Competing with the best in Asia

SOCCER

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Adam Leombruno will play at the under-16 Asian championships.

AN EMERGING Rostrevor soccer star is one of three SA prospects selected for this month’s under-16 Asian championships.

Adam Leombruno will represent Australia at the tournament, which kicks off in Malaysia this week.

The 15-year-old was selected in the 23-member Joeys squad after impressing selectors at camps in Melbourne last month and Sydney in July. Leombruno, part of Football Federation SA’s national training centre squad, will be joined by fellow Adelaide prospects Kerrin Stokes (Croydon) and Alex Popovic (Adelaide United).

Rostrevor soccer coach Evan Pezos said he was not surprised that Leombruno had caught the eye of selectors.

“Adam is a key member of Rostrevor’s First XI soccer team even though he is only in Year 9,” Pezos said.

“At 14, he was the youngest player to be a regular starting player in the First XI, where the average age of players is 17 or 18. His achievements at this level are quite significant.”

Australia will face a tough test in group D of the championships, pitted against defending champions Iraq along with South Korea and Afghanistan.

The squad convened in New South Wales on September 9 before travelling to Kuala Lumpur for a pre-tournament camp on ahead of its first match against South Korea this Saturday.

To qualify as one of Asia’s representatives for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru, Australia must reach at least the semi-final stage of the tournament.

“We’ve had two very successful camps in the last couple of months,” said Joeys coach Trevor Morgan.

“These boys have earned an opportunity to represent their country and all are focused on performing to a standard that can win the championship.”

Patrick Keam