Riley Howarth has been honoured as an all star player at the 2018 Ultimate Fiji Soccer Cup that took place earlier this month.
The 15-year-old traveled to Fiji for the eight day soccer cup that saw him play at an international level.
Howarth loved the experience of competing against players of different skill levels often superior to what he faces in Australia.
He came up against teams from South Australia, New Zealand and many from Fiji, and had to play other styles of football to match the abilities of his opposition, an experience Howarth said was enjoyable despite being quite difficult at times.
Howarth’s team did not train in the lead up to the event and instead played a trial match against one of Canberra’s top soccer teams, defeating them 6-2.
The team failed to make the grand final despite playing well, and Howarth put it down to “a great experience overall.”
“It was great to verse teams from different parts of the world and test my skills against them,” said Howarth.
“It was also great meeting new people as well.”
“Sometimes it was challenging against different teams just because they played a different style of football, but it was rewarding to face that.”
Howarth was a part of the NSW team and was one of 11 players selected as an all-star of the tournament, chosen from all the teams competing at the event.
This includes both boys and girls in all age groups up to 18 years.
Around 500 to 600 players took part in the event in total.
“I wasn’t expecting to be named in the all stars squad but was proud to be selected,” said the young star.
As well as getting to play football, the teams also did charity work in a small village.
They brought clothes and food as well as soccer gear to donate, and Howarth and his team ended up playing a soccer game in the rain with the kids from the village.
“That was definitely one of the highlights for him,” said his sister Loren.
Howarth said he had also enjoyed playing the game he loved every day.
“Playing football every day was great,” he said.
“Also at the end of our last game, I gave my jersey to a Fijian player and also my boots to another. They were so grateful.”
Howarth was able to achieve his goals developing his soccer skills, and hopes the experience catches the eye of the junior Australian soccer coach.
He was happy to participate in the charity work as well as exploring and learning about Fijian culture.
“I enjoyed visiting a local village and snorkelling in the clear water off a small island.”