NPL fans may recall Blake Ricciuto’s midfield talent - and eye-catching wild blond hair - from his days with Sydney club Rockdale Suns.
Or, if you’d dropped the kids off at a Sydney FC community event, they may have been coached by Ricciuto at one of the Sky Blues’ holiday clinics.
The attacking midfielder was considered one of the better talents in the NSW NPL, featuring in one of FTBL’s best talents outside the A-League features.
He also faced the Sky Blues in the FFA Cup, but like many NPL talents, found chances to break into A-League squads frustratingly difficult.
But it doesn't have to be the end of your dream: for a former Penarol player in Uruguay, Ricciuto knew at 26 he had more to give after three years in the NPL.
He knew if he had the chance he could make it back into a pro club. Somewhere in the world.
And in the global game, that can literally mean anywhere.
So, after the conclusion of the 2018 NPL season, Ricciuto hatched a savvy plan: he fired up his video editing software, got as creative as he is on the pitch and produced a highlights reel.
Then he jumped on WhatsApp and messaged a previous agent of his in Uruguay.
As a result, the attacker got his name out on YouTube and his agent came back with a trial proposal.
So, one day he’s working for Sydney FC’s community department and training three nights a week at the Suns, and next, he’s trailing in Brunei with DPMM FC.
Paying his way to the small country situated on the northern shore of the island of Borneo in the South China Seas, to train and play with DPMM (who play in Singapore’s S-League) the club immediately saw his talent.
Their manager - former Stoke City assistant coach Adrian Pennock - signed him after just a week. Smart move.
After December’s trial, the NPL star arrived back in Brunei in early January. In short, he smashed it.
Ricciuto scored on debut. In front of his adoring mum watching on in the stands, too.
And after scoring on debut, Ricciuto’s talents and distinctive looks saw him signing autographs in the street of Brunei.
He’s even made the S-League team of the week.
What’s more, the Aussie with the Uruguayan passport even got invited to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Brunei (who owns the club), where he watched on as former American Idol singer Jessica Sanchez sang for the assembled guests.
Welcome to the fabulous new world of former NPL star Blake Ricciuto, an Aussie who’s taking life on and loving every moment being a professional footballer.
Ahead of the top-two S-League clash league leaders Tampines Rovers, FTBL sat down with Ricciuto to catch up on his life on and off the pitch in Brunei.