Xavier Brightman started playing futsal as a way to develop his football skills and to have a bit of fun during the offseason.
Now, he is an Australian representative after travelling to Spain as a member of the Australian under 13 futsal team.
Playing a vastly different style of play to what they were used to, the performance of the Australian team exceeded expectations. The side lost their first two games before winning the remaining six.
“They had a really good time,” Xavier’s mother Kylie said. “The chance to be coached by Spanish coaches and play against Spanish teams was great.
“The Spanish play a very different style of play to the way we do here. They play futsal like it’s basketball, while we play like it’s football.
“The way we play in Australia, Xavier would play the pivot position, which is like a centre back in outdoor, and acts like a sweeper.
“But the way the Spanish play, the game moves a lot more, so Xavier would move around and move up into attack.
“He would feature in plays where he was scoring goals, which he loved.”
The 13-year-old has played outdoor for Coniston since the age of six and only started playing futsal towards the end of last year. He was selected for the NSW Metro South team that played at January’s national championships, where he was picked for the Australian team to tour Spain.
The Spanish men’s national team is currently ranked second in the world behind Brazil and Kylie said the players learnt a lot from the Spanish coaches that they will be able to apply to their local teams in Australia.
“You don’t want to go over to Spain and just be coached the same way. The improvement from all the players was very clear.
“Xavier’s confidence at the end was a lot higher.
“He was able to talk and call plays and move quickly around the court.
“The game they were playing at the end was a lot faster and more technical than at the start.”
The 16-day tour included a trip to Camp Nou to watch Barcelona play live.