Lachie Riggs has been fanatical about football for as long as he and his mother Janelle can remember.
But after what Janelle described as a "disturbing and upsetting" experience, the Fletcher 13-year-old thought he would be watching from the sidelines this year.
That was before South Wallsend Junior Soccer Club provided Lachie, who has Tourette Syndrome, a lifeline to keep playing the sport he says "means the world to me".
In September last year at age 12, the young goalkeeper was diagnosed with severe and sudden onset Tourette Syndrome.
It started with an eye twitch and within four days had turned into full-body complex motor tics.
There are different severities of Tourette Sydrome and the medical condition can be incapacitating for Lachie.
"There are times where he can't really walk very well. There are times when he can't speak. There are times where he stutters severely," Ms Riggs said.
"He has complex motor tics, which involve the body, and he also has complex vocal tics and coprolalia, which is swearing.
"He could come out with sentences that are totally innocent or he could come out with words or phrases that could be offensive to people. But he has no way of controlling it. He has no way of knowing what's going to come out.
"Some days you wouldn't even know he has Tourette's. Other days you can't think anything but."
This week is National Tourette Syndrome Awareness Week and brave Lachie and his family wanted to take the opportunity to share their story in the hope of educating others about the condition and to also promote inclusiveness for all.
He had signed with a Northern League One team for this season but the Riggs family felt excluded after Lachie had "a bad day" at training.
After a series of meetings with the club, which Janelle did not want to name, Northern NSW Football and parents of Lachie's teammates, the Riggs family decided to leave because Lachie "didn't feel comfortable or supported".
"There was a lack of education and willingness to be educated about Lachie's condition," Ms Riggs said.
"By that stage, Lachie had resigned himself to probably not playing this year, which was really disappointing for him because he's been a fanatical soccer kid for as long as I can remember. So we came along here and the club has been so supportive.
"The coach and the kids are extremely supportive of Lachie and he gets a chance to play a sport that he loves and enjoy himself at the same time. Commonly with Tourette's when they find something they really enjoy and are passionate about, when they're concentrating they often don't tic at all. People can do things that they love.
"We're hoping to spread the word as far as we can because the more people that know the more accepting they're going to be."
Northern NSW Football and Newcastle Football worked together to help find a new team and club for Lachie, who is playing up an age group with the Wolves' under-14 boys interdistrict side.
"It's been awesome," Lachie said. "Everyone is always checking in on me and caring for me."
His hope is that other clubs can follow South Wallsend's lead and be more understanding of people with any condition.
"It's a disability where you do or say things that you can't really help or stop yourself from doing and most people assume when you tell them that you have Tourette's, they go straight to, 'Oh, so you swear'," Lachie said.
"If you come across someone twitching or talking to themselves, just mind your own business and don't make fun of them. Just treat them like you treat everyone else.
"For me, I feel bad for making people wonder what's going on."
South Wallsend Junior Soccer Club secretary Angela Jordan said the club jumped at the chance to help Lachie, who had played with the Wolves in their under-12 NET program last year before pursuing the next level of football in Northern League One.
"We're a community football club and for us it's all about inclusiveness and giving everyone an opportunity to go and play a sport that they love," Ms Jordan said.
"We hope that by creating awareness in the community this might give other boys and girls who might be out there suffering from a medical condition the courage to also play a sport."
The club arranged for a representative from Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia to attend training on Wednesday night to talk to parents and players about what to expect and how to support and help Lachie.