Luke Ivanovic's reaction to his first professional contract shows the dichotomy of professional football.
Sydney FC have simultaneously signed two talented youngsters and one hardy NPL battler to professional contracts, as Steve Corica prepares for the gruelling Champions League football.
Exciting winger Luke Ivanovic and derby-hero Jacob Tratt sign until the end of the season, while goalkeeper Tom Heward-Belle earns a contract until the end of 2019/20.
The 18-year-old Ivanovic has impressed in his limited time at the club, quickly forming a reputation for his dynamic runs while scoring a bagful at Y-League level.
“It’s fantastic being a part of the first team and the boys have been great to me,” Ivanovic said.
“I didn’t think it would happen this quickly but I’ve worked hard and I’m delighted that Steve believes in me.
“It’s definitely a lot different than Foxtel Youth League football but Steve is an excellent coach and he is definitely helping me adapt to A-League football.
“My goal is to be in the Hyundai A-League squad every week but I also know I need to be patient and await my opportunity.”
But while Ivanovic has excelled early in his career, Tratt has had to work much harder for this opportunity.
It's been a long journey for the 24-year-old, who won the 2014 Youth League Championship with Sydney FC four years ago, but failed to make an appearance for the senior side.
He grabbed an opportunity to play professionally with Wellington Phoenix in 2016/17, but the Sutherland Sharks veteran was then forced to drop back down to NPL level again.
Now after finally appearing for the reigning A-League Premiers – and scoring in a Sydney derby – biding his time may have paid off.
“I’m very happy to be staying until the end of the season,” he said. “That was my initial goal when I first signed in November and I’m very pleased to have achieved that.
“Now I want to prove I have what it takes to stay at the club longer term and over the next five months I intend to show I am worthy to be part of this fantastic club for a long time to come.”
For Heward-Belle it's another season and a half under the guidance of Sydney goalkeeping coach John Crawley.
Whether the former Central Coast Mariners and Australian U20 shot-stopper can follow in the paths of other Crawley-coached greats like Danny Vukovic, remains to be seen.
"I’m really delighted to have signed for Sydney FC after a lot of hard work with John and the other keepers," Heward-Belle said.
“I’m keen to continue that hard work under JC and develop my game here at the club I supported as a boy.”