Alanzo Kuhn, a 2017 Shield Sbonis'iDiski runner-up, has revealed how being part of the campaign has helped him to land himself a chance at a PSL club.
Now in its third year, the nationwide talent-spotting contest is back and even bigger. The campaign, which previously saw Shield team up with Orlando Pirates and Chelsea, has now collaborated with Premier League champions Manchester City and LaLiga in a bid to further expand its footprint across South Africa.
In 2017 and 2018, the top six footballers of the respective contests got the opportunity to realise their dreams of being professional footballers.
The selected players had the unique opportunity of training at Chelsea's world-class facilities at the famous Cobham training grounds, and also met up with likes of 2018 FIFA World Cup winner N'Golo Kante, David Luiz and Blues legend Michael Essien.
Soccer Laduma caught up with KuHn, who now plies his trade for Absa Premiership outfit Polokwane City, in a bid to find out how his life has changed since taking part in the grassroots talent-spotting contest two years ago.
"A lot has actually changed. I feel like my perspective on football and understanding of the game has changed dramatically, and just understanding what the values and responsibilities that one has when you want things," he said.
"(The Shield campaign) helped a lot, to be honest. I learnt so much during the campaign. Just learning about what it truly means to be a professional footballer.
"I was taught the valuable lesson of being a professional both on and off the field at the same time. You know, it's not just being disciplined on the pitch, it's off the pitch as well. And also giving it your all and believing in yourself."
Kuhn also briefly discussed some of his most cherished moments from his trip to Chelsea.
"Wow. Just having the opportunity to travel was amazing in itself. To learn about and experience the wonderful facilities that Chelsea have, and getting a close-up of it, is a moment I will always cherish," he added.
"Like seeing the way they treat players, the facilities, and how everything works that side of the world. Getting to meet the players was just something else, experiencing their standards and getting to watch a live game was just phenomenal."
In addition to briefly discussing his targets for the future, Kuhn, who can ply his trade in defence and in midfield, also revealed how he managed to secure a move to South African top-flight outfit Rise and Shine.
"I am currently playing for Polokwane City. There's this guy who is now my agent, Darrel Dooks, who got me the opportunity to go over there to showcase my talent there," he explained.
"Things are looking quite good for me there; I appreciate what Mr Dooks did for me.
"For the future, there is a lot that can obviously be at stake. For now, I'm just looking forward to getting better, and gaining more knowledge with regards to football, because that will be good. It isn't easy at the same time.
"Nonetheless, I'm believing and hoping for the best, you know. The best is yet to come for me. I can't really say much, but we will see what happens."
Upon the conclusion of the nationwide trials in June, the top 25 players will be selected to travel to Pretoria for trials in July.
Thereafter, the three winners will be chosen, and they will then travel to Chelsea's famous Cobham training ground to train under the guidance of the Premier League giants' coaching staff.
One aspiring footballer will be crowned the 2019 Shield Ultimate Player, and will take home a one-year contract with Pirates' reserve team.
As a fan, you can enter the contest to stand a chance of winning a once-in-a-lifetime and fully-paid VIP experience with Manchester City at their home ground or at a LaLiga game in Spain by purchasing any Shield product and dialling the USSD code with the last four digits of the barcode on the packaging.