Dale Gorman begins the journey of a lifetime this weekend when he leaves Letterkenny to begin his two-year-scholarship at Stevenage FC.
Gorman, 17 on Friday, travels to Hertfordshire on his birthday with his parents Anthony and Shiela.
“When I went over first I realised straight away they were the club for me,” Dale Gorman said. “They’ve a brand new academy and I really enjoyed my time there.”
Derry-born Gorman impressed scouts whilst on international duty with Northern Ireland’s U-17 side, who were based in Stevenage in October prior to their Uefa U-17 Championship qualifiers in Estonia.
Northern Ireland then performed well in the Elite stages, drawing 2-2 with Holland and 0-0 against eventual runners-up Italy, either side of a narrow 2-1 loss against hosts Norway.
If Gorman requires a word of advise, he can look close to home. His father Anthony left Letterkenny Rovers for Mansfield as a 16-year-old and having returned home, forged a career for himself both north and south of the border.
In November 2011, Dale made his Letterkenny Rovers debut, coming on as a substitute for his dad against College Corinthians in Cork.
“I always looked at my dad as an idol and used to go everywhere with my grandfather Tony to watch him and my uncle Gareth play,” Dale Gorman added. “Dad’s always been there for me and it’s great to have someone like that.
“I always wanted to become a professional footballer and he always pushed me and my younger brothers Zach (13) and Joel (9). We were born with football at our feet.”
Last season, under Anthony’s management, Dale helped Letterkenny Rovers’ youth team to the Dick Duffy Donegal Youth League, the Colin Breslin Memorial Cup and the John ‘Gorey’ Curran Cup.
“I really enjoyed Letterkenny Rovers and they are a very well run club,” Gorman said.
“But right now I just can’t wait to get started in England.”