Fourteen youngsters from the Far South Coast and Eastern Victoria have made the annual trek to compete as part of the Launceston Soccer Tournament over the weekend.
The group of 13-year-olds came from Bega, Merimbula, Eden and Mallacoota, playing in the sky-blue jersey of the Far South Coast Soccer Association (FSCSA).
It’s been somewhat of a tradition for the local Association who have sent an under 13’s rep side to the far-flung competition for over 20 years, however this year is the last for the time being.
Coach Toby Willington was pleased with his team’s efforts.
“It was great for the boys to come up against some tough competition, they learnt lots that will benefit them and they handed out a few lessons of their own,” Toby said.
“They can be very proud to come away with two wins from four starts.”
The ‘Coasties’ finished second in their pool and came up against the Hills Hawkes from Sydney in the play off for third spot.
The Tassie rain and wind was coming in sideways at kick-off, with the Coasties first to score. An evenly contested match played out with the Sydneysiders two ahead early in the second half.
The Hawkes managed to hold off a spirited charge late in the game to down the Coasties 4 – 3.
“These boys love their soccer and have had a ball playing in such a big competition,” Toby said.
Toby who was part of the winning 2012 Under 13’s Coasties side in Tassie interrupted his HSC preparations at Bega High to coach the side.
The Launceston Tournament attracts teams from New South Wales, Victoria and across the Apple Isle.
The trip south was only made possible through the generosity of the local community who supported the teams fundraising efforts.
“The boys want to thank everyone who bought a raffle ticket or made a donation, we couldn’t have done this without you,” Will Roberts, Coasties Captain said.
FSCSA Rep Convenor and Under 13’s Manager, Craig Howker said it has been a big decision not to go to Tassie in 2018.
“Interest in soccer across the Bega Valley is growing, and we want to support more girls and boys playing at that higher level,” Craig said.
“The fundraising will continue, but we’ll be investing that money in better equipment and training, and creating more opportunities for teams from under 12 to seniors to represent our region.
The under 13 Coasties now return home for the Karl Posselt Cup that will run at Berrambool Oval this weekend with competition starting on Friday.
Now in its ninth year, the KP Cup is geared towards under 12’s and under 13’s, drawing about 30 boys and girls teams from NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.