BILLINGE FC footballer Adam Clare thought playing on the hallowed Wembley turf had been the ultimate dream but he was in for yet one more surprise.
Adam, 26, had been one of 34 players selected for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a match at the national stadium in the culmination of the Budweiser Open Trials.
But little did Adam know that eight players from the game were to be chosen to fly out to Brazil to represent the UK in a special six-a-side tournament in Rio de Janeiro.
Initially one of 1,000 hopefuls nationwide who entered the Open Trials, Adam was shortlisted from the regional trials, where he trained at Leyland as one of 126 invited to train at England’s St George’s Park training ground.
And after making the final cut Adam played in a side managed by Alex McLeish and David Ginola, the match took place on the Monday following the weekend of the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.
But, despite defeat in the game, there was still one even bigger shock in store for Adam as he was chosen as one of eight players to be making a trip to Brazil to compete in The Budweiser Cup.
“This is just a dream come true – what more could you ask for,” said Adam, who lives in Grange Park.
“Wembley had been an unbelievable experience. The whole process was amazing and they put us up in a hotel and we were treated like real footballers. It was just great.”
“And then they got us together in the Bobbie Moore suite after the game at Wembley and announced it. We didn’t even know until the day that people were being selected to go to Brazil!
The ‘Bud Cup’ is a six-a-side tournament which will see Adam and the UK team take on sides from Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina and Guatemala among others.
The ‘Bud Cup’ will be hosted at the Brazilian Naval School in Guanabara Bay, in Rio de Janeiro.
And the all-expense paid trip will also see the team going to see a World Cup quarter final match at the Estádio do Maracanã, the scene of some of Brazilian football’s greatest moments.
The team set off to Brazil from Heathrow airport on Wednesday, July 2 and will return on Tuesday.