Tyler Boyd has been handed one of Wellington Phoenix's two remaining Under-21 contracts.
The 17-year-old has signed with the A-League club for three years after impressing coach Ricki Herbert since joining the Phoenix's school of excellence in June.
Boyd was one of eight young New Zealand players selected for the first intake of the academy and got plenty of game time during the recent tour of India.
"From as early as four years old I had made my mind up that I wanted to be a footballer," the teenager said.
"What has happened in such a short time is amazing and I still find it hard to believe that I am now part of the squad along with the likes of Paul Ifill, Mark Paston and Andrew Durante."
Boyd has been described as a "natural goal-scorer" by Chris Greenacre, the former striker-turned Phoenix assistant coach.
But with the signing of Belgian international Stein Huysegems on Friday and Paul Ifill, Jeremy Brockie and Benjamin Totori also vying for a spot up front, Boyd will have to show the same sort of determination he did to get his first professional contract to make the match-day squad.
"I had my eyes set on one of those [under-21] spots," said Boyd.
"I was lucky enough to score a few goals early in the piece and that helped my confidence.
"Now that I've been given a contract it is up to me to continue training hard and doing what the coaches tell me.
"Ricki has been fantastic and I am so grateful that he saw the potential in me. He has taught me a lot already and there is a lot more to come."
The Phoenix need to sign one more Under-21 player before the start of the season, and attacking midfielder Louis Fenton is the front-runner.