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World title shot

Thursday, 29th March, 2018

Cooper Wellington and his SA U/12 team after winning the Craig Foster International Cup on the Gold Coast. The win gained them an invitation to the World Futsal Championships in Florida, USA. PICTURE: Supplied Cooper Wellington and his SA U/12 team after winning the Craig Foster International Cup on the Gold Coast. The win gained them an invitation to the World Futsal Championships in Florida, USA. PICTURE: Supplied

By Tyler Hannigan

Former local lad Cooper Wellington will get to show his soccer skills on the world stage later this year when he competes in the world futsal championships.

Cooper, 12, will play for the South Australian U/12 team at the 2018 World Futsal Championships in Orlando, Florida in July.

The young star trialed for the state squads last September for the U/11 SA State Squad to compete at the Craig Foster International Cup on the Gold Coast in January, and won selection for the 10-boy squad.

The Craig Foster International Cup was a pathway to the World Champs with teams finishing 1st or 2nd in their age group being invited. Cooper’s team won their age group in convincing fashion.

The world championships will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Cooper’s family decided to move to Adelaide in 2016 to help him pursue his soccer dream.

“We made the move to give Cooper every opportunity possible with his soccer development,” said his father, Anthony. 

“It has been tough but his hard work is starting to pay off. He has an enormous way to go but he is on the right track thanks to some wonderful people supporting and nurturing his development,” Anthony said.

“The journey ahead will have its challenges but we are loving every minute and will continue to support Coop in every possible way.”

Despite its challenges, Anthony said that the move had been a great thing for Cooper.

“This was one of the most difficult things, moving to a new place, not really knowing the clubs or coaches, but we now have the right people around him,” he said. 

“The opportunities here in Adelaide are simply amazing but you must have the right attitude and commitment.”

Cooper plays for West Adelaide’s U/12s in the Junior Premier League (JPL). West Adelaide is the former club of soccer greats Charlie Yankos, John Kosmina and Stan Lazaridis.

He plays twice a week; for West Adelaide in the JPL on Sundays and for his school on Saturdays. This is on top of a gruelling training schedule that has him on the pitch - and futsal court - at least seven times a week.

Cooper got his start in soccer while living in Broken Hill and played for St Joes before his family made the move to Adelaide. He also represented the AC Milan Sydney Soccer Academy at the Sardinia International Football Cup in Italy in 2016.

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