It might have taken him nine years, but Newcastle Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski has hit a milestone off the park by completing his Bachelor of Psychology degree.
Once dubbed the 'next big thing' in Australian football when he debuted for the Jets as a 16-year-old in 2008, Kantarovski is now the club's record-appearance holder.
The 27-year-old is one of the most qualified members of the Jets with his brand-new university degree.
Kantarovski says studying has helped through his entire football career, helping him getting a much-needed break at times from the beautiful game.
The midfielder was only 15 years old and at Lambton High School when he signed his first full-time contract with Newcastle.
"I was fortunate enough from when I first started playing football, my original contract said that I had to finish school, because I was in Year 10 or 11," he said.
"Part of the contract was that if I didn't finish school, my contract was to be terminated, which was credit to the club. They saw that was a positive thing in a footballer and they made sure to push that through.
"It's a great feeling to have finished [my degree]. To couple it with football was great... It was quite relaxing and enjoyable to get away from football."
Kantarovski admits he's unsure what type of psychology he would like to pursue when his playing days are over.
"I quite like neuro psychology, I did a fair bit of cognitive stuff with my degree," he said.
"For me sports psychology didn't really interest me too much so we'll see where life takes me."
Kantarovski admits his degree could prove handy if he one day goings into coaching.
"It really is an interesting field, especially when you come to the elite level and you talk to coaches and how they see their team and players, and how you treat players in a team setting and as individuals," the Broadmeadow Magic junior said.
"I think it plays a major part in it. If I was a coach, and I was to go down that path, I guess it would be useful for myself. But at this stage, I'm just making sure I focus on playing Perth this week and whatever psychology stuff I can use in that will be a bonus."