Jacob Draper was once on the conveyor belt to becoming a professional footballer, but has no regrets he switched to hockey.
The Wales and Great Britain international was good enough with the larger round ball to be part of Cardiff City’s academy programme from the age of seven.
He did six years alongside a tiny handful who eventually made it into the professional ranks, but would not change a thing as he prepares for his second Commonwealth Games.
The switch in sports came when Draper was 13 and Cardiff’s coaches told him his growing interest in hockey had placed him at a crossroads.
“They found out I was playing hockey and they weren’t too impressed,” says Jacob, who was part of the GB squad at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“Even at the age of 13, in football you are contracted and you can’t do other things in case you get injured. Playing hockey comes with some risks attached and they were not happy.
“They basically suggested I make a choice between the sports and I chose hockey.”
It was a choice that possibly surprised the football club and its officials.
Draper grew up in Cwmbran, had attended a state school, and had no family background in hockey.
But he enjoyed the sport when he was introduced to it at school by an enthusiastic teacher - after a mate said the hockey team were short of players - and was soon rapidly improving at Gwent Hockey Club.
Initially, he admits, he gave it a try because it “looked like football with a stick” and says: “I played hockey as if I was playing football.”