Two-and-a-half years ago, Mo Adams was released after completing his apprenticeship at Derby County.
Fast forward to the present and he has at last realised his dream of becoming a professional footballer after being drafted by Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire.
“Ever since I could walk it’s been a dream of mine to be a professional soccer player,” Adams told the club website. “I had some interviews (with Chicago) and met with the coaching staff and there was some good interest there and I could sense something happening.
“When you’re sitting down, waiting to hear your name called, you don’t know what to expect. It’s a bit of sigh of relief to finally be able to call myself a professional soccer player but you know it kind of shows all the sacrifice and hard work I put in finally paid off.
“I’m pleased it’s this team and I’m very excited for the opportunity to be able to play with some unbelievable players and it’s just a dream come true for me.”
The 21-year-old almost took a very different path, however, when he looked set to sign for Blackburn Rovers following a successful period on trial in 2015, only for a long-term ankle injury to scupper his hopes.
Undeterred, Adams turned his attention to America, seeking a scholarship at Syracuse University, where he played football alongside studying for a Business Management degree.
The defensive-midfielder excelled in his new home, being named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference freshman team and third team All-ACC in his freshman year.
Adams continued to progress on the pitch in his Sophomore year, serving as a team captain as well as being named to the All-ACC second team before declaring for the 2018 draft by signing a contract with Generation Adidas, a joint program between the MLS and Adidas.
And the Fire traded up to the tenth pick to select Adams, meaning he will team up with a number of established internationals, most notably former Manchester United and Bayern Munich World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Adams said: “Bastian Schweinsteiger has been my idol growing up and now he’s my team-mate, so it’s going to be something that will shock me for a while, but I’ll get used to it.
“To be around those players, I’m looking to learn from each and every one of them every day, I’m all ears.
“When you get an opportunity to do what you love for a job and a living it’s an opportunity you have to grab.”