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Selected for international

THE NEXT MESSI?: Riley Leech of South Penrith is a talented midfielder who has been selected to play in a soccer tournament in Singapore this April.He dreams of being the next Lionel Messi or Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and it seems 11-year-old Riley Leech could be on the way to realising his goal.

The talented midfielder has been selected to play in the Coerver Performance Academy’s Singapore tournament taking place in April, where he will represent the Australian Coerver International team.

Riley, who is a member of Nepean FC,was chosen after attending a coaching selection trial in Canberra and will play in the U12 age group from April 15 to 25.

“I was gobsmacked when I found out,” Riley, who has been playing soccer since he was five years old,told the Gazette.“Me and my friend wereplaying upstairs when my sister came up and told me. My jaw just dropped.

“I’ve told all my friends at school and soccer.”

But the selection doesn’t come cheap –the trip is set to cost about $10,000 –and his family has started a Gofundme page to help raise money.

The family has set a goal of half the cost of the trip, but dad Steve said any amount towards the trip would be a great help.

“We were tempted to say no [to Riley’s selection for the tournament],”Steve admitted. “He trains every day out the front of the house in the park, he has put the hard work in.

“Although there’s a cost associated with kids in sport, as parents you do what you can to afford your kids the opportunities.”

The Year Six Penrith South Public School student is talented across a range of sports, playingwith the U12 Emu Plains/Glenmore Park AFL club, taking outschool swimming champion for the last twoyears, and also competingin district and regional swimming as well as cross country.Riley is alsohouse captainandon the school debating team, and has been a SRC representative for the last twoyears.

But soccer has always been his first love.Since moving to the area in 2014, Riley played a year with U11 Penrith FC and was then selected in the U11 Nepean SAP rep team for 2015. He’s also been selected in the 2016 Nepean U12 SAP rep team.

“He has won a couple of best and fairest in AFL and he was the swimming champion the last couple of years, but his passion is soccer,” Steve said.

The family has thanked those who have already donated to the fund, including Penrith South Public School, parents from the Penrith rep team, V and T Duardo trucking company, their neighbours, and many more.To donate to Riley’s Gofundme page, log onto https://苏州美甲美睫培训学校gofundme苏州美甲美睫培训学校/rileysoccerSG.

Businesses that could donateitems for a raffle can call Belinda on 0479 089 278.

FUNDRAISING: Riley’s family has started a Gofundme page and is hoping for donations for a raffle.

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