JOEL Spano will embark on the soccer tour of a lifetime, thanks to his crowdfunding efforts and the generosity of the Redlands community.
Spano, who has been playing for the Redlands United football club for five years, will be touring England, Scotland and Wales with around 24 other young Queensland players on the British Football Lifetime Experience.
After doorknocking around Thornlands for eight months, 15-year-old Spano raised more than $10,000 to fund his trip.
“I really just want to thank the generosity of the community,” Spano said.
“Without them, I wouldn’t be going on this tour.”
Endorsed by Football Queensland, the tour will involve the players visiting international football stadiums, viewing premier league games and playing friendly matches against UK teams.
“I’m really excited for my first stop, which is at Manchester United,” he said.
“It’s always been one of my favourite clubs.”
He said that while his active fundraising campaign has been hard work, the trip will be well worth it.
“I’m hoping to get a deeper insight into what it takes to play in the top leagues, and figure out what I need to do to get to that top level,” he said.
“I want to be the next Tim Cahill.”
Redlands United football club technical director Ray Wood said he was impressed with Spano’s intiative, and optimistic about the opportunities he will receive on the tour.
“Joel’s a hard worker, and I think that’s reflected in his fundraising efforts,” he said.
“I think the main thing (on this tour) is that he’s always working hard and enjoying every minute.
“Hopefully it’s going to inspire him to kick on with his football.
“I think it will make him realise as he gets older that if you work hard, you’ll get things in life.”