Soccer has always been a way to help me cope with my mental health, it's a good way to escape from my school work."Logan Hayward
SOCCER players from all over Bunbury recently kicked goals in Perth as part of the 2021 Goldfields Tournament, state and regional teams.
As sponsored by Football West, the tournament saw sixteen players per age group selected from Bunbury, Albany, Karratha and Geraldton, to compete over three days from November 1 to 4.
After completing initial training with professional coaches, players had the opportunity to work on their skills, games, fitness, recovery and tactics.
Six Bunbury Senior High School students competed in the state regional team, with one student, Lucy Hope, taking part in the under 16s state team for 2021.
As one of five girls selected from the South West to be a part of the state team, Hope shows her commitment to the sport of soccer by training multiple times a week in Perth.
A year nine student in the BEST (Bunbury Elite Sports Training) program at Bunbury Senior High, Hope said she enjoyed the experience despite not being able to go over east to compete.
"We normally do travel and play against many more teams, but it was still really fun to be amongst the regional players," Hope said.
"I've been playing soccer for seven or eight years now.
"It's something I can do for fun but I also like it because it can be really challenging."
Bunbury Senior High School year nine students Demi Osborne, Rafferty Mullens, Lilanie Preedy, Liesl Elemans, Chase Baillie and year ten student Logan Hayward also made the selection for 2021, competing in the under 14's, Western Australian country regional team.
They all agreed how the competition was a great opportunity to make new friends as well as enjoy healthy competition with soccer players of different skill levels.
"We trained during the first part of the week, and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday we had the tournament which was very competitive," Mullens said.
"The under 14's boys lost in the grand finals, but that was up against a team that train more than three times a week.
"So we still came really far. It was a great experience to have."
With a mix of both female and male players, the students said the ratio of players at the tournament was around 40:60, girls to boys.
Hayward also commented on the benefits of playing soccer for improving mental health, which he found important as he headed into year 11 next year.
"Soccer has always been a way to help me cope with my mental health, it's a good way to escape from my school work," Hayward said.
"I can play and get my anger out when I kick the ball.
"It just gets your mind off things when you play."
Players selected from Bunbury for the regional tournament also included Asher Golds, Jesse Crognale and Lahi Ur.
Bunbury United Soccer Club player Ryan Leatherbarrow was selected for the under 12's boys team in what was his third year in the tournament.
Despite losing the grand final to the Western Australian state school team, the under 12's team were successful against teams from Northern Territory and Rockingham.
Bunbury United Soccer Club regional development officer Peter Dohnt was also selected as one of the state coaches.
For information on the 2022 tournament, visit www.footballwest.com.au.