Jonathan Bond is ready to prove a point after a dream move to LA Galaxy.
The 27-year-old joined the MLS side on an initial two-year deal from West Brom this month.
He flies to the US on Tuesday for a move which will allow him to step out of the shadows.
The former Watford and Reading goalkeeper has always been an able deputy – making 124 appearances since his senior debut on loan at Forest Green in 2011 – but knows it is time to become number one.
“I feel ready. It’s the next stage of my development – to do it consistently and show that I can. They have a lot of pedigree and it’s a great platform,” he told the PA news agency.
“I’m so excited. It’s one of the most famous clubs in the world and to have the opportunity to play for a team like that is massive.
“I’m going there to play, it’s a huge opportunity to play regularly and get some full seasons at a high level.
“I was hoping and praying it was going to go through because these things are never guaranteed, they are always complicated.
“I was looking in the summer at other options but Covid came at a bad time and I ended up re-signing but then found myself in more of a difficult position at West Brom.
“I’d known about the MLS interest since the summer, even though I was signing a new deal at West Brom I knew there was a chance of something happening in January.”
Bond made seven appearances for the Baggies in two-and-a-half years, all coming in the FA and League Cups, with first-choice keeper Sam Johnstone not missing a league game until he sat out the 3-2 win at Wolves while he recovered from coronavirus.
It came just two days after Bond completed his switch to Galaxy but he has no regrets over his time at The Hawthorns.
“I went there when I was 25 off the back off a full season (on loan at Peterborough) and it was an opportunity to go and develop with a goalkeeping coach who is highly rated,” he said.
“In my whole development my first six months at West Brom was huge for me, I developed so quickly and that was more beneficial than playing a full season at Peterborough, in a strange way.
“Sam has played really well, especially in the last couple of seasons, but I felt I was very close and I was putting some pressure on. In another time it might have broken for me.
“I felt I got a bit unlucky not to get a chance in the league, he didn’t miss a game in the whole time I was there which was incredible.
“It starts to feel like you are close, it always feels like you have a chance. When Sam was playing extremely well in the Premier League you do feel a bit far away from it, I wont lie, but in the Championship there have been times I was really close.
“It’s not like the door is shut and you’re making up the numbers just turning up for training every day.”
Now he jets off to California as Galaxy, who finished 10th in the Western Conference last season, hunt their first title for seven years.
“Everyone says it’s the level of the Championship, so it is higher than people think. It has developed a lot in the last five years,” added Bond, whose mother, Elena, is from Seattle meaning he holds an American passport.
“It’s a very different style of football though, there’s a lot less pressure on the managers and owners to win. You can set a philosophy, get more of a technical game and managers get more time, all the things you want as a club.”