Nathaniel Atkinson of Melbourne City celebrates after winning the A-League Grand Final at AAMI Park (AAP Image/Scott Barbour)
A Riverside Olympic product is Tasmania's first athlete in action at the Tokyo Games.
Launceston's Nathaniel Atkinson lines up with the Olyroos who are taking on Argentina at 8:30pm tonight AEST.
Last month Atkinson was man of the match in Melbourne City's A-league Grand Final win, in doing so becoming the first Tasmanian to win the competition.
The 22-year-old, who began playing with Launceston club Riverside Olympic before moving to Hobart and Melbourne to chase his sporting dreams, said he was thrilled about becoming an Olympian and hopes it may lead to the next chapter in his life.
“As a footballer you want to play on the biggest stage and other than a World Cup, Olympics are probably the next best thing,” said the winger who fondly recalled watching superstar Neymar help Brazil claim its first Olympic soccer gold medal in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
“Being mostly an under-23 competition, it’s going to have a lot of eyes on it and overseas clubs looking at it, so it puts you on the market and is a big opportunity to make a career for yourself.”
Atkinson is the second Tasmanian soccer player to compete at an Olympic Games after Hobart-born former Marconi defender Dominic Longo was in the 1992 team in Barcelona.