Sacrifice is nothing new for MCU marquee player
Magpies Crusaders' Belgian marquee signing made his first sacrifice to pursue football at 12.
Jordy Vleugels separated from his family at a young age to pursue a professional pathway.
He spent most of his life with Dutch pro club Willem II after he was selected in the Under-12s team and rose to the highest tier with the club.
With two hours' drive from home to his club grounds the young Vleugels opted to stay with foster parents in Tilburg.
"We had to drive a long way for football and it was difficult for my parents to bring me and pick me up, so we tried that out," he said.
"It was strange at the beginning, but I'm very thankful for the people who took me into their house and helped me out."
The recent MCU signing progressed through the top-tier junior squads and made one appearance with Willem II in the Eredivisie, the highest level of professional football in the Netherlands.
He moved to semi-professional team Dordrecht midway through 2015, where he stayed until 2018, amassing much more game time.
After, he jumped between several countries playing football in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and most recently Cyprus, before he decided to take half a year off from the sport in 2019.
"I had a girlfriend in Holland and decided to focus on that instead of soccer," he said.
"When we broke up I decided I wanted to play again. Now I'm here and ready for the season."
Last weekend he played his first game of soccer since the hiatus, against the Central Queensland representative squad.
The Belgian played 85 minutes and impressed coach Tom Ballantyne with his ability to "pull the strings" in the midfield.
Mackay is the furthest from home Vleugels has been, but he has welcomed the fresh scenery.
"I'm used to being without my parents. I miss them, but I'm here to play football and that's what makes me happy," he said.
"I'm happy I can call them every day though."
The well-travelled midfielder said he saw good potential in the Mackay NPL team.
"There was a good amount of goals, good ball possession which is nice to see before the coming trial games," he said.
"I think we might need to be a bit calmer on the ball, take our time, especially when we're tired."
Magpies Crusaders will face the Mackay Zone Select team tomorrow at 7pm for their second run of the year.