As he prepares to rub shoulders with Olympians and World Cup winners, Ben Wright has made no secret of the debt of gratitude he owes to Harleston Magpies.
It was announced in January that the 24-year-old had accepted an offer to pursue a career in Australia with Perth-based Old Aquinians.
Tomorrow’s clash with top-of-the-table Old Loughtonians will mark Wright’s last appearance in a Magpies shirt before he heads down under, bringing an end to a long association with the club.
Aside from a two-year stint playing for Southgate and Cambridge City in his late teens, Wright has been involved with Magpies since the age of four.
And the player-coach is under no illusions that without the Shotford Heath-based side’s guidance over the years, his Australian adventure may never have happened.
“I have been attached to Harleston virtually all of my life and I am indebted to them,” he said.
“The coaching I received all throughout my youth has given me good chances and improved my game — for that I am eternally grateful.
“I am younger than a lot of my team-mates, but they have accepted me as a coach and that is a real credit to them.
“Their support has been invaluable and I am lucky to have such a close friendship group at the club.”
Looking ahead, Wright is faced with the challenge of pitting himself against big names in the Melville Toyota League — Western Australia’s leading division.
Some of his new team-mates have represented their country at Olympic Games, while others have World Cup experience.
“It is a little bit daunting, but I feel excited more than anyhing else,” he added.
“I have to go out there, adapt to the level — which is superior to what I play right now — and then prove my worth.”
“It is going to be a steep learning curve, but hopefully this is just the start for me.”
Wright has scored 96 goals for Magpies, 28 of which have come this season.
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