He has the contract to prove it but Louis Fenton is yet to experience the glitz and glamour of life as a professional footballer.
The Tawa product signed a three-year deal with the Wellington Phoenix this week but despite the upgrade he was still faithfully cleaning Paul Ifill's boots when The Dominion Post visited training on Thursday.
The 19-year-old winger still lives at home with his parents, Mike and Lindy, and doesn't have extravagant plans for his first pro pay cheque.
"I'll probably buy some presents for my family, just to say thanks for all their hard work," said Fenton, who has been promoted from the club's academy.
"I'm still living at home and that is good at the moment. I might move out later but having cooked meals every day and getting the washing done, that is definitely a highlight of living at home.
"My dad has taken me everywhere and was my coach until I was about 12.
"My mum is definitely on the other side, gets me talking about other things, and keeps me away from soccer a bit."
A standout for Team Wellington last season, Fenton was playing in the Victorian State League in Melbourne when the Phoenix came calling.
His pace, attacking ability and workrate immediately impressed the coaching staff and he and 17-year-old Waikato striker Tyler Boyd earned significant pre-season minutes and the two remaining under-21 contracts.
"My whole life changed when I got the call to come back into this school of excellence and me and Tyler were lucky enough to be the two chosen.
"I went to Tawa College and Tawa Intermediate and played all my junior football at Tawa.
"So Wellington Phoenix is definitely the home club and it's a great feeling to play for your home club, it's what every boy wants to do."
With the injured Ifill 50-50 for the season opener on October 6, and Dani Sanchez definitely ruled out, Fenton will almost certainly start wide on the right against Alessandro Del Piero and Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium.
It has been a meteoric rise, with some at the club believing Fenton can make the same impact on the A-League that Marco Rojas did in 2010-11.
"Ifill has been positive about it and says one person's misfortune is normally another person's good luck," Fenton said.
"They are playing me as a wide player whose job is to get on the ball a lot, and also has freedom to get at players, which I enjoy. And also to get in the box and score goals which I want to do.
"It all hasn't really sunk in and I guess until I play my first minutes out on Westpac Stadium, it won't feel like I'm a professional soccer player until then."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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