Taree’s Ryan Martin was on the trip of a lifetime in November as part of the Australian under 12s side that toured Malaysia.
The team played seven games against local sides where they won two tournaments and managed to drop just one game.
Ryan was also named alongside an Australian and three Malaysian players as the ‘all-stars’ of the Borneo International Futsal Cup event.
Ryan is the Manning River Times- Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.
The squad spent time in Miri, Mukah and Kutching along the coast of Malaysia.
Kutching was the longest stop of the two week tour as the team spent six days there competing in the Borneo International Futsal Cup.
The final was probably their toughest game,” Ryan’s dad Michael said.
"They played a really good local Malaysian team.”
When he wasn’t on the field, Ryan said the team enjoyed training and checking out animals at a wildlife centre.
The 12-year-old was added to the side after catching the eye of selectors at Nationals in Sydney earlier this year.
His travels to Asia are not complete, with a trip to China for the Pearl River Delta Tour on the cards for August 2018.
Ryan was invited to the tournament as he is a member of the Gol Brasil player development program.
This program aims to identify youth players with long term potential to play futsal nationally and internationally.
It also focuses on technical, tactical, physical, psychological and mental training as well as nutrition, hydration, goal-setting and treatment of injuries.
The Chinese tournament follows the same structure as the Australian Futsal Championships.
“They have heaps of teams that come from China and different parts of the world,” Michael added.
The Australians will play matches in Jiangmen, Foshan, Heshan and Zhongshan.
Ryan mainly plays in a defensive role (for which he was awarded the Borneo Cup all-star accolade) but does move up forward on occasion.
He added that he enjoys all aspects of the game and has been playing for about five years.
“I enjoy watching my team score, assisting and defending,” he said.
Ryan will again take part in Nationals in January with an opportunity to travel with an under 13s squad to the United Kingdom.
Manning players from under 10s to seniors will feature at Nationals.
Ryan will enter year 7 at St Clare’s High School in 2018 after finishing up with St Joseph’s, Taree.
He currently plays in the Manning Futsal under 13s summer competition.