Luke Hammond could be on the verge of “living his dream” by signing a professional contract in America.

The former Clacton Town midfielder, recently released by Heybridge Swifts, is just back from a week-long trial with the San Jose Earthquakes.

And having made a big impression on head coach and former Ipswich Town star Frank Yallop, he has been invited back for a month in January.

If everything goes to plan and he lands a deal, Hammond will be following in the footsteps of dad Geoff, who played for Connecticut alongside the likes of Pele and George Best.

The 25-year-old, who emerged through the youth ranks at Colchester United, told the Gazette: “It would be a dream to live and play in the MLS (Major League Soccer).

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m very excited about going back after Christmas.

“To be honest, I thought my chances of playing professionally had gone and were dead and buried.

“But this goes to show you should never stop believing and the first trial went very well.

“The Earthquakes paid for my flight and accommodation and I spent a week out there training with them in California.

“We also played some practice matches and I managed to score a hat-trick on my first day.

“Physically, the other players were superior to me but technically, I felt I was as good as anyone.

“Frank (Yallop) told me I could definitely make the grade out there and wants to have another look at me.

“Even if I don’t get a deal with the Earthquakes, he said he’d recommend me to other MLS sides or those in the next league down, the USL.

“But if nothing comes from it long-term, it’s still been a great experience and a real eye-opener.”

Hammond was invited to America after being watched by scout Trevor James, towards the end of last season when he was still playing for Swifts.

The pair then started corresponding by e-mail and that led to the invitation.

Whatever happens with the Earthquakes, Hammond needs to find a new club after being released by Swifts.

“It’s a disappointing,” said the former Seasider.

“Maybe (Swifts boss) Wayne Bond thought I wasn’t committed to the club, because I’ve agreed to go back out to America in January.

“But it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and not one I could turn down.”