He’s scored himself a coveted role as left wing with the U15 Western NSW Mariners Football Club team after just three seasons playing in a local soccer comp.
Reece Preston, 14, of Katoomba, will take on contenders from Mudgee, Bathurst, Orange, Sydney University, Hawkesbury, Balmain, St George and Nepean as part of the National Premier League 2 Youth Boys which started on March 11.
Reece’s family initially signed him up for rugby league at eight and he did three seasons – at Katoomba, Blackheath and Lithgow – before leaving to play soccer with Blackheath at the Marjorie Jackson Complex in Lithgow.
“I made the switch to soccer and played my first season and scored seven goals, the next season I scored 22,” he told Gazette.
“At the second trials [for his current team] I played left wing and I liked that role, I kind of clicked [with the position].”
“It wasn’t really easy, some of the defence on the teams was hard to unlock – I was very determined and passionate.”
“I did enjoy my time at Blackheath. I’d write down players, team formations – a lot of the kids in my team are from Bathurst and Orange.”
Reece trains at Orange every Thursday and then plays around NSW on Saturdays.
“He’s worked and done well,” said his proud Dad, Russell.
“He’s only been playing for three years but he thinks about the game, he reads about the game, he’s a student of the game. Last season he scored 27 goals [combined] in club and district competitions.”
“The coaches of Blackheath [club] helped make it possible”
His new coach Mark Comerford, from the Western NSW Mariners 15 coach, said “he’s improving, it’s been different to what he’s used to playing, the teams are faster and more physical than club level”.
“But he’s starting to get a better understanding of where he needs to be at certain moments in the game, he’s got good first touch, his ball skills were quite evident [at trials] it’s about self confidence … and improving in that team environment”.
Comerford said Reece also plays right wing and centre forward.
“He wants to do better football, we can provide a better environment, something that will provide him with physical challenges.”
Striker Harry Keane, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur, is Reece’s favourite player and he would like to emulate his success one day.
“He’s one of the youngest goal scorers in the 2014/15 season – he’s scored a lot of goals for a young player.”