So after months of admin, red tape, tears and sweat, Galveston Pirates have finally got their man!
Young Indian midfielder Pratik Shinde finally had his visa to the U.S. approved last week, with the player heading to Houston on Wednesday September 18th to join up with his teammates and sponsor for his visit to Texas.
Despite a positive outcome, the youngster has had a roller coaster ride with the highs of initially gaining himself a dream move and professional playing contract in Texas to the lows of being turned down by the U.S. consulate for a visa. However, late last week his appeal was heard and thanks to Galveston Pirate coach and general manager Brendan Keyes, who will be housing and supporting the youngster financially in his time in the Southern State, the appeal ended well with his visa being stamped, allowing him to enter the U.S. to complete his dream move.
When the initial news broke back at the early part of this year that Pratik had signed, news broadcasters in his home country went into overdrive as the player aged just 15 had become the youngest Indian player to sign for a foreign club.
Pratik started playing football in the slums of Mumbai and is a world away from the golden streets of Galveston that he's arriving to, but he will be in the good hands of Pirate coach Brendan Keyes who himself is no stranger to moving country.
Brendan is Irish by birth and moved to the U.S. to play in the NASL before there was a MLS, so knows well what is required to live in a new town and new country.
It's a story that will be heard for some time to come and perhaps has raised the expectation on the player before he arrives, but Keyes knows what he's doing as his coaching certificates will tell you, so expect something special from the youngster.
I am sure Pratik will ease himself into the Galveston society gently and amongst a young Pirate side, he will blend well with the current players.
We wish him well for the future and we will be watching closely as his American journey begins.
Marc Roseblade is a Contributor for Bleacher Report as well as Not Just Scottish Football and youth development reporter for Ayr United Football Academy. All quotes are obtained first-hand unless otherwise stated. This article can also be found here.