By Stuart Kavanagh
A huge weekend for the Broken Hill Junior Soccer Association (BHJSA), with several of the top talents in the local junior league heading off to Mildura to represent Broken Hill in the South Australian Junior Soccer Association (SAJSA) Country Championships.
Fifty-three clubs will travel from all over South Australia to compete.
The matches will take place at Old Aerodrome Ovals 3 and 4, plus the five pitches at Soccer Park.
It is a fantastic opportunity for kids to develop their skills at a higher level against tougher opposition.
Broken Hill will be heavily represented in this year’s Country representative competition with six teams heading across the border to compete. We will have a representative side in the U-12s, U-12s Dev, U-13 girls, U-14s, U-16s, and a U-16s girls side too.
The two under-12 sides will be playing nine versus nine games, whilst the rest of the sides will be playing full pitch, 11v11.
Celtic Football Club has 16 kids going away to Mildura this weekend. They are most heavily represented in the U-13 girls side (6) and U-14s (5).
Celtic club president, Martin Thrift, said, “I am very proud of the number of representatives we have going. It’s a fantastic opportunity for all the players.”
Without question, the opportunity to learn from different coaches and play against tough opposition will be invaluable to the youngsters’ development.
St Joes’ junior co-ordinator, Scott Deery, couldn’t agree more. With a whole host of representatives from Joeys, Scott is also heading to Mildura in a coaching capacity, taking charge of Broken Hill’s under-12 representative side.
Scott had a reasonably successful state championships with the same rep side, and is looking for his side to take the next step in their development.
“Not to say our local competition isn’t competitive, but it is a different level of ability and skill knowledge,” he said.
“When the kids go away, they see what other clubs and different areas are doing and they then engage themselves with different players and sometimes different coaches.”
Scott highlighted his team’s performance at the State Championships, which saw them fall just short of a semi-final place when they drew their play-off match with the Limestone Coast.
The importance of learning new things from different coaches is, of course, a common theme backed up by Alma club president Anita Hoysted.
“We have kids in every team, across the board,” Anita points out.
“It’s very important for the kids’ [development] to get in there [representative football],” she said.
“Putting your skills to the test against other associations can be important too.”
The Country Championships take place this weekend, August 26 – 27 in Mildura.