Pari Pantazopoulos admits it felt like a bit of a dream when he received a phone call from Chicago Fire – the club he supported as a child.
The 22-year old Greek-born forward is on trial with the MLS outfit in the hope of winning a professional contract with his beloved Fire.
Pantazopoulos says he has been a Fire supporter since he was a kid so just to be able to train with the club was a dream come true.
“My heart dropped when they called," he told the Chicago Tribune. "I was shocked. I was amazed to get the opportunity to train, to get invited to the team you loved and rooted for since you were a kid. It's like a dream come true."
Born in Athens, Pantazopoulos has spent time in Greece and Cyprus with lower division clubs, sharpening his craft, and says thos experiences have prepared him for the rigors of pre-season training with a professional unit such as the Fire.
"I think it was the experience from overseas because I played professionally over there," he added. "(And) I kind of know how the circle of soccer goes. You've got to be dedicated to the sport, you've got to be disciplined, and from there I know and I've experienced how they live and how to be a professional."
He will train with Chicago for a week before the club decides what to do with him and for now he is happy to work hard and push for a spot on the final 30-man roster.
"I'm not really nervous because I have this experience," he said. "I've just got to step out there and work hard — that's the No. 1 thing for me — and actually play smart, think right and be positive always,” he concluded.