Young Sydneysider jets off to Macedonia

When Daniel Georgievski signed for Melbourne Victory in September 2014, few - if any - football supporters in his home country had heard of the Australia-born Macedonia international.

Despite having played 20 matches for Macedonia and faced the likes of Chelsea and Schalke in the UEFA Champions League, Georgievski arrived back in Australia unheralded and without any public profile.

Fast forward eight months and Georgievski has lifted two trophies, ensuring his signature is one of the most sought after in the Hyundai A-League, with his contract with Victory having expired following their grand final triumph.

His strong performance in FYR Macedonia's 0-0 draw with the Socceroos in March wouldn't have gone unnoticed either. 

Socceroos held by plucky FYR Macedonia

Australian football fans are rarely understanding of players who choose to represent a foreign country rather than the Socceroos, but with so few professional contracts available in Australia, international football can provide opportunities local players cannot afford to turn down.

Nicola Kuleski is one player, who is making the most of the chances his heritage presents, with the 19-year-old defensive midfielder set to represent Macedonia in a UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier against Iceland on June 11.

"A lot of people ask me that question: 'Why didn't you choose Australia?' It's not really about choosing, to be honest, at this stage," Kuleski told Goal Australia before leaving Australia on Tuesday. 

"It's just an honour for me to represent Macedonia or Australia, I don't really mind. I just need that experience at the moment… and being given that opportunity is a wonderful thing at my age."

Kuleski's story has more than a passing resemblance to Georgievski's.

Both were born in Sydney, both have Macedonian heritage and both were identified by the country of their forefathers before the country of their birth.

"Playing for a national team gives you an opportunity in its own right," Kuleski said.

"Especially playing for a European country and being [from] a small country like Macedonia playing against the powerhouses of Europe, if you play well... you get noticed very easily.

"So I sometimes look at his [Georgievski's] story and say 'hopefully that could be me one day'."

Kuleski's hopes of getting noticed may come to fruition too, with a scout from Portuguese Primeira Liga club Vitoria Guimaraes set to watch him in Iceland.

Like Georgievski almost a decade ago, Kuleski has never been contacted by Football Federation Australia (FFA), although he retains hope that a call may come one day.

Kuleski, or Kuki - "I don't think many of my team-mates know my first name" - has spent the past two seasons with Sydney's National Youth League side, while he is playing for Manly United in the 2015 NPL NSW season.

He is the son of former Macedonia international Blagoja Kuleski, who emigrated to Australia in 1992, and played for Marconi Stallions and Melbourne Zebras in the National Soccer League.

Kuki will take part in a five-day training camp in Ohrid, Macedonia this week before heading to Iceland, where he is fairly confident he will start Macedonia's first qualifier in the lead-up to the 2017 tournament in Poland.

Ryan Williams, Neil Kilkenny and Jackson Irvine are three examples of players who represented other countries' youth sides before pulling on a Socceroos shirt, while Josip Simunic is the most notorious Australia-born player to choose another international team.

For Kuki, his will be a fairly easy decision if he remains off the FFA's radar.

"[My dad] would love for me to represent both Macedonia and Australia at the same time but I can't, so he goes 'represent whoever gives you the opportunity'," he said.

"You know, representing Australia would be fantastic as well, representing Macedonia would be fantastic at the same time in its own right, so he says 'which one gives you the opportunity…that's the one to stick with'."

It is that kind of pragmatism that may turn off some fans but could ensure a professional career for the teenager.

Other young Australian footballers straddling the dual-heritage divide

Steven Ugarkovic

Age: 20

Club: HNK Gorica (Croatia)

International experience: Croatia U19s, Australia U23s

George Mells

Age: 18

Club: Southampton (England)

International experience: Australia U17s, Greece U17s

Panos Armenakas

Age: 16

Club: Udinese (Italy)

Position: Midfielder

International experience: Greece U17s, Australia U17s

Paul Katsetis

Age: 19

Club: AS Trencin (Slovakia)

International experience: Greece U17s