20 February, 2023
Young soccer talent scoring big goals
TWO local football champions will be taking the next steps in becoming professional players like their idols Lionel Messi and Kevin De Bruyne after being awarded a John Moriarty Football scholarship in Sydney.
John Moriarty Football is a group that reaches 2,000 indigenous students every week and helps promote positive changes in the classroom and on the field.
Robert Hostalek, aged 12, and Collin Walsh, aged 13, fell in love with the sport whilst at Mareeba State School and will be taking their talents to the big smokes of Westfield Sports School, Sydney – the most prestigious sporting school in the country.
When learning they were chosen for the scholarship, both boys were thrilled and have spent several weeks in the lead up visiting Sydney and Westfield to get to know their new home for the school year.
Hostalek has been playing football for the past two years in Mareeba and cannot wait to play and train some of the best soccer players in his age group down south.
“I started playing because it was fun and I kind of stuck with it and now they have given me a scholarship because I am good,” he said.
“At first, I didn’t even know what a scholarship was, but I am excited now I know.
“I am both excited and nervous.”
Whilst visiting the school earlier in the year, Hostalek was in awe of the level of players in his grade at school and has immediately fallen in love with it, and the food.
Walsh started playing with John Moriarty Football at the same time as his teammate and has spent hours to on the field training to be the best he can be.
Being able to train with a higher calibre of players is something he is looking forward to the most as he hopes to train until he becomes the best he can be.
“It felt good (to get the scholarship) and I am looking forward to getting better at footwork,” he said.
“There are better players down there too.”
Head coach for the John Moriarty Football (Kuranda) Bruno Silva has watched the boys grow and expand on their skill in soccer and is beyond proud to watch them take on the players in Sydney.
From watching them play on the school oval to enrolling them with the Mareeba Bulls, Mr Silva believes they have what it takes to become professional footballers.
“This is the next big step for them because you get to a point in Far North Queensland where they are not being challenged enough because the level isn’t high enough to keep them progressing,” he said.
“In Sydney they are playing with boys of a higher level and that will keep them on their toes and make them work hard to achieve their dreams.
“It’s bittersweet because obviously you want to hold on to those kids because they have something special but it would be selfish.”
Walsh and Hostalek will be completing their high school studies in Sydney whilst also focusing on their soccer careers as of 27 February.