BRENDAN Cholakian is the type of footballer who puts bums on seats.
The Manly United captain is one of the shining lights in the National Premier Leagues NSW men’s competition, constantly causing defenders headaches.
How he isn’t gracing the A-League is a mystery, but the 24-year-old isn’t kicking stones – it makes him even more determined to realise his potential.
"Of course when you see other players given an opportunity, it leaves you feeling a little envious,” Cholakian said.
"But that’s football, you have to deal with setbacks."
Cholakian has trained with Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets and the Central Coast Mariners in recent years, so he knows what aspects of his game he has to improve.
"The feedback was all positive, and it was great to be in that fulltime professional environment,” he said.
"I don’t think I am that far away, but I won’t wait forever, I am always exploring my options."
Those currently include potential suitors in Iran, Armenia and Belgium.
"I’ve had a few scouts look at me this year and they said they can open a few doors for me abroad,” he said.
"It would be a culture shock, but I want to be a professional footballer, so I’m open to anything."
Cholakian’s first club was Marconi aged 10, where he played alongside the likes of Terry Antonis, Bernie Ibini and Dimi Petratos.
Youth league stints at Manly and Blacktown City FC followed, before he was invited to trial with Liverpool FC.
"I was lucky enough to get picked in their Academy squad when I was 15 and spent a year and a half there,” he said.
"I played with and against guys like (English Premier League stars) Ross Barkley, Jesse Lingard, Andre Wisdom and Jon Flanagan.
"I then went to Stoke City and played North of England Schoolboys before deciding to come home."
Cholakian won a 20s title with APIA Leichhardt, and then came off the bench when Marconi won a first grade grand final in 2012.
A conversation with Craig Midgley saw him call Manly United home ahead of the 2013 campaign, where he has dazzled ever since.
This year Cholakian led the northern beaches squad to a top three finish, and with Bonnyrigg this Saturday night in an elimination semi-final, they are still a chance for silverware.
"The squad has evolved in recent years, (coach) Paul Dee has recruited very well,” he said.
"Hopefully we have a few more games over the next few weeks."
If Manly are to feature on grand final day at Leichhardt Oval, keep a close eye on Cholakian – you won’t be disappointed.