It is a path Galashiels footballer Danny Galbraith took on the way to the way to earning a contract with Manchester United, writes Kenny Paterson.
And on Tuesday, 20 youngsters taking part in the Borders Sports Academy got the chance to train alongside SPL side Hearts in what is hoped will be the first step towards becoming a professional.
Borders Sport and Leisure Trust coaches Drew Kelly and Lee Makel set up the trip, which involved a coaching session with Hearts coach Darren Murray.
Kelly said: “Initally, Darren was going to come down here, but we decided to go up there instead and give them the experience of being a professional.
“Darren is recognised as a top coach, and he allowed us to watch a training session with the under-19s Hearts squad.
“They stayed over in the Halls of Residencies and trained all week, so it is giving them the chance to see what it is like as a professional and give them something to aspire to.”
The young footballers, aged 13, who took part in the academy have also been selected for the Borders development squad.
Attending the Sports Academy while being picked for the development group is the same route that former Hibs midfielder Galbraith took, as did ex-Raith Rovers man Andrew Cook, while Innerleithen graduate Steven Notman and Ross Campbell spent time at Easter Road.
The new young hopes of Borders football were given skills development and training sessions at the Netherdale 3G Arena in Galashiels for the remainder of the week with Cowdenbeath coach Makel.
The footballers were amongst 80 young people selected for their talent to participate in the Borders Sports Academy, which ended yesterday.
Coach Kelly added: “One of the aims of the Scottish Borders Sports Academy is to give talented athletes an opportunity to experience what it is like to train and prepare at the highest level.”