Narrabri junior soccer player Lennon Simmonds loves the world game, and like his idol Lionel Messi, he is lethal in front of goals.

Nine-year-old Lennon left the local Narrabri competition behind this year and joined Northern Inland Football’s under-10s high performance team which plays in the Tamworth junior competition.

Lennon, the son of Chris Simmonds and Candice Baguley, worked hard in the off season to prepare for the 2020 campaign and the results followed.

He trained regularly by himself in Narrabri while also travelling to Tamworth to train with his new team two nights a week.

The season start was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but once Lennon and his team were able to get on the field the Narrabri youngster thrived.

He finished a 12-game season with 19 goals after playing mostly in the right midfield or striker positions.

He scored five of those goals in one game in a win against Kootingal.

His dedication to the sport, hard-working attitude and natural ability led to him receiving the team’s coach’s award at the team’s final training session and presentation night last Friday.

Northern Inland Football technical director Howard Stubbs said that Lennon’s technical ability impressed him during a trip to Narrabri last year, and he has benefitted from the program in 2020.

“Lennon has come in this year. I went down to Narrabri last year to look at setting up a program out there but Lennon was the only player I looked at with any real potential to be honest,” Stubbs said.

“The only opportunity then was for him to come in to Tamworth and play in here. For the family to take that on has been massive.

“When he first came in he was quite shy but he’s come out of his shell quite a lot throughout the year.

“He’s done really well this year. His all-round ability [led to him receiving the coach’s award]. “He is technically good.”

Lennon said that he enjoyed the 2020 season.

“This year I played for Tamworth NIF,” Lennon said.

“It was a fun year and I scored 19 goals.

“Right wing is my best position but I usually played striker this year.”

Lennon has high hopes and has set the bar high in terms of his goal for the sport.

“I want to play for Adelaide United in the A-League then go and play for Barcelona,” the young gun said.

Lennon said now that the off season had arrived he would train with the soccer ball in the backyard as well as compete in both the swimming and athletics seasons.

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