day and started liking it,” he said.
The young gun now plays for Brisbane Athletics, and it was there he secured the incredible opportunity.
His coach has contacts at the Lisbon-based club, and was able to secure Tyler the experience.
His father Toby explained this trip could be the making of Tyler as a professional footballer.
"Tyler is at the age where if he wants to further his career, he has to sort of move on a bit or be challenged - he's got to be developed,” Toby said.
"He'll be treated like a professional player ... he's got to eat, sleep and train like a professional while he's over there.”
His father said when the idea was first raised, he was blown away.
"I was sort of gobsmacked. It's huge,” he said.
But he quickly recovered and realised just how important this opportunity could be for the young goalkeeper.
"Once Tyler gets over there, it will open up a lot of doors,” he said.
Tyler said he was feeling excited but also a little nervous.
But hopefully this will be a step towards his true goal to play for English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.