The NSW boys’ and girls’ sides both won School Sport Australia Football Championships last week.
The tournament saw the best school players from all states and territories except Tasmania compete in a round robin in Blacktown and Glenwood, with a traditional points table declaring the winner.
The NSW boys had the competition in their own hands with a game to play and secured the event with a 4-nil win over Queensland.
Felipe Zapata-Castro, a student at Rooty Hill High School who plays for Blacktown City FC, was nominated as player of the tournament after slamming home six goals.
Winning best player of the tournament means a lot to me because this is the beginning of my journey,’’ he said.
‘‘I won this award because I had an amazing support from my team mates and from the coaching staff.’’
Principal, Christine Cawsey, said Felipe winning the award was a proud day for the school.
‘‘He is a naturally talented player and has been the star of our school team and inspirational to his mates on the soccer field,’’ she said.
‘‘What’s so fantastic about this is he comes from a background that doesn’t have all of life’s advantages and soccer can be a pathway that means he can live his own dream.
‘‘We hope he plays like the wind.’’
Brian Jamba is a Parramatta resident and also represents Blacktown City FC who said playing at a high club level made settling into this level easier.
‘‘It’s my first time playing for NSW and it’s a high level and I’ve settled in ok,’’ he said.
‘‘Playing for Blacktown is a good preparation, it might even be harder because there’s some older players.’’
Brian and Felipe were both selected to the Australian Schoolboys team.
People with deep pockets who can help Felipe raise the money to travel with the school's national team should contact Rooty Hill High School for information.
The NSW girls dominated the event, winning five from five games and finishing on 15 points with a goal difference of plus-18 over the event.
Their nearest rivals, Western Australia, finished on 10 points and a plus-seven points differential.
Two Blacktown Spartans players represented NSW in the girls’ team and were selected to the Australian team squad.
Sarah Easthope is 18 and attends Penrith Christian School. She said this was a great experience.
‘‘Its the first time in the state league and it’s good to represent our state,’’ she said.
‘‘I think we’ve shown our true colours and how good we really are.’’
Tara Pender recently scored the winning goal for Hills Sports High in the state football final and said the national championship was good for her development.
‘‘It’s helped my game a lot and inspires me to play better. I think I was alright for the first time.’’