Manchester United look out, Finley’s soccer sensation Nic Bergmans is heading your way.By Hannah Nicols
Manchester United look out, Finley’s soccer sensation Nic Bergmans is heading your way.
For three months the local lad will head to the heart of English Premier League soccer, vying to impress the Manchester United Pro Football Academy coaches.
Bergmans, who has been playing soccer for 10 years, is looking forward to his journey.
‘‘I have been playing since I was seven and really enjoy it.
‘‘I have just always played soccer and it has just stuck.’’
The goal keeper plays during the regular season for Cobram Soccer Club in its winter league, and this year has also played in the Victorian Champions League Summer Competition.
His spot in the summer league competition is one that is highly coveted, with trials held over four weeks.
Of the nearly 50 participants, only 16 are selected — including just two goal keepers.
To gain selection in the Manchester United Pro Football Academy, Bergmans also had to be selected from trials.
But he is no stranger to the selection process, having previously applied to trial for the Westham Academy.
Just three weeks after his trial for the Manchester Academy, Bergmans found out he had been selected.
But it was not an easy decision for the 17-year-old who is currently preparing for his final HSC year at Finley High School.
‘‘I had to think it over, and talk it over with school.’’
He will miss six weeks of formal schooling but will not miss anything, thanks to distance study.
He admitted he was ‘‘a little nervous’’, but will not be alone on the journey.
Young soccer players from all over the world will be attending the academy with him.
‘‘This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,’’ he said.
‘‘I leave Australia on January 9, arrive in Manchester on January 10 and start training straight away.’’
The academy will see Bergmans gain experience from the Manchester United Youth League Club coaches for three months.
‘‘In the long term, I would love to be playing soccer.
‘‘My grandad is from Germany and he and dad watched the soccer and the highlights, so I have just always been around soccer.’’
Training will be intensive with three-hour training sessions five times a week at least, as well as watching other games.
As well as training, Bergmans and other young players at the academy will play four to five games a week.
After training, he will get the chance to play several games throughout Europe, including at Paris and Lyon in France. They will also venture to Malta to play.
A highlight for Bergmans, however, will be the chance to play a game on Old Trafford in England.
The travel involved won’t be an issue for Bergmans, however, who has been training in Melbourne with the Melbourne Victory Soccer Club for the past 12 months.
‘‘Thanks to my parents for driving four hours three to four times a week,’’he said.
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The alfresco area at Cobram's Bottom Pub, known as The Palms, will be relaunched on Friday night after an eight-month closure.
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