By David Kavanagh | posted on October 19, 2019
ALBANY youngster Brad Copeland will be jetting off to Thailand next month to compete in this year’s Phuket Football Cup.
The 13-year-old qualified from about 150 other kids during a Football West selection camp at Guildford Grammar in Perth earlier this year and is the only player from Albany chosen for the Gold Fields State Squad.
“My mum messaged me [to tell me I’d been chosen] and I just felt excited and speechless,” Brad told the Weekender.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to get in.”
The tournament, running from November 25 to early December, will see Brad play left defence for the U13s boys’ team alongside 15 other children from regional Western Australia.
It will pit him against talented teams from across Thailand and call on the skills and tactics he has picked up since kicking off his soccer career at the age of seven.
The young star, currently playing for Albany Bayswater Soccer Club, said he hope to one-day make a living from his passion, ideally playing for a premier league team.
Brad’s father Danny Copeland said he was very proud of his son and noted he trained at least three times a week during Country Week.
“He’s got a really good kick and when he does something, it’s always 150 per cent,” he said.
“That’s what stands out most.”
Mr Copeland partly credited Brad’s success to his long-time coach Enzo Manera who has worked with him since his early days playing for Yakamia.
Over the past two years, the pair has helped their Bayswater team sail to victory again and again.
“They dominated the first year which upset the locals and this year they did the same,” Mr Copeland said.
Football West’s Sarthak Mishra, who will join Brad in Thailand as the U13s boys’ coach, described him as a “hardworking and skillful player” who loved football.
He said the tournament was an opportunity for the entire squad to play the sport on an international level.
“The event will give them an opportunity to train in a competitive and highly professional manner,” he said.
“Apart from the on-field training, we will conduct team building, mental wellbeing and theory sessions that will enable players to enhance their current skillset and also learn new dimensions of professionalism.”