Laani, Britt make All Stars side as girls lose shootout
THEIR hearts may have broken but spirits remained intact for the Far Northern New South Wales girls' youth futsal team.
A strong performance from the team, which included players from the FNC, earned the team a grand final berth in the recent National Club Championships.
Silverware proved elusive, though, with the team going down to a 7-6 penalty shootout loss in the decider against New South Wales North.
Skipper Shelby Parker said she was delighted with the efforts of her team against top young players from across the state and Queensland.
"We just said how proud we were of the team," she said.
"Some of the girls had never been to a tournament like that before. For them to step up and play the best they could was a really good effort."
The Sydney tournament helped showcase the skills of talented young players in the fast-paced five-a-side indoor soccer sport.
It was a tough event, with teams playing as many as four 50-minute matches back-to-back in a day's play.
Baking 40 degree conditions also made life tougher in the sweaty arena for the teams.
A see-saw final saw Far Northern NSW finish 3-all with their opponents, before losing out after spot kicks.
"The skill level of the competition was really high," Parker, who scored 17 goals during the competition, said.
"It was tough for us, but we gelled together really well as a team."
Laani Winkler-Harding and Britt Hargreaves made the competition's All-Star Side for their efforts.
Versatile Parker has been playing futsal for about six years after being encouraged by friends.
The Goonellabah player said the high-octane sport was proving a hit with female players.
"It keeps me fit and on my toes," she said.
"I think soccer is growing and futsal is too."