Young Warrnambool soccer players brave elements and red-hot opponents

COLD weather and red-hot opponents made for a tough few days for Warrnambool Wolves’ representative sides at Victorian country championships.

The Wolves’ under 15s and under 12s finished winless after the three-day championships at Ballarat, which wrapped up yesterday.

But their efforts braving torrid weather — which forced officials to postpone Sunday matches —- against rivals from bigger associations earned praise.

Under 15s coach Tim White said he was proud of his players, who barely knew each other before coming together for the tournament.

The 15s lost to Albury-Wodonga 8-0, Bendigo 3-1, Shepparton 4-1 and Gippsland 8-0.

“A lot of them haven’t had the opportunity to play in a team with a bunch of guys who aren’t their friends, who they don’t know personally,” White said.

“But I think they are surprised how well they are doing individually. 

“They came into it with a lack of confidence but there have been times where they’ve had that.”

White said a lack of “chemistry” had hurt their chances for an upset victory.

“All bar two, we’ve had relatively close games. It’s just been a matter of playing as a team that hasn’t really worked for us,” he said.

“We haven’t had any practice games, we haven’t had as much training as we’d like with everyone having to travel.” Under 12s coach Carlos del Rio said there was “massive improvement” in his players across the three days, despite failing to score a goal.

They lost to Albury-Wodonga 6-0, Bendigo 1-0, Ballarat 2-0, Shepparton 1-0, Shepparton Juniors 2-0, Gippsland 3-0 and South Gippsland 1-0.

“The younger kids were in the back line and they were the ones who stood up the most, they really played well,” del Rio said.

“We’re growing as a team. It’ll be good for the kids if they can stay together as much as possible, we’ll be able to build.

“The feedback from the kids and the parents is they loved it. 

“We’ll see how we go next year with what coaches we’ve got and which players are available.”

The 2015 Victorian country championships are at Albury-Wodonga on the Labour Day long weekend.

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