North Coast Football is excited to learn that one of our National Premier League boys, Rio Prieto, has been selected in the Northern New South Wales side competing at the Tokyo Under-14 International Youth Football Tournament in Japan in May.
Rio is a winger who started kicking a ball around when he was three and came up through the ranks at Bellingen and Urunga.
He joined the junior development program at age nine and has been involved in North Coast Football's Skills Acquisition Program and National Premier League teams.
"I was a bit surprised but I am really excited. I really want to do this," Rio said. "I love football. It is so complex. I like the strategy stuff. I also like being creative," the 13-year-old said.
To support Rio and his family with the financial cost of attending, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/helpRioTokyo2020
Rio, who is a fan of FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC, is one of 16 talented football players from Northern NSW who will be travelling to the tournament in Fukushima for the tournament that starts on May 1.
Usually held in Tokyo, the competition has been relocated to the newly reopened J Village, the National Training Centre in Fukushima for the first time in 2020.
The squad was selected based on their performance and development throughout 2019 and during a NNSWF Talent ID Camp held at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, Speers Point in January.
Participation in the tournament serves to provide valuable international experience at the highest-level allowing players and coaching staff to benchmark their development against other talented players from across the world.
NNSWF Head of Football Development Peter Haynes, who will be travelling with the group, along with respected coaching and support team Neil Orr and Jonathon Newman, is looking forward to the opportunity it will bring for the players.
"We've attended the tournament for a number of years, it is a rare opportunity for talented players to compete against some of the largest clubs in world football such as Tottenham FC, Boca Juniors, Palmeiras FC and FC Tokyo," Haynes said.
"Players who have represented Northern NSW Football at the tournament previously have gone on to play in the Young Socceroos squad as well as being picked up in National Premier Leagues First Grade teams," said Haynes.
In 2020, the NNSWF squad come head-to-head against their international counterparts from Berlin, Cairo, Beijing, London, Jakarta, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul and Buenos Aires, just to name a few.
2020 NNSWF Squad List - U/14 Tokyo International Tournament
1. Ethan Lewis | Newcastle Olympic
2.Kalen Routley | Broadmeadow Magic
3.Lorcan McCallum | Newcastle Olympic
4.Giles Harrison | Newcastle Olympic
5.Ederyn Rankin |Football Far North Coast
6. ZacharieHartley | Football Far North Coast
7. Cooper Vimpani | Broadmeadow Magic
8. Kai Herd | Broadmeadow Magic
9. Seth Anderson | Adamstown Rosebud
10. Kynan Watkins | Broadmeadow Magic
11. Luka Magnery | Charlestown Azzurri
12. CaylanLaw | Weston Bears
13. Charlie Stevenson | Newcastle Olympic
14. Cooper West | Football Mid North Coast
15. Rio Prieto | North Coast Football
16. Tane Carpenter | Edgeworth Eagles