Charlie Walker is determined to make the most of his remarkable rise from parks football to the professional game.
Five years ago Walker was playing for fun in the Brighton League with a team called Orb360.
Now he is looking forward to the new League Two campaign after signing a two-year deal with Luton Town.
At 24 and having not had any previous links with a professional club, Walker knows he has not followed the conventional route into football’s full-time ranks.
But after scoring 43 goals in all competitions as Peacehaven won the Ryman south and Sussex Senior Cup double last season, Walker is hungry to grab his chance.
As recently as the 2009-10 season, Walker was helping Orb360 win the Brighton League division two title.
He got his chance at Shoreham in County League division one the following season, then scored 34 goals the following year for both the Musselmen and Lancing plus three for Sussex.
In 2012-13, Walker played a part in Whitehawk winning the Ryman premier title, then he enjoyed his best season in senior football to date at Peacehaven last year.
Walker told The Argus the move to Luton has taken him by surprise. He said: “I couldn’t quite believe it at first. I understand it is a great opportunity and I’m just going to give it the best I have got.
“It has always been the dream to be a professional football player but I never thought it would actually happen, especially with my age.
“I played parks football with my friends until I was about 19. It was for a team run by my mate’s dad, just something for a laugh.
“I then went to Shoreham, then to Lancing and scored a few goals there towards the end of the season. When I started playing for Sussex, that is when I got recommended to Darren Freeman at Whitehawk.”
It was the move to Peacehaven which allowed Walker’s career to really take off.
The Brighton-based striker will always be grateful for the help Peacehaven boss Shaun Saunders and assistant Tony Coade gave him.
He said: “I am close friends with Shaun and he has been brilliant. He has always been there to help me, anything I needed he was there.
“Tony Coade is probably the best coach I have played for. He has developed my all-round game completely. I feel I have become a better player at Peacehaven.”
Crawley and Dagenham and Redbridge were also believed to be interested.
Walker added: “I heard a couple of weeks before the end of the season that there was interest from other clubs and Luton was one name that was thrown about.
“After the Senior Cup, it turned out Luton were the favourites and it was probably the best opportunity for me.
“It is a case of working through pre-season. If I score goals in pre-season I will try to give the manager a bit of a headache on who to pick.”