From Frankston Standard Leader
Reported by Paul Amy
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FRANKSTON'S latest recruit has come a long way to play in the VFL - all the way from Jacksonville, Florida.

Alex Starling, who was scouted by the Sydney Swans two years ago, arrived in Melbourne on Saturday, being collected at Tullamarine by Dolphins coach Simon Goosey and assistant Bob Keddie.

Starling, 24, 196cm and 93kg, is a college basketballer who was signed by the Swans in 2012 under the international scholarship scheme.

But a stress fracture of the leg prevented them from listing him as an international rookie this year.

However the injury hasn't extinguished Starling's dream of playing football.

He contacted Goosey by email indicating his willingness to move to Melbourne and pick up on what he started with Sydney.

"He loves the game. All he wants is an opportunity and he's prepared to pack up his life without any guarantees,'' Goosey said.

"For him to make that sort of decision tells me he's a very determined person.

"It's a massive thing to do, go to a new country and try your hand at a sport you've never really played.''

In a blog outlining his contact with the Swans, Starling said he achieved his goal to play basketball at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 level with Bethune-Cookman University.

He said the Sydney Swans subsequently identified him as having the "athletic potential'' to play AFL.

"I became interested in the AFL after seeing a few clips of footy. I was then invited out to Rendondo Beach, California to an AFL Draft Combine on June 28, 2011.

"I attended this Combine with other NCAA athletes from various colleges around the USA. The athletes I was competing against for the opportunity to play in the Australian Football League (AFL) had both basketball and American Football backgrounds.''

"I fell in love with Australian Football immediately and knew that if I was given the opportunity to play AFL I would do everything to make the most of it.''

Former Swans coach Paul Roos was involved in the testing, was impressed by Starling and recommended him to the Swans.

He arrived in August, 2011 for a three-week stint with the club, staying with the Roos family.

Goosey has spoken to Roos a number of times about Starling in the past month and is pleased the Dolphins have taken him on.

Goosey said Roos regarded Starling as "one of the best athletes he's ever seen''.

"We've found work for him, he's going to initially stay with Bob Keddie and we're going to work with him every day to get him up to speed with the game,'' Goosey said.

"It's all pretty exciting for Alex and the football club.''