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Kabul's Ferozi FC is a home away from home for American midfielder Pugliese

Nick Pugliese says Ferozi FC quickly became his second family after he began playing professionally with them in 2012.

The 23-year old midfielder became the first American to play professional football in Afghanistan when he impressed in a trial after meeting one of Ferozi's youngsters while working for a leading telecom firm in Kabul.

Rochester, New York native Pugliese, who played in the Kabul Cup-winning team with Ferozi, quit his job to play full-time and he insists it has been a great decision as it brought him closer to the Afghani people he was not really allowed to mix with when working an office job.

"Emotionally I was all in, but rationally it took me a little longer," Pugliese told FIFA.com. "Professional soccer sounded really exciting, but I wondered, 'Am I being stupid?'

"When would I ever have this opportunity again?

"The office job was fine, but you lived in a compound. I woke up, ate and slept all in the confines of the compound. It had a lovely courtyard, a kitchen and a gym - all the comforts of home, but you couldn't really leave."

These restrictions led Pugliese to where he is now and he says he loves the position he has found himself in.

"I was a long way from my family, and I didn't have a support network," he added. "My teammates and coaches quickly became that; it was a home away from home.

"It (soccer) brings people from different backgrounds together, people who would never cross paths otherwise.

"These paths cross through soccer - social, ethnic, all of them - and my story is just an extreme example."

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