Unanderra junior Josh MacDonald is relishing the start of his football career with Sydney FC.
The 17-year-old striker got a taste of first-team football when he came on as a late substitute in Saturday's pre-season match against the Newcastle Jets at WIN Stadium.
"Even though it was only for five minutes it was an unreal feeling, to get on in my home town," MacDonald said.
"It's a big thrill to play my first game for Sydney in my home town and I'm looking forward to playing some more minutes in the future.
"It's the first time I've played here.
"It's a beautiful pitch and it was great to see all the Wollongong fans out here supporting us."
A crowd of 6540 came out to see the Sky Blues trial in the Illawarra, but many were left disappointed when superstar Alessandro Del Piero failed to lace up his boots.
His absence, along with Wollongong product Corey Gameiro, gave players like MacDonald the opportunity to take the field.
Coach Frank Farina stressed how vital it was for all members of the playing group to get time on the pitch in the pre-season.
"I think playing time [is important]," Farina said.
"Getting all of the players up to match fitness for the start of the season.
"We still have got a few that are carrying some injuries, which is a bit disappointing but I think everyone has their own problems as well."
Farina's young attacker, MacDonald is likely to play a large role in Sydney FC's youth grade campaign in the coming season.
For now, he was humbled just to be a part of the same squad as some of the league's best players.
"It's been an amazing experience, especially to meet one of the best midfielders to ever play the game in Del Piero, it's just been incredible," MacDonald said.
"I'm excited about the season. There's Brett Emerton, Nicky Carle's back and I'm so looking forward to playing with such talented players."