TAKING ON BEST: Futsal rising stars step up for nationals
FUTSAL: The best of the Clarence Valley's flourishing junior futsal ranks are ready to step up to the biggest challenge of their career this weekend at the Futsal Oz 2019 Junior National Championships.
North Coast Futsal has taken two squads to the championships that kick off today, with a predominant number of players from the strong futsal ranks in the Clarence Valley.
The recent rise in popularity of the sport in our region has been driven by North Coast Futsal head coach Renan Fenerich.
Fenerich will coach the two junior sides, in the under-12 and under-14 age divisions, and said the excitement of the group was palpable.
"These kids are some of the best from our region, and the ones who really want to take the opportunities in front of them,” he said.
"They are all very excited, for a few of them this is the first time they have even flown on a plane. I think a few of them haven't slept the past couple of days.”
The players representing North Coast have been a part of the association's High-Performance Futsal Academy throughout 2018 where they were exposed to some of the best training possible.
Through the program they were also involved in the North Coast Futsal Premier League competition that pitted franchise-style teams from Coffs Harbour and the Valley head-to-head.
But it took a round of further selection trials to earn their way into the coveted Nationals squads.
"They have really had to work hard for this opportunity, and now they get to take their game to the next level against the big city sides,” Fenerich said.
"This competition will be tough, there are teams coming from every state and they will be sending their best players.
"Our main goal for this tournament is to provide an opportunity for our players to play among the best there is so they can continue to develop and be challenged in the sport.”
But that does not mean the North Coast teams are going to be easy beats for the competition, just the opposite, according to their coach.
"We had a lot of training and preparation time at the end of last year and we have definitely developed a game plan, as well as plans B, C and D,” he said.
"I am confident we can come away with a few wins. The players need to be tuned in and focussed but I doubt that is going to be an issue.”
North Coast under-12s
Zethan Nichols, Koby Clayton, Mason Forshaw
North Coast under-14s
Zac Pacey, Kayne Pacey, Kele Jeffrey, Hendrix Mahoney, Keilan Thomson, Kasey Broderick, Jaykila O'Driscoll, Elisa Allen, Brayden Lolic