Lachy Arkinstall has just returned from the National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour.By Zach Hubber
Moama’s Lachy Arkinstall continues to excel in the world of soccer, with the 14-year-old representing Victoria Country at the National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour last month.
The side started its campaign with a draw and three losses, but managed to finish on a high with a 3-2 win against Northern NSW Country.
It was the second straight year Lachy had represented the state team after playing for the under 13s last year.
He said he enjoyed the experience and physical challenges the championships presented.
‘‘It was slow getting used to everyone else (in the team) and how they play and what they do,’’ he said.
‘‘(I learnt) heaps of different skills and it was a lot more physical.’’
Lachy was selected in the team after starring for the Loddon Mallee Lightning under 13s in last season’s Victorian Champions League.
The attacking defender has played with the Lightning since the age of 10, making him one of the youngest players to come through the system.
He admitted it was challenging at first but knew it would be beneficial in the long run.
‘‘It was hard early on because everyone was big and I was really small,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m not really sure why they chose me then.’’
Lachy’s fifth season playing for the Lightning proves the selectors were on to something.
But if it was not for his older sister, Kayla, Lachy might not have fallen into the sport at all.
Kayla first got involved in soccer when the family lived in Newcastle, NSW, and the passion became contagious.
The family is now soccer-obsessed, with Kayla playing in the Lightning’s under 17 girls side and younger brother Cooper playing with the under 13s.
As Lachy goes through another year in the system he will no longer qualify to play for Vic Country in the NYC due to age restrictions.
The Echuca College student will instead be vying for a spot at the National Training Centre in Melbourne as he trains with the Bendigo Bank Academy of Sport each Tuesday and Thursday night.
He said his coaches implored him to become more selfish and back himself when attacking as he aims to improve on his game.
‘‘When running through I tend to pass it a lot and they say instead I should be taking shots,’’ he said.
For now, Lachy will continue to play for Loddon Mallee and train in Bendigo, with Sunday’s match against the Western Wolves in Swan Hill just another part of the journey.
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