Schoolboys join Australian futsal team

Futsal forward: Luca Pecora and Alex Badolato are ready to meet their competition head on. Photo: Kitty Beale

The goals have shifted abroad for Alex Badolato and Luca Pecora who will travel to Maui, Hawaii in November to compete in their first overseas sports tournament with the Australian Under 11’s Boys Futsal Team.

Luca, in Year 5 at Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary Bossley Park, and Alex, in Year 6 at St Catherine Labore Catholic Primary Gymea, are both members of the NSW Metro futsal team coached by former Sydney FC player and Socceroo Nick Carle. They were invited to join the two-week international competition after they won against Queensland in a national final in January this year.

Good reflexes are par for the course for both Alex and Luca, who also play outdoor soccer.

“Futsal is different because it’s a lot smoother indoor and the grass is rougher outdoor,” Luca said. “Indoor is quicker. The ball is also a bit harder because it’s made so it’s easier to roll on an indoor pitch.”

Luca is right wing, while Alex plays back at the five-a-side sport. They are among 15 teammates to travel to Hawaii for the tournament, held from November 30 to December 13. Both say the Maradona spin is among their favourite on-court moves.

Alex said he preferred the quickness of futsal and was looking forward to the competition.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “We have two days in Honolulu and during the two weeks we have some time to do our own stuff. Outdoor you get a lot more time and space. Indoor there’s less space and the surface is pretty quick.

“For two tournaments Luca and I have been on the same team. We train twice a week for an hour and 15 minutes. Training is pretty fast and intense.”

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