Young Australian goalkeeper Dominic Kurasik has signed a professional contract to extend his time with English Premier League club Stoke City.
Kurasik, who hails from Melbourne, joined Stoke in September 2011 when he was just 14.
Now 18, the shot-stopper recently committed to the English club for another season.
“I’ve been here nearly five years now,” Kurasik told FourFourTwo.
“There’s been some ups and downs, a hard journey but it’s all been for a good cause. It’s been an amazing journey really because it was a dream coming to England.
“You do get a bit of buzz for the first year or two but you get used to it. England is England, football’s the same. You’ve just got to work hard for a living.”
Kurasik originally came to the Potters on a two-month trial.
“I arrived and then literally the next day I had a game against Sunderland,” he said.
“We lost I think 4-1 but straight after that game they were prepared to offer me something, so it all went really quick.”
The goalkeeper has worked his way up from the under-16s to the under-18s and now the under-21s.
Kurasik trains regularly with the under-21s and has made appearances for them.
“It’s completely different to what it’s like in Australia,” he said.
“There’s a lot higher standard here, it’s a lot more professional. It’s all coming into place at the moment but it was really hard for the first couple of years. It was a big dream to come to England because the Premier League is the best league in the world.
“I’ve dreamt of it a lot. I just didn’t think it would happen as quick as it did.”
Kurasik has also spent time out on loan at several non-league clubs to gain first-team experience.
“It’s really physical there but it’s been very beneficial for me,” he said.
“Getting to know what’s coming for me in the coming years. It has helped me a lot. I just tried to take whatever I learned from there to Stoke.”
Kurasik, who was a junior with South Melbourne, grew up idolising the likes of Germany’s Oliver Kahn and Spain’s Iker Casillas.
“When I was younger I was very much into Iker Casillas or one of those big names,” Kurasik said.
“I guess right now my role model is probably Oliver Kahn for all he’s achieved in his career.”
Kurasik is just one of threes Australians at Stoke, with striker Peter Skapetis and fellow goalkeeper Chris Marques also on the club’s books.
“Peter Skapetis is here and we went to the same school in Australia,” he said.
“So it’s good to have him around and to have a conversation about how things are back at home. But at the end of the day we’re all team-mates.
"It’s nice to have fellow Aussies around to have a chat. It’s all good for some of the people you can relate to.”comments