If it wasn't for Aaron Carroll missing out on making the same football team as his school mates, he may not have found rugby.
It was by chance he joined a rugby team and once he did, he never looked back.
"I actually used to play soccer and then one year all my mates made a different team and I wasn't in it and a few of my other mates were playing rugby so I went and played and loved it," Carroll says.
He was about 9 or 10 while attending Morrinsville's St Joseph's Catholic School and looking back now, after attending his first camp with his new Super Rugby team, he's pretty happy about his swtich of codes.
This year, he's been reaching milestones in his rugby career. He was part of the Bay of Plenty Steamers squad who won the Mitre 10 Cup Championship and he secured his first, fulltime Super Rugby contract, signing with the Blues for the 2020 Super Rugby season.
"It was awesome, it was a big dream come true. Living in the Bay all my life through from high school I always wanted to wear the blue and gold and to go and wear it on the big stage and take it out, it's pretty unreal," Carroll says of that October championship final.
Last year Carroll was brought into the Chiefs on a replacement contract. Moving into the realm of professional rugby fulltime is an exciting milestone for the 26-year-old lock, especially being able to play alongside those he looks up to such as Patrick Tuipulotu and Beauden Barrett.
"Patrick Tuipulotu, he's one of the top guys in my position so to learn off him will be awesome, James Parsons is there, one of the top hookers in the game in New Zealand so I'm going to be picking his brain along the way, and I hope to pick up some tips. Even the likes of Tana Umaga on the coaching staff, he was one of the heroes when I was growing up so it's pretty surreal."
Last week, he entered his first Blues camp with his teammates welcoming in the "new guy".
"It was cool, they were very welcoming, got some awesome coaching staff there and it's a good bunch of lads. We all had a good time, looking good for next year."
"I'm looking forward to spending the year here."
The only downside for Carroll is that his position on the team became available because of the misfortune of his Bay of Plenty teammate Baden Wardlaw.
Wardlaw was forced to retire from playing rugby when Blues' medical checks found he had three fused vertebrae in his neck, a life-threatening condition he was born with, which meant if he suffered a knock in the wrong place he would die.
When he initially got the call-up to say there was potentially a position becoming available, he was looking forward to reuniting with Wardlaw and starting their fulltime Super Rugby journey together. When it was confirmed, he had already heard the news from his Bay teammate.
"That was one of my main things, looking forward to coming up here and being able to hang out with him again, unfortunately it was not to be.
"He let all the Bay lads know in advance and so I'd already sort of had a chat with him about it and he backed me, and it was sad for him."
But he has put in the work to get to where he is and he's excited at how quickly his rugby career is moving forward.
He relocated on November 24, a move he and his Auckland-based partner Kelsey Brooke-Cowden are embracing, and he wants to make sure he uses his time properly on the field.
"I want to be able to have an impact on this team and say that I've played my part ... getting a championship will be awesome, but yeah I just want to be able to play my part whatever it is, make sure we're the best team we are, could be."
"This is my first year in the Super environment properly, I just want to make the most of this."
No matter what, the Blues have likely picked up another fan in Carroll's mum, Chars Bartling, whom the Mount Maunganui Sports player says has played a massive part in his success so far.
"She pretty much never misses a game and she was driving me around to all my games before I got my licence, yeah so probably without that, who knows if I would have stuck with it?
"She always supported me but she always made sure I was working hard at school and doing all of that, working hard at work and wasn't putting all my eggs in one basket, so she kept me pretty level and I think it's helped."
Despite relocating to Auckland, Carroll says he'll be back home in the Bay in time for the next Mitre 10 Cup season.
"I'm back with the bay at the end of this super season and then it's reassessing, seeing what's going on and making some decisions from there, or seeing what opprtunities have arisen."
Aaron Carroll on rugby:
He believes a good season comes down to you doing everything you can as a player, knowing your teammates and team chemistry.
He says as soon as you join a team at any level you meet like-minded people who end up like family.
The travel opportunities and forming new friendships are just a couple of the benefits of the game.