Four Mackay boys will play for Italy's AC Milan
FOUR 11-year-old boys from the Mackay Magpies Football Club have been selected to play for AC Milan Australia in Italy next year.
Robert Parker, Ashton Smith, Ethan Van Kerkwyk and Orland Corrie have been playing soccer together for eight years and caught the eye of AC Milan Australia for their skills and passion for the game.
Mackay Magpies Football Club assistant coach Darren Smith said the boys had always played hard and their selection for AC Milan showed how dedicated they are.
"AC Milan Australia held a clinic here in Mackay and they were very impressed with the boys,” Smith said.
"They were really impressed and said the Mackay boys are the strongest that they had seen up and down the whole east coast. The club is very proud of the boys but really, what it shows is just how hard they have worked to get where they are today.”
Robert said he plays soccer because he loves the game and it makes him happy to play.
"I usually play right wing but I do get changed around the field a lot where I also play right leg, right back and midfield,” he said.
"I practise every day and pursue my dad's dream because he was close to being a professional and he went to trial but he got chicken pox and didn't make it.”
Ashton said he's been watching FIFA World Cup since he was four and, like Robert, was inspired to play because of his dad.
I enjoy soccer because it is something I want to do and I have a passion for it and my dad made state and he inspired me as well,” he said.
"I enjoy playing striker but I find finishing the hardest because you have to score goals as striker but when you are in midfield it's also hard as you have to be fit and try and keep up with all the other players.”
Assistant coach Smith said the boys really found their personal goals over the past year with their individual personal coach Liam Shipton.
"Shipton is the director of coaching for the Magpies,” Smith said.
"He played professional football in England for Manchester City and this year he really inspired the boys to follow their dreams.”
Ashton Smith is asking for help to raise money through a GoFundMe page to help him get to Italy in April next year. If you would like to help Ashton get to Italy, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/help-ashton-kick-his-was-to-italy-2wzcjp3z