It’s an honour few people get to experience, but at 12 years of age, Old Bar resident Jack Yi can already say he’s been selected to represent his country – twice!
The talented youngster, who has just started high school at St Clare’s, was selected for the Australian under 13 futsal team at a national tournament in Sydney. He will now travel to Italy in June as part of a 20-strong squad to compete against some of Italy’s best teams in the Montesilvano Futsal Cup.
Jack is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.
“I was ecstatic,” Jack said of the moment he found out.
After being selected for the Australian U12s team at the same tournament last year, Jack is already something of a veteran of the international futsal scene. In November, he travelled to Malaysia to play two tournaments against the nation’s best young teams and returned with a couple of medals for his efforts.
“It was really fun,” he said. “We won both tournaments.”
Although he expects the competition to be tougher in Italy, he believes with the skills and experience the Aussie players have gained, the team is a good chance of doing well again this year.
“Some of them are insane,” he said of his team-mates.
“Their skill and their passing and their vision for passing – they’re so good!”
While Jack is quick to point out the talents of his fellow players, according to James Goldsmith, president of Manning Futsal, he’s a gifted athlete himself.
“He’s a skillful little player. He’s developed quite well.”
Aside from his talents on the futsal field, James said Jack’s other qualities are equally impressive.
“He’s a quiet kid, very polite and friendly. He’s got a great attitude.”
Having had success as a representative soccer player, Jack’s transition to the futsal field has been quick. He only started playing three years ago.
Jack enjoys the pace and energy of the game.
“It’s really fast,” he said. “If you have possession you just run straight at the goal.
“It gives you a lot of adrenaline.”
It’s also giving Jack opportunities that very few kids his age get to experience, and according to James if he keeps dedicating himself to the game, there’s no reason why those opportunities won’t continue to present themselves.
“There’s not really a pro futsal scene in Australia per se, but if he sticks at it, he could end up overseas,” he said.
For now, Jack’s just happy to have been selected for the Australian team again, but asked if he’d like to continue representing his country into adulthood, he’s quick to answer.
“Yep. I want to follow through with that.”