Up-and-coming soccer player Riley Howarth has been selected to an Australian team to play at the 2018 Ultimate Fiji Soccer Cup.
The Hawkesbury-based 15-year-old will travel to Fiji in early December for an eight day soccer cup that will see him play his first games at an international level.
He has played centre-mid for the Mt Druitt Town Rangers at a local level and for Sydney Western and NSW at a representative level.
Riley’s excitement for the trip is twofold.
Obviously he is looking forward to taking to the field and hopes to develop his soccer skills and get noticed by the Junior Australian soccer coach.
But also high on his agenda, is getting out and participating in charity work and educating himself on the Fijian culture.
“I’m excited to learn about the culture and lifestyle, and be with the boys,” said the young star.
“The cup will hopefully give me a chance for next year's international selection.
“We will also get to travel to villages and give out soccer balls and shirts, and educational material … it should be a lot of fun.”
The selected team has not yet trained together in the lead up to the event, but have played one of Canberra’s top teams in a trial match, defeating them 6-2.
The cup’s director, Bruce Tilt, like many of the players, said he was looking forward to the event, which he deemed to be a culmination of the season.
In its ninth year, the cup provides players the opportunity to gain international soccer experience and educating themselves on another culture.
“The cup brings in a broad aspect of players,” said Mr Tilt.
“This year teams are coming from NSW, South Australia and New Zealand.
“It also allows everyone to see each players development in the sport.”
The charity donations will be in three steps this year.
The first will see teams donate soccer equipment to local villages, with players spending time with the locals.
Mr Tilt said the second step was the donation of educational material and clothing, “everyday items” that the locals could use.
The last is the major donation which all sponsors and teams get involved with.
“This year we will be donating glucometers to one of the local villages hospitals that only has one,” said Mr Tilt.
A glucometer allows townsfolk to regularly check their glucose levels without risk of spreading viruses.
The experience of the cup is something that no player is taking for granted as they understand the stakes of this opportunity.
Howarth is one player hoping to display his skills enough to get noticed and scouted.