As published in The Naracoorte Herald
Written by Laura Sneath.
Naracoorte United Soccer Club’s young gun Mojtaba Ali has been impressing scouts all year.
The 14-year-old recently finished two back-to-back soccer competitions, one of which took him all the way to Singapore.
The first competition was Nationals, which saw South Australia’s best under 14s players grouped in two teams and travel to Coffs Harbour to represent their state.
“For that, we had training Saturday, Monday and Thursday in Adelaide. I (trained) for about two months.”
Mojtaba said having training during the week interrupted his schooling quite a bit, but it was an opportunity he wasn’t going to pass up.
“From there, there was about 40 kids and they cut like 10 off and they took about 30 to Nationals to play against the best,” he said.
“It all started at the start of the year. I tried out for state champs to represent the Limestone Coast. I made that and we played in Adelaide for four days against other regional areas.”
From that competition, Mojtaba was selected for the State Identification Program.
“SIP is the best regional area players get into a team and play the (other) state teams. From there, I got scouted again to try out for nationals.
“There’s scouts everywhere for both competitions. You don’t know they’re there, they just turn up. I was really nervous, but I made it. We went up to (Coffs Harbour) where we played seven games in six days.
“It was really tough; the weather once again was really hot out there, but there was really good grass at Coffs Stadium.”
The South Australian team “didn’t do really well”, but Mojtaba was pleased he was one of two players who scored a goal.
Despite having only returned from Coffs Harbour for a short time, Mojtaba soon jetted off to Singapore to play in the Singa Cup, alongside fellow Naracoorte player Aaryan Ghimire.
Singa Cup unites the best regional players in South Australia, and Mojtaba said he was excited to be one of the lucky few.
“We left here on November 3 and got to Singapore and had four games in total.”
The first game was a two-all draw against the Under 14s Singapore team, the second game they lost 2-5 against Under 13s Philippines state team, and the third game they drew one-all which qualified them for the quarter finals.
“We played in the Australian team ACT. We lost 1-3 and then we got cut from the competition. Our coach then organised this game against Singapore Sporting School. We joined up with our metro team from Adelaide and we played against them and lost 0-2.”
Although he has only been playing soccer for four years, Mojtaba has shown real potential, and he’s looking to pursue soccer as a career when he finishes school.