FROM Warilla to the Maltese national football team is quite a journey, but one that 22-year-old mid-fielder Jacob Borg has been most content to make.
After playing for Australia's under-20s as a member of the Gold Coast United team that took part in the National Youth League in 2011-2012, the club was kicked out of the A-League last year had Borg fearing for his promising career.
After being snubbed by Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets and thus having his A-League dream crushed, Borg decided to make the big move and head to Europe to try and restart his career.
He ended up in Malta, the country of his heritage.
Last month, his chequered career took a dramatic turn when he made his debut for Malta in a match against Azerbaijan in Baku.
"I had a youth contract at the Gold Coast and I was training with the first team full-time, but when the club folded I went to Illawarra to play for Dapto Dandaloo," Borg said.
"I had always wanted to go to Europe and play there, and every morning and every afternoon I would train and work hard to be fit to go overseas."
A chance meeting with player agent Chris Tanner and the owner of Malta's Balzan Youths club was the break he needed.
"I went to Malta for a trial last year and I signed for Balzan, where I played a couple of dozen games for them before I was spotted by the national selectors," he said.
"My game was getting better and I was becoming more confident.
"I got called up for two international matches against Northern Ireland and Italy, but I never got on the field.
"In the meantime I signed a one-year contract for one of [Malta's] biggest clubs, Sliema Wanderers, last July.
"I made my full debut for Malta when I came on as a substitute in the match against Azerbaijan."
He said his rejection by Sydney FC and the Jets made him realise he had no future in Australia, and to make a professional career he had to leave the country.
"I believe I have made the right decision," he said.
"However, I would not be where I am without the help of my mum and dad, who have always supported me, and all the other people who believed in me.
"My father, Mark, and Illawarra coach Mineo Bonetig trained me every day since I was a kid growing up in Warilla."