FORMER refugee Nashwan Sulaiman dreamed of playing organised football on proper fields, but never thought it possible.
It's why the 22-year-old doesn't take for granted the chance afforded to him, brother Faisal, Rasho Sharkan, Ameen Oscan and Watban Ibrahim as they look to entrench themselves in Wagga City Wanderers' first grade squad.
Iraqi by descent, the Sulaimans lived in war-torn Syria before leaving for Turkey as refugees, before finding a new home in Australia.
"I lived in Syria for three years, then we moved to Turkey as refugees for four years and then came to Australia two-and-a-half years ago," Nashwan Sulaiman said.
"I wasn't thinking this would ever happen.
"It's a very big opportunity for me to play over here. There's chances to play professionally and things like that."
Wanderers coach Michael Babic expects the quintet, most of whom played for the club's under-20s last year, to provide the unpredictability they need to make finals in their second year in the National Premier League ACT division one competition.
"When you think about where they've come from, a war torn country where they maybe never had grass fields or organised football, to get the opportunity they're having is amazing," Babic said.
"Football is an outlet for what they've been through,they can forget about the past when they're on the field and that's why they love it. These guys have been through a lot just to get here.
"They bring a lot to us from a cultural perspective and they're also amazing beautiful people who are grateful just to play."
Babic is particularly excited by Nashwan's potential, and plans to exploit his speed and stamina out wide.
"Athletically he's the fittest in the team. His desire to get the ball, you can't coach that desire," he said.
"We're always looking for someone with x-factor and these boys have it in spades. I'm very conscious, particularly when we're going forward of letting them play.
"But it's just having that structure defensively where they need the discipline, if we can educate them about that side of the game (we'll be happy)."