Eyes on the ball during the Barambah and Kingaroy under-8s game.
Eyes on the ball during the Barambah and Kingaroy under-8s game. Claudia Williams

Juniors score first game

SOCCER: There was great excitement at the Nanango Sporting Fields on Saturday as young players laced up their boots and ran onto the field alongside their teammates for the first time this season.

Players from Barambah, Nanango and Kingaroy from under-6 to the cadets division scored goals and, more importantly, had fun.

Hayden Walters played in the under-8s Better Home Living Barambah Bears side against the Kingaroy McDonald's Redbacks for his first game of the season.

Hayden has been playing soccer since he was four years old and is looking forward to the season ahead.

"My favourite thing to do on the field is to play with my friends,” he said.

The addition of new rules in the under-8s game meant players tried things for the first time on Saturday.

"It is all different this year with corners and throw-ins,” Hayden said.

"I got to play goalkeeper for the first time and it's different because you can use your hands.”

Hayden was named player of the week by his coach Jason Williams for his effort on the field.

Williams has introduced the initiative to encourage players to give it their all and to reward them for their efforts.

"I want to acknowledge when they have had a good effort and the most important thing is their coachability,” he said.

"It is not rewarded for their performance but it is about how they responded, whether they followed instructions, whether they were doing the right thing and well-disciplined, were they playing fair and did they have good sportsmanship.

"It is something they can work towards and everyone gets a turn, it's not like the same player will get it each week. We will share it around in the season.”

The team also played together last season and Williams was proud of his team's performance on Saturday.

"They were absolutely brilliant, they did a really good job today,” he said.

Williams is hoping the players will learn new skills this season but also grow a love for the game.

"It is about getting out and having a bit of fun and enjoying the game,” he said.

"Hopefully they learn a little bit about the game and, more importantly, about being part of the team and sportsmanship and the value of playing as a team and with teammates.”