Sydney teenager Tom Petsianis says he is living every boy’s football dream after almost completing his first season with Spanish top-flight side CD Leganes youth team.
Petsianis, 18, grew up playing his youth football with former NSL club Sydney Olympic before moving to Sutherland Sharks when he was 15.
The goalkeeper’s father is Greek but it was his mother’s Chilean background which gave the then-16-year-old the impetus to try his luck in South America.
His risk paid off big time after Chilean powerhouse club Universidad Católica scouted the Sydney teenager and signed him on a youth team contract.
Cut to a year later and after trialling with a number of Spanish clubs, Petsianis sealed another career changing move after La Liga club CD Leganes signed him for their U-19 youth team.
Speaking to FourFourTwo from his Madrid base, Petsianis said he is living the dream.
“Football here is another world, “he said. “Europe is - it’s every boys dream. It’s the best in the world.
“Even though South America is great and it helped me a lot, Europe is that little bit extra, that extra level.
“The kids here are unbelievable. When we played Real Madrid, it’s the way they played – you’re amazed, you’re in shock. It’s crazy over here.”
While he's still only 18, Petsainis believes he is in the right environment to make a move to first team football.
“I’m quite confident to be honest,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity in Europe to become a first team player in a top league.
“I have gone to see Real Madrid and Atletico play here in La Liga. Obviously I look up to them and I watch how they play and I watch what I can improve on and I work on that in training every day.
“I’m confident that one day I can step up and give it a go.”
Petsianis said his game has developed since being in a professional set up but admitted the environment in the Spanish first division is intense.
“It’s going well,” he said. “There are three keepers in my team and I am fighting to play.
"I've played a few games and I feel I have done well. There’s a few weeks left of the season and I have to keep pushing and keep playing and hopefully get some more game time by playing well.
“Right now, we’re seeing if I am going to sign on next year as a long-term youth contract in the reserves - which is U-23's - or if I move on.
“For me, goalkeeping is all about experience. You need to be playing. I'd rather not be on the bench for a La Liga team and play somewhere a bit lower.
"That’s how I look at it, but we’ll see what happens in a few weeks.”