Bossley Park High School student Hayden Dalmazio is this week testing his soccer skills against some top young talent in Fiji.
Hayden, who turns 17 next week, is representing NSW at the week-long Ultimate Fiji Soccer Cup.
The defender will compete in the boys under-16s division against other Australian state teams and international outfits in a round-robin tournament.
NSW will play preliminary round games against Fiji North, South Australia, Penrith FC, New Zealand’s Manukau City and Fiji West before the finals take place.
Hayden said it was the third time he had competed at the Fiji Cup after being invited by a scout in 2016.
“It’s a pretty good standard and the Fijian locals play a rough and physical style,” he said.
“It’s so hot over there so it can be hard to keep up with the Fijian guys who are used to that weather.”
The competition also gives participants a chance to visit local villages such as Ba and Lautoka.
Players take gifts such as soccer equipment, school books and pencils to donate to Fijian children.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and seeing the Fijian culture again,” Hayden said.
Hayden plays for Mounties Wanderers FC in the NSW national premier league two competition.
Hayden’s mum Michelle Dalmazio said her son had played the sport since he was four years old.
Dalmazio said Hayden previously played for several Macarthur clubs and was also a member of the Macarthur youth league team.
“Hayden has always loved soccer, he enjoys the fitness side of the sport and the camaraderie between team mates,” she said.
The Ultimate Fiji Soccer Cup is for boys (under-11 to under-17s) years and girls (under-13 to under-17s).
The four age groups are:
- Development (under-11 and under-12s).
- Junior (under-13 and under-14s).
- Youth (under-15 and under-16s).
- Senior (under-17 and under-18s).