Football Tasmania believes Nathaniel Atkinson's best-on-ground performance in Sunday's A-League grand final highlights the potential for Tasmanians to make the highest levels of the sport.
However, FT chief executive Matt Bulkeley fears other budding stars are being held back by the state's lack of pathways, opportunities and national league teams.
As Atkinson's home club Riverside Olympic spent Monday fielding numerous press enquiries about the talented 22-year-old, Bulkeley said not every Tasmanian can leave home at 14 to chase their dreams.
"For Nathaniel to score a goal and be named best on ground in the biggest match on the Australian domestic football calendar is an outstanding achievement for which he, his family, home club Riverside Olympic, and the Tasmanian football community should be very proud," he said.
"We believe that Tasmanians should have pathways to the very highest level of the game, without having to leave the state like Nathaniel has.
"It's clear our young players have the talent and potential but increasing the pathways available to them will give them more opportunities for success.
"To this end we will continue to work hard towards seeing an A-League and W-League club of our own in Tasmania become a reality."
Atkinson shared his grand final glory with mum Kristy, who also played for Riverside and was his first coach.
His late uncle Matty also played for the Windsor Park club, his grandmother Felicity is a life member of both Olympic and the Northern Tasmanian Junior Soccer Association and his younger brother Jakoby plays under-13s and is in the NTJSA gold rep team.
Atkinson should learn on Tuesday whether he has been selected in the Olyroos team for the Tokyo Olympics.
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