Rising Bendigo soccer star Luke Burns is ready to take his game to the next level.
A standout season at under-18 level with Bendigo City FC has earned the goal scoring machine a berth with reigning National Premier League under-20 champions Pascoe Vale for 2019.
Burns scored 33 goals for the season with Bendigo City to be runner-up in the Golden Boot for the competition.
His season included a haul of five goals against Moreland Zebras and hat-tricks against Melbourne Victory and North Geelong.
Burns' form helped the Bendigo City under-18s exceed expectations and finish inside the top 10 of the west conference ladder.
"We had a new coach (Stuart Gough) come in and he really helped the team come together as one,'' Burns said.
"He helped everyone improve and that ultimately made us play better as a team.
"We finished ninth on the ladder which was good to see. We had been on the end of a lot of losses (in previous years)... and we beat a number of teams that finished above us on the ladder."
Burns' form caught the eye of NPL power Pascoe Vale and the club offered him a trial.
The Bendigo teen was among 32 players to train with Pascoe Vale on Tuesday night.
One session was all the coaching staff needed to see and they offered Burns a place at the club.
"I wasn't sure what to expect.. but it was a lot of fun,'' Burns said of the Pascoe Vale trial.
"Pascoe Vale has a lot of expectations. Their under-18s and under-20s were champions this year and their seniors were third. They hold themselves to high standards. It will be a good challenge for me."
Gough wasn’t surprised my Burns’ success.
“The kid is an assassin in front of goals,’’ Gough said of Burns.
“He’s just got it… he’s good on his left foot, right foot and he has speed. The best thing is that he has resilience. If something doesn’t go right he works hard to fix it. He’s a fighter.”
For the second-straight year, Burns will embark on a European tour with the Melbourne Football Stars next month.
Burns, his Bendigo City team-mate Connor Hicks and a group of talented under-18 players from Victoria, will play seven games in two weeks, including training sessions at one of the biggest clubs in Spain.
"We get to spend time at Valencia's Academy which will be a great experience,'' Burns said. "It's exciting to get professional coaching."
The Stars' squad played Bendigo City in a trial game at Epsom last Sunday. The Stars won 6-2, with Burns scoring a hat-trick.