THE best young male footballers in the country will descend on Coffs Harbour next week and three of the region’s best will be among them.
Armidale’s Tom Campbell, Narrabri’s Cooper Brayshaw and Tamworth’s David Ifield will represent Northern NSW Country at the FFA National Youth Championships for boys.
The championships are regarded as the most prestigious junior football tournament for boys and will involve over 400 players from 26 different teams in U13 and U14 divisions.
Campbell and Brayshaw will both play for the 13s.
They have been drawn in Group B with Northern Territory, NSW Country, Queensland Country, Tasmania and Victoria Country.
Ifield is in the 14s and is returning for a second year.
“I was lucky enough to get picked last time,” Ifield said.
For the 13s.
Most of the 14s squad is out of that side.
“There’s maybe four new guys,” Ifield said.
Last year they didn’t get many results, but it was a great experience.
“It was great seeing that level,” he said.
“It was very tough soccer.”
He said it was a goal to make the nationals again.
“And maybe we can get a few results over there,” the 14-year- old said.
They are also in Group B alongside Capital Football, Tasmania, Victoria Country, Northern Territory and fellow Northern NSW side, Northern NSW Metropolitan.
Since the side was named, Ifield has been travelling over to Coffs and Lismore for training, and last holidays spent a few days in camp up in Queensland.
“We played against 16s sides up there,” he said.
The nationals will top off what has been a good year, albeit not quite as successful as the Oxley High student had hoped.
Most recently his North Companions side went down 3-2 in the Tamworth grand final after not losing a game all year.
Ifield is customarily a left back and expects to play in the defence somewhere.
And while it will take up some of his school holidays, Ifield isn’t complaining.
“It’s definitely a good way to spend the holidays,” he said.
“It’s what I want to do.”
For Brayshaw, it will be his first time away to the nationals and he can’t wait.
“It’s really exciting,” he said.
This year was only his first of SYL and he said making the Northern NSW side had come unexpectedly.
He hadn’t really thought about it before it happened.
They’ve had a few training runs together and have come together pretty well.
Next week will though be a step up on anything the 13- year-old has played before.
“It’s going to be really hard and exciting at the same time,” he said.
The Narrabri High student plays up front and will be hoping to bag a few goals like he did in the local grand final to help his Agfarm side defend their title.
He’s been playing football since he was five or six.
“I enjoy it a lot,” he said.
“It’s fun to play and you get to meet new people.”
The 13s take on Victoria Country in their opening game on Monday and the 14s Capital Football (Canberra).