If you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, it's highly unlikely that they'll profess aspirations of middle management. Instead, they're likely to share their dreams of becoming the next Beyoncé, Steve Jobs or Ronaldo. The sky's the limit for many children and that's exactly where they're aiming.
This leaves many parents with a dilemma over how much they should support these dreams, especially if a child shows particular promise in their interest — be that with skills on the football pitch, a keen technical eye or an impressive vocal range. On one hand you don't want to set them up for disappointment, but on the other you don't want to deny them the chance to achieve their dream.
Of course, skill isn't always enough when breaking into the big time — luck and timing also play a large part in setting a child on the road to success. There's clearly a huge leap between local kids' football classes and the hallowed turf of Wembley — reasoning that can be hard to explain to a determined six-year-old.
The good news for budding young footballers is the chance of being scouted from lower level clubs is greater than ever. Following the success of Jamie Vardy, who quickly rose through the ranks to the heady heights of the Premier League, it seems the opportunities for young talent to be scouted are becoming more prevalent.
In a recent interview with sportswear supplier Kitlocker Tim Coe, chief scout at Crystal Palace, spoke of the importance of scouting at grassroots level:
"We spend the vast majority of our time watching lower league and non-league football. There is a lot of talent and potential and there are a lot of examples of players who have risen through the levels to play at the highest level."
Joe Purkiss, scout at Revo Sports Management, works with teams across the league and most recently scouted for Sheffield United's under-13s' youth team. Joe also told Kitlocker about the wealth of talent just waiting to be discovered in lower and non-league teams:
"Scouting at a grassroots level is very important; there are so many players that are good enough to compete in professional leagues but for whatever reason haven't been picked up, or they may have been dropped by an academy or simply didn't get the chance. More and more players are being signed from non-league football teams and a lot of this is down to the success of Jamie Vardy and teams realising there's a lot of talent that isn't involved in a professional club."
This is undoubtedly great news for kids and parents alike. Just knowing there's a high possibility that little Tommy or Tilly could be spotted playing for their local team can be great for boosting their confidence on the pitch. And for the parents who have supported their little ones through years of toddler football classes, there's every chance those rainy Saturdays on the side lines could pay off with a Premier League signing.