At times, it has been tough for West Ham United teenager Sebastian Lletget.
Living thousands of miles from his hometown of San Jose, California, and suffering from a severe bout of glandular fever during his Academy scholarship threatened to derail his promising career.
But the United States Under-23 international has stuck at it and, as he begins his third season as a professional, has been rewarded with a call-up to the first-team squad for their pre-season training camp in Austria.
The 19-year-old attacking midfielder - considered by many to be among the most skilful players at the Club, told West Ham TV of his delight at being included and his high hopes for the season ahead.
"I'm really pleased to have got the call-up and I think the boys have received me well," said the American. "Basically, I have nothing but good things to say and am really relishing it.
"Training on Monday was good but it was so hot! The weather means it is going to be a tough week. It's very hot and humid and coming back from summer, we're not all going to be 100 per cent fit. It's going to be tough but it's going to be a lot of fun too."
Having been called upon regularly by his country in recent summers, Lletget was afford the luxury of a free close-season after the USA failed to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The player himself believes the rest will be of huge benefit as he seeks to establish himself in Sam Allardyce's squad on a regular basis.
"Big time, I think the rest was important. I think this summer I have enjoyed being home but I've also worked hard on the things I need to work on from last season.
"I think I have improved and hopefully I can show the manager what I can do."
When Lletget - signed from West Ham United International Academy partner club Sporting Santa Clara - looks around at the Hammers squad, he will see that he has a real chance to make the next step and save the Club from having to sign another midfield player ahead of the Barclays Premier League campaign.
"I am sure there are more signings to come but I just hope I can do my thing and realise the potential the manager sees in me."