AFTER years of travelling to reach his desired destination, Alex Parsons is hoping his footballing journey has just begun.
Although he has only been a professional for a matter of months, the teenager has racked up plenty of miles on his way to the Cherries first team.
Cherries fans were given their first look at the latest player to roll off the production line when Parsons made his league debut as a late substitute against Wycombe Wanderers of Monday.
While it was just a fleeting glimpse in the closing stages, Parsons is determined to build on it.
And if dedication is a key ingredient in making the grade, that cameo might not be the last supporters see of the versatile first-year pro.
Having spent his early Cherries years travelling along the coast from his Worthing home to attend training and matches, Parsons has already demonstrated he is willing to put in the hard yards in his bid to become Cherries’ latest homegrown star.
“I was playing in a school game in Sussex and someone saw me there,” Parsons told the Daily Echo, explaining how he earned his chance with Cherries.
“I came down here for a six-week trial and they signed me then. I think I was 13.
“I went through the school of excellence, a two-year scholarship with Joe Roach and then got a professional deal. I always wanted to do this and was always hopeful and always believed in myself.”
Parsons continued: “I am from Worthing but stay in digs down here and have done since I left school.
“Before my scholarship, I was going back and forth on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It was a lot of travelling but it has all paid off now.
“My mum and dad (Anna and Paul) would take time off work to bring me down here but it has all paid off. They were here on Monday and have been to all of my games.”
Capable of playing out wide or up front, the youth-team graduate gained valuable experience of senior football with a three-month loan spell at Wimborne Town earlier in the season and is now hoping to make his mark at Seward Stadium.
Although Parsons acknowledges he faces a tough task to displace the likes of Marc Pugh and Scott Malone from Lee Bradbury’s line-up, he is vowing to graft in pursuit of his goals.
“I am going to work hard and try to get into the squad,” he said. “It will be hard but that is all I have ever wanted to do.
“The aim when you train every day is to get into the squad.
“There are quite a few injuries at the moment – luckily for me but unlucky for them – so I have been quite fortunate in that way that I have been able to get a place on the bench.
“To come in full-time and train every day, I feel like it has sharpened me up and made me quicker. It has helped my touch because the pace, even when we are playing little games, is always fast and you have got to be on it every day.”
Parsons is determined to repay the faith of manager Bradbury for giving him his “dream” of a pro deal.
Parsons added: “Not many clubs give you chances but Bournemouth do and it pays off for them. When you are young and you see people coming up – even last season with Danny Ings when he was quality in the second half of the season – it always gives you the belief to want to go and do that.”