BUNDABERG'S Josh Brillante achieved another special feat when he made his A League debut for Gold Coast United on Wednesday night at the age of just 17.
With the club rocked by injuries, coach Miron Bleiberg called on Brillante out of their Youth team as one of two debutants, along with goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson, and in typical fashion, he took the big step up in his stride at right fullback.
Even a yellow card in the 39th minute for what he described as a “miss-timed tackle” did not diminish his endeavour, and Brillante said he “played pretty well for my first game”.
“It was a goal of mine to try to make my (A League) debut at the age of 17, so it's good and it was also a good experience,” Brillante said.
Bleiberg said he had earned his chance by weight of performance over the past 15 months.
Brillante did not know yesterday morning whether he would retain his place in the side for their clash with Melbourne Heart tomorrow, but he has long been considered to be destined for greatness in the game, and he just keeps rising to new heights.
The teenager made his Queensland State League debut for Bundaberg Spirit at the age of 15 in 2008, before taking up a Queensland Academy of Sport Scholarship last year.
He was then signed by United for their 2009/10 National Youth League season, and he went on to win the club's Youth Star of the Future award at their end-of-season presentation.
Brillante was invited to train with the A League squad in May and he has not missed a beat since, juggling football in between finishing Year 12 at The Southport School.
He has been shining in the Youth League, but now he has a taste of A League, he would love to cement a place in the team.
“I will just keep training hard with the First team and you never know what can happen. In the near future I would also like a place in the Young Socceroos' squad,” he said.
While becoming a professional player is a dream, Brillante plans to attend university on the Gold Coast next year to keep his “mind occupied”.