Narrabri’s Edward Bennett is a keen and talented soccer player who is as dedicated as they come, and this Sunday the journey of a lifetime will begin for the 14-year-old when he departs Australia for Germany where he will spend a month on a playing and coaching soccer tour with Joeys Football Academy Australia.

Edward, the son of David and Sarah Bennett, travelled to Inverell last year in September to take part at the Rale Rasic Joeys Mini World Cup. It was there he was identified and selected onto the Joeys All Stars under-14s team to tour Germany alongside 15 other players.

After months of anticipation and excitement, the wait is finally over and the team will depart the Brisbane International Airport this weekend. An under-18s side will also travel for the tour.

The tour will include games against quality opposition as well as daily training sessions run by high-calibre coaches.

They will also visit sports schools, Olympic centres, stadiums and the famous German Football Museum in Dortmund, and there will also be plenty of sight-seeing as well.

To add to the excitement of the tour, Germany will be hosting Euro 2024 from June 14 through to July 14, and the Joeys All Stars teams do not leave Germany until July 7, so they will be in the thick of the exciting atmosphere of an international soccer tournament for three weeks.

Edward is the only Narrabri player who will be a part of the trip and he is excited to test his skills against some of the best young players in the world.

He started playing junior soccer in Narrabri when he was five-years-old and it became evident quite quickly that he was talented. He was selected in the Northern Inland Academy of Sport under-8s team a few years later and has been chosen in the NIAS team for his age group every year since.

Edward is versatile on the soccer field, primarily playing as a defender but also excelling on the wing.

He currently plays in NIAS’s under-15s team that competes in Northern NSW Football’s Premier Youth League competition based in Newcastle.

The Narrabri boy is not only talented but he is also dedicated, making the journey from Narrabri to Tamworth two nights a week after school to train with his team, which he has done for the majority of his time with NIAS.

The team also plays in Tamworth or Newcastle each weekend, and of course, all of that travel would not be possible without the support of his parents, David and Sarah.

Now, at just 14 years of age, the sport will take Edward abroad. He is keen to get over to Germany, showcase his ability and learn all he can about the game, and he is sure to return home with memories that he will cherish for a lifetime alongside his father, David, who will accompany him on the tour.

More about the Rale Rasic Joeys Joeys Mini World Cup

The Rale Rasic Joeys Mini World Cup is a distinctive and highly anticipated annual soccer tournament in rural Australia. Catering to male and female players across various age groups—from under-8s to open women—the tournament is particularly notable for its inclusivity and unwavering support for young female athletes.

This year, introducing a girls-only category for 13-14-year-olds further underscores the event’s commitment to promoting and empowering female participation in soccer, especially in rural areas where opportunities are often limited.

What sets this tournament apart is not only its comprehensive age range catering for players from 8 to 19 years of age but also the unique opportunities it offers. The tournament provides unparalleled recognition and awards, including four paid football coaching and playing tours to Germany for players and a fifth tour awarded to a coach.

Additionally, 44 tour subsidies are available, making this event exceptionally valuable for those competing. These incentives not only enhance the competitive spirit but also provide life-changing experiences for young athletes and coaches, offering them exposure to international training environments and cultures.

Edward Bennett is one of the players who was awarded a subsidy at last year’s tournament held at Inverell. Now Edward and his Father David find themselves on a plane to Germany, leaving Australia on the 9th of June for a 4-week coaching and playing football tour, joining the Joeys All Stars team.

The Rale Rasic Joeys Mini World Cup’s emphasis on awards and recognition elevates its status, distinguishing it from other tournaments both in Australia and overseas. The tournament fosters a sense of community and achievement, encouraging players to strive for excellence. The inclusion of substantial tour opportunities as prizes further highlights the tournament’s dedication to developing and supporting young soccer talent in rural areas.

Overall, the Rale Rasic Joeys Mini World Cup is more than just a soccer tournament; it is a platform for nurturing young talent, promoting gender equality in sports, and providing extraordinary opportunities for players and coaches to grow and succeed on an international level. This event not only showcases the skill and passion of its participants but also underscores the importance of accessible sports programs and competition in rural communities.



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