Two Blue Mountains girls will represent Australia in the growing sport of futsal (indoor football) after impressing selectors at last month’s National Futsal Championships.
Hazelbrook’s Caitlin Bass played out of her skin for NSW West U15s in the four-day tournament and despite her team losing 2-1 in extra time in the final against NSW North, was rewarded by being named in the Australian girls U15s team to tour Spain this November.
The talented Winmalee high school student, who plays football for Bosley Park-based Marconi in winter and futsal for Cambridge Park’s West City Crusaders in summer, was also named in the top five players of the tournament and got to play in an exhibition match against the Australian Women’s team.
“I was the youngest in that match so I was a bit scared, but it was lots of fun and I got to talk to them [the senior players] after and they shared their experience of playing for Australia.”
Caitlin only played her first game of futsal four years ago at age 10, for Windsor-based club Mountains Magic, but has played football since she could walk.
She said she loves the speed and contact of futsal, the extra freedom players have to roam and the many counter-attacking opportunities that present themselves.
“It’s played in a more compressed space and structure than outdoor football, so it is very physical and played aggressively.
“And because you don’t have time to think you have to be very precise.
“There are lots of tricks you can do like stopovers, quickovers and rollovers in futsal and I think that helps my football too.”
The tour of Spain in November will include elite training and fitness sessions, matches and tournament play against representative teams from the region of Catelonia and sightseeing opportunities.
“I’m very excited about my selection — it’s probably one of my biggest achievements so far,” Caitlin said.
“I’ve never been anywhere in Europe before and I know in Spain they love their football, it’s in their culture, so it will be pretty special to play there.”
Also impressing selectors at the nationals was Winmalee’s Amaya Moxham, who starred with the boot for NSW West U12s in their unbeaten run to the final and with the goalie’s gloves on in their 4-1 win against North Queensland in the decider.
The Ellison Public School vice-captain and winner of Springwood United Football Club’s Most Promising Junior Girls Player Award in 2013 was selected with three NSW West teammates to represent Australia in the U12 girls 16-day tour to San Francisco, USA in October where they will play regional representative teams.
Amaya said she was “extremely excited” about having the chance to showcase her skills on an international level at such a young age and was already getting ready to raise funds for the tour.
“My dream is to play football professionally,” Amaya said.