Jahan Sanghera’s selection in the Melbourne Victory Academy has taken him a step closer towards realising his childhood dream of playing soccer for leading Australian clubs.
Melbourne Victory is one of the leading soccer teams of Australia's National Soccer League.
The club runs an academy-based program that aims to discover future talent by giving them the opportunity through a professional development pathway.
12-year-old Jahan Sanghera is one of the few young players handpicked for the academy's potential future list.
Speaking to SBS Punjabi, his proud father Satinder Sanghera expressed his happiness over his son's selection.
"The club has a very tough selection process. I am glad Jahan could make the best out of it," Mr Sanghera said.
"There were about 80 players who were part of its pre-academy. I was told that only 18 got selected for the next round and I am very happy that my son is one of them."
Mr Sanghera said that Jahan dreamt of playing soccer for mainstream Australian clubs since his childhood.
"I am glad that it worked out well for him. It is such a proud moment for our family. Now he has an excellent opportunity and access to elite coaching and development opportunities to fulfil his childhood dream.
"It was all possible because of his hard work and passion for the game. I can imagine only, one thing from here for his career and that is onwards and upwards," he said.
Mr Sanghera said that Jahan started playing soccer at a very young age.
"He started playing when he was only four-years-old. He has always played as a centre-back.
"He never misses a single practise session such is his passion for this sport," said the proud father.
The 12-year-old Jahan has already played for various clubs, including the Soccer Pro Academy from 2013 to 2015, Point Cook Soccer Club from 2015 to 2016, Altona City Soccer Club from 2017, Total Football Academy and Green Gully Soccer Club from 2018 to 2020.
In 2019, he made it to the Melbourne Victory Pre-Academy after which he advanced to the next round of 18 players.
The Sanghera family migrated to Australia from the northern Indian state of Punjab in the 1970s.
Since their move, Mr Sanghera said many family members have taken to sports like cricket, soccer, and Kabaddi.
"We consider ourselves very fortunate to have had the opportunity to connect with the sporting culture of this beautiful country," he said.
Mr Sanghera said they established the Singh Sabha Sports Club in 1990 to promote the sporting culture within the Indian community.
His son Jahan also started his career with the club and represented it at the Australian Sikh Games on various occasions.
"We've produced many prominent soccer players through the club, and I am proud of the fact that my son Jahan is also one of them," said Mr Sanghera who runs the soccer wing of the club.
Besides his selection in the Melbourne Victory Academy, the young player has also been offered a soccer scholarship at the Maribyrnong Sports Academy.
He will be commencing Year 7 this year at the Maribyrnong College, in Melbourne's inner west.
Click on the audio link to listen to his full conversion.