It is never too late to live the dream and join the ranks of the professional game. Two squads of amateur footballers have been handed one final chance to impress the league clubs, thanks to Budweiser Open Trials.
The FA Cup sponsors’ UK talent search climaxes this weekend when the finalists emulate Hull City and Arsenal by playing at Wembley in a match that really matters.
More than 2,000 amateur footballers – aged 25 and over - started out and now just 34 remain after grueling sessions at the Football Association’s St George’s Park base.
The squads for Wembley are managed by former West Brom boss Steve Clarke and ex-Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish.
But, more significantly for the Open Trials finalists, the crowd features leading scouts from professional clubs who sign up for up rising stars for a living.
Can the forklift-truck driver from Essex or the building maintenance manager from Leicester impress enough to win a life-changing shot at glory?
Clarke said: “There is no doubt that many talented players slip through the net despite the vast scouting networks some of the clubs have.
“Budweiser Open Trials could be the break some of these lads need to make a career for themselves in the game.”
The progress of the Open Trials finalists has been documented in a TV series, the final episode of which will be available on Goal from 8 a.m. ET on FA Cup final day - Saturday, May 17.
To follow the trials so far, either watch the video above or visit the Youtube channel and Facebook #tothedream