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All-Star reward for first season players

Rivers soccer players Chelsea Georgiou and Abraham Lulerhe evoke similar praise from their respective coaches.

DAMEN FRANCIS December 27, 2012 4:15am

Rivers under-13 girls star Chelsea Georgiou caught the eye of Victorian Champions League All-Star squad selectors with her excellent performances this season.


Rivers soccer players Chelsea Georgiou and Abraham Lulerhe evoke similar praise from their respective coaches.

Both are known for their quiet nature, assurance on the ball and, most importantly, natural talent.

Neither the coach of Rivers’ under-13 girls’ team, Matt Maiorano, nor under-14 boys’ coach Rocky Papalia, were surprised to hear their players had been selected in the 2012 Victorian Champions League All-Star squads in their first season.

The boys’ and girls’ squads are selected from players from each of the 13 zone clubs across every age group, representing a significant achievement for any player identified.

‘‘When I saw Chelsea at trials I knew straight away there was something special there,’’ Maiorano said.

‘‘Her one-on-one skills were very impressive and she has a natural ability to hold the ball and vision that you can’t teach.

‘‘In the last game I really challenged her to score some goals and end the season on a high.

‘‘She scored one and hit the post ... she’s a special talent.’’

Georgiou, though, was surprised by her achievement.

The unsuspecting 12-year-old attended the awards day at Wembley Park in Box Hill with her parents, where she was recognised for her excellent season.

At the end of the presentation, award winners and their families were invited to watch the W-League match between Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Georgiou, who plays locally for Shepparton United, likes to play in centre midfield and said she was working on improving her ‘‘positioning’’, as she seeks to continue her development.

‘‘I want to try and make the Victorian squad and we find out if we get trials in a couple of weeks,’’ Georgiou said.

Georgiou said she enjoyed the travel required to participate in the VCL, but thanked her mum and dad for taking her to training and games throughout the season.

Lulerhe, who plays locally for Shepparton, scored four goals in 11 matches for the under-14 boys’ team, which endured a tough season, with only one draw to show for its efforts.

Coach Papalia had little doubt Lulerhe possesses the ability to go a long way in the sport.

‘‘Abraham can play forward, in defence or in the midfield,’’ Papalia said.

‘‘In the one draw we did have, because of the rotation policy he started on the bench.

‘‘We put him on and he stepped up after half-time and we got the draw and nearly scored a winner because of him.

‘‘He has the raw talent, all he needs is a bit of direction and he could be anything.’’

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