Budding soccer stars from across the Latrobe Valley will have the opportunity of a lifetime next month when the West Ham United Oceania Academy Player ID camp comes to Morwell.
The two-day camp, run in collaboration with English Premier League side West Ham United and Global Image Sports, will be overseen by some of the best in the business.
It will include West Ham academy coaches from London, and will pluck the best and brightest talent to progress to a national camp in Queensland in September.
Between 300 and 400 of the country's best will engage in an intensive development camp over four days on the Gold Coast, with the ultimate goal of being selected for an exclusive development tour of Britain.
West Ham Oceania Academy Program ambassador and business development manager for Australia and New Zealand George Cowie said he was "very keen to connect with regional areas".
Cowie, who debuted for West Ham in 1977 as 16-year-old and has an extensive coaching resume, said it was crucial to give regions like the Latrobe Valley access to talent pathways.
"I come from a small village in Scotland, and to bring this program to some of the outlying areas, we always have a good response," Cowie said.
"We've been keen to come to Morwell for a while, and this is not a flash in the pan type of thing – we want to make meaningful connections and something we can continue into the future.
"The next Tim Cahill is coming from somewhere."
Another facet of the program focusses on the development of promising young talent and aims to ready them for life as an elite-level footballer.
"A lot of people believe that young players are misled, so we keep it realistic and tell them to have a dream, but also have a plan B and plan C," Cowie said.
"Even if they don't make it to professional football, it's a chance for them to go to London and see what life is like at a professional football club."
Bulleen Lions technical director of football Harry Bingham has been instrumental in bringing the West Ham program to the Latrobe Valley and has a special connection to the region.
Bingham was brought to Australia by the Falcons Soccer Club in 1982 where he was part of the side that won multiple state championships and cups and went on to captain and coach the team.
"I've been trying for some time to bring a program back to the Valley because I'm grateful to the area," Bingham said.
"I feel that as responsible adults and people who have been in the game ... we have an obligation to the next generation.
"Talent is talent. It's not unique to Melbourne and it doesn't come from a place. These are just places where talent arrives."
The West Ham United Oceania Academy 2018 Player ID Camp is open to players of all abilities and genders, aged seven to 17.
"If we can just get one player to travel to the UK in November, that would be absolutely magnificent," Bingham said.
The West Ham United Oceania Academy 2018 Player ID Camp will be held at Morwell Pegasus Soccer Club on Sunday, July 8 and Monday, July 9.
For more information or to register, visit georgecowiefootball.com.