Altona youngster selected to represent School Sport Victoria Football Team

Robert Kutlesa has been selected to represent the School Sport Victoria 12 Years & Under Football State Team (Supplied)

By Molly Magennis

A young Altona resident has been selected to represent the School Sport Victoria 12 years and under soccer state team.

Robert Kutlesa, who plays for the St Albans Saints, will compete in the Sydney International Cup in December.

The 11-year-old has been playing football since he was three years old and is looking forward to representing team Vic in Sydney even though he is a bit nervous for the tournament.

“[I feel] very honoured and excited to go to Sydney and play with the Victorian team,” he said.

Robert’s favourite thing about playing football is the teammates he gets to play alongside, particularly the ones at St. Albans, because “we’ve been together for so long.”

With favourite players like legend Lionel Messi, and Socceroos player Aaron Mooy, it’s no surprise Robert would love to play soccer professionally one day.

As an added challenge, he will be competing with boys above his age group, although he’s not worried about that at all.

“I feel good because I’m surrounded by kids that might be a bit better than me because of the age difference, and I feel strong playing in an older group,” he said.

Marijana, Robert’s mother, agrees and said his two older brothers have prepared him well for this occasion.

“He’s never let them push him around, so playing above his age group, I think…he’s confident in that space. His brothers have trained him well.”

There were three rounds of trials for the selection process, which Marijana said was of a really high quality with many talented children.

She said this amazing opportunity will be excellent exposure for her son.

“Because these boys have been playing in their respective teams for a long time, you sort of get used to seeing what’s in Victoria, so we’re really looking forward to seeing what the teams are like more broadly across Australia,” she said.

In particular, Marijana has been impressed with the opportunities presented to her son at their club St Albans.

“The way all of the coaches and support staff, whether it’s at a club level or at a more structured senior level, the way they look after the kids with a lot of compassion and a lot of support, really makes you feel comfortable and really open to them pursuing these opportunities.”

The competition is set to be held at Cromer Park Sports Complex on Friday December 3 to Sunday December 5.