For Brennan Camp the road to the AFC Bournemouth first team took 13 years, several seasons of captaining youth team sides, loan spells and international call ups.
But now, well over a decade since he first walked into training as a seven-year-old, Camp completed his journey with a senior start in last Tuesday's Carabao Cup match at Norwich City.
Clearly the heavy defeat at Carrow Road was not part of the storybook rise, but it has given the 20-year-old defender further motivation to continue his push to become a regular Cherries first-team player.
In conversation with afcb.co.uk, Camp talked through the long passage to his debut and some of the things he's learned along the way.
"I've been at the club for 13 years so it's been a long one," he started. "Especially in the last few years I've had some really good seasons.
"I've captained through the age groups, with the younger age groups I'd always play at the older levels and that was always good. Getting called up for Scotland two years ago was another good step for me.
"To be honest I always thought this opportunity would come for me a bit sooner but what I've been happy with this season is that the gaffer's shown trust in us younger players from the start, put us in and I just have to thank him for that because I owe him everything.
"I was gutted with the result against Norwich, but I've got to take the positives from it with the experience and how hard I've worked my past 13 years here at the club.
"It was a really proud moment for me and my family and now I'm hungry for more."
The chance for the Portland native to finally pull on the red and black stripes of his first club came at such speed that his family were unable to make it along to share in the landmark occasion.
"I found out the day before," said Camp. "I was in the team shape in training so I kind of knew I was going to start, I was buzzing with that.
"I told my family that day, the day before the game, they were trying to get the next day off work, trying to sort out travel arrangements but from my house I think it was about a seven hour drive for them to come.
"There was no stream of the game or anything, they were there having to listen at home on the radio.
"They were proud of me and hopefully I've done them proud as well.
"The whole experience was great for me, apart from the result. Playing at a big stadium in front of 20,000-odd fans, these are the games you want to be playing in when you're a young kid.
"Norwich made a few changes as well but you could tell that it was still a very strong side. I felt like I learned a lot from the game, a lot to work on but a lot of positives as well."
Camp lined up at right-back for his bow last Tuesday, and while that's the role he's generally been utilised in during the last two seasons with Weymouth, it was in the centre of defence that the academy graduate first started to make waves.
He spoke about his best role: "I'd say that I've been playing as a centre-back all my life so that's where I'd say that's my strongest position but I've also played as a right-back in the past few years, especially when I've been out on loan.
"It's always good to be able to play in the two positions and I feel like I can do that comfortably, that's another positive for me.
"This season's just been so good for me, training with the first team every day - something I haven't had in the past - being around that environment and being involved on matchdays.
"It's something that I want to keep working on and keep striving for. Hopefully more chances will come for me."