EURO DREAM: Aussie teen signs for German football club
FOOTBALL :The Fraser Coast Joeys Mini World Cup has opened more than one door for Grafton footballer Will Hayes in the seven years he's been participating.
As the 18-year-old prepares to fly abroad after being scouted to play for German Football Club Schmeltz while touring Germany last year, Hayes explained how it all came to be.
His first Joeys Mini World Cup experience was with Westlawn Tigers. After seeing his skill and potential, tournament founder Heinrich Haussler introduced the Hayes family to Toowoomba Grammar School's Chris McLeod.
"We had no clue about the school or the opportunities until we met with Chris, who was head of football at Toowoomba Grammar.
"The next year I was at the Mini World Cup again, playing for TGS," Hayes said.
At the age of 14, Hayes first toured Germany with the Joeys Mini World Cup All-Stars team where he was the youngest in the squad.
When he was offered a chance to return after performing in the 2018 Fraser Coast Joeys Mini World Cup, he did not hesitate.
While in Germany last year, Hayes participated in pre-season training with Schmeltz FC.
"They liked how we played and our style so they offered us contracts to join them in 2020 for a year," he said.
Hayes will be competing in the sixth tier of the German Football League.
Predominantly a left back, Hayes hopes to gain new friends and a new perspective on his footballing while abroad.
"I love the culture and I love the football. It's so different over there compared to here in Australia," he said.
As for his thoughts on the Joeys Mini World Cup, he said it has been a turning point for him.
"No other competition provides the opportunity, especially for players in rural areas, to go to Germany. It's one of a kind," he said.
Hayes thanked his family for supporting every opportunity presented to him.
"They have always been 100 per cent with us. When Germany came up there was no hesitation, I simply can't wait" he said.
If you want to follow your dream, registrations are open for the 2020 Fraser Coast Joeys Mini World Cup at Hervey Bay from September 27 to October 2. For more information, head to www.frasercoastjoeysminiworldcup.com/