FORMER Biloela teen Jakob Smith (pictured) has been identified as one of Queensland’s best soccer talents after being picked for the Queensland Academy of Sport football squad for 2010.
The 15-year-old goalkeeper, whose family moved to the Sunshine Coast in February to help the rising soccer star pursue his dreams in the round ball game, was invited by Football Queensland to join the QAS squad, with players ranging from 14 to 16 years of age.
Selected after eight days at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, Smith started with the QAS last week, and will train with them four days per week.
“As I have only just made QAS I am still getting used to it, but I’m starting to get a real feel for the level of football.
“I train with a very talented squad of players, all of them representing Queensland, all of the players I consider rising stars in football,” Smith told Central Telegraph from his new coast home, where this bush boy spends time at the beach with his new friend learning to surf.
“Previous players who have trained with QAS sometimes get positions with Brisbane Roar or Gold Coast A-League Youth squads,” Smith said.
The fast rising soccer star will get a chance to showcase his skills at a national level with the QAS squad, who will compete at the National Training Centres Challenge in January.
He will then take on the state’s best young players as the QAS plays in the Under-19 Queensland State League.
The family moved to the coast after Smith was spotted at the national titles in Coffs Harbour in 2008 and it was suggested he would benefit from further training.
Smith played under-17 division with Buderim Wanderers, filling in for men’s second division on many occasions, and attended training twice a week with Goalkeeping Australia.
National keeper coach John Gorza recommended Smith for a trial with the QAS.
Gorza said Smith had the potential to reach the next level.
“Jake has been identified by the Queensland Academy of Sport as the best prospect in his age group in the state and he now has the opportunity to be seen on the national stage and I am sure he will flourish in that environment,” Gorza said.
Smith paid homage to Gorza.
“He has developed me physically, technically and mentally.
“He has taught me numerous aspects of goalkeeping and has played a major role in where I am today.”
Smith’s ultimate goal is to be part of the under-17 Australian Joeys squad for the World Cup, or as a member of an A-League side.
Jake has been identified as the best prospect in his age group in the stateNational Keeper Coach John Gorza
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