Two former Castlemaine Goldfields Football Club juniors have been selected to represent Victoria at the Pacific School Games in Adelaide this month.
Oscar Black and Reuben Quinn Walters are part of a squad of 16 that will represent the state in soccer at Under 19 age level.
They will compete against students from at least 12 countries as well as every other Australian state and territory.
Reuben and Oscar currently play at U20 level with clubs in Melbourne, Oscar with Northcote City and Reuben with Melbourne Knights.
Reuben lives and studies in the Big Smoke now while Oscar resides in Castlemaine and travels to Melbourne – sometimes five times a week – to train and play. He is sitting his VCE exams.
Both started their careers with Castlemaine Goldfields junior teams. In 2009 they were part of the U12 team that went through the season undefeated, scoring 148 goals and conceding only 12, and winning both the Championship and Knockout Cup in the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League.
“The journey in soccer is a long road,” Oscar’s mother, Michelle said recently. “A lot of it began at Castlemaine. Country kids are revered in the Metro. They have the best manners and are hard working.”
Reuben and Oscar met up in Melbourne again recently at a presentation ceremony to all Victorian participants in the Games. Soccer legend, Melbourne Victory manager Kevin Muscat, was on hand to offer some pearls of wisdom to the team.
Their teammates at the Pacific School Games in November will include players from Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City youth squads.
About 4000 students will compete at the Games from November 21-29.
The sports of swimming, diving, basketball, touch football, baseball, softball, football (soccer), table tennis and goalball will feature in the 2015 Games.
The Games have a strong focus on sports in which students with disabilities are able to participate. The organising committee of the Games has a strong link with the Australian Paralympic Committee, Deaf Sports Australia and AusRapid. They also work with these organisations to create pathways through to national championships in the competitors’ chosen disciplines.
The core components of the Pacific School Games are:
- to ensure a high level of international sporting competition
- to include curricular, educational and cultural opportunities; and
- to provide opportunities to interact in a multicultural environment with visiting nations.