Twelve-year-old Queanbeyan resident Christian Marchetti has out-skilled hundreds of other players to make the Under 12s Australian Futsal Team, travelling to San Francisco next week.
The Year 6 student at Queanbeyan East Public School has been playing soccer since he was a toddler, and is a mad supporter of Italian team Juventus.
“He’ll watch anything on YouTube, anything that’s soccer-related, the Major League Soccer in America, he’ll watch anything just so he can watch people play,” mum Sarah Marchetti says.
If you’re wondering about the difference between futsal and indoor soccer, futsal is played on a hard court and mainly indoors. It’s played between two teams of five players each, one of whom is the goalkeeper. Unlimited substitutions are permitted.
Unlike other forms of indoor soccer, futsal is played on a hard court surface marked by lines; walls or boards are not used. It’s played with a smaller, harder, lower-bounce ball soccer.
The surface, ball and rules favour ball control and passing in small spaces.
Christian started playing futsal as a three-year-old and now plays for Belconnen United Premier League’s U13 team. He successfully trialled for the under 12s ACT team early in 2022, giving him the opportunity to play against other states in a round robin style comp in Brisbane.
Talent scouts watching picked Christian to play for Australia – the only player picked from his age group in the ACT.
“When we got back to Canberra we got an email saying that he made it into the under 12s team,” Sarah says.
“Around 500 kids trialled and it comes down to a squad of eight or nine, so it’s a minimal squad that gets picked out of so many.”
Christian leaves for the United States next week for two weeks and is taking dad Johnny Marchetti along for the trip of a lifetime.
“In total they’re taking four boys’ teams and four girls’ teams to represent Australia,” Sarah says.
“They start at Under 12s and work their way up to the Under 20s adult competition, they’ll play other countries from around the world in a big tournament.”
Sarah says Christian is heading to San Francisco with a mixture of excitement and nerves as there are sure to be international scouts watching from the sidelines.
“This is a good opportunity for him to really show what he can do,” she says.
“We’re really proud of him, and the school’s really proud of him, as well as the club, there’s a lot of people that are proud of him.”