Blumgart, then 18, was one of four locals - Socceroo and Celtic player Tom Rogic was another - picked after a random letter in his letterbox suggested he try for The Chance.

The Caulfield lad made it to the final 32 after being, essentially, a park footballer in Melbourne.

It was an extraordinary rise and it helped him find a spot on the fringes with Heart.

Rogic was one of the eight eventual winners picked to train at the Nike Academy.


It was the leg-up needed and he went on to play at a World Cup with the Socceroos and Champions League with Celtic.

But with such a small league, alarming numbers of potential professionals drift away from the A-League.

"I think we all agree that the talent identification in Australia – while it’s getting better – it’s certainly not foolproof. A lot of quality players for many reasons can fall through the cracks," John Didulica, then of Melbourne Heart, told FTBL after Blumgart trained with the club. 

"We need to make the player pool bigger and bigger rather than smaller."

Blumgart returned to Melbourne, Heart never offered him a deal and he ended up in the NPL with Green Gully and latterly of Dandenong Thunder.

Life’s good for Blumgart, and he has some sage advice to the next generation of would-be professionals.

“If you genuinely want to make it,” he tells FTBL in Melbourne, “you need to spend hours refining your skills when no-one is watching. Take things upon yourself. 

“Just decide on what you want and be clear on that. It’s very easy to talk about wanting to be a professional, but it’s another thing doing it.

“If that’s genuinely what you want, and you’re a half-decent player and you’re in the mix, then if you float around to enough countries and trial enough times, someone will take you.

“It’s just a shame there’s a lack of opportunity in Australia. Getting a look-in at an A-League club, the chances are very small.