Local hockey goalkeeper to take on the world
EUROA hockey club’s gun goalkeeper Andy Williams has been selected to represent Australia this November in Perth.
Having earnt an invitation to trial for the squad down in Melbourne, Andy was selected as the number one goalkeeper for Australian hockey player Chris Ciriello’s under 16 training squad.
While Ciriello’s squad will be playing in Victorian colours, the squad is selected from players across the country, and is the only Australian team at the 10-day tournament featuring sides from Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan’s national team.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Andy told the
“It’s also a bit nerve wracking at the same time. But I’m really looking forward to being part of a team that gets to play some really high standard hockey.”
Having taken up the game in 2012, Andy quickly established himself as a serious goalkeeping talent, and has played in goal since 2013.
Although shorter than most goalkeepers, what set Andy apart during the squad trials down at the State Hockey Centre in Melbourne was his speed and agility, according to mum, Vanessa Williams.
“The other goalkeepers trialing for the team were probably taller than Andy, but I think it was his speed that really caught the eye of selectors Lou Ciriello and Bobby Payne,” Vanessa said.
“They identified some talent in Andy and I think they were keen to take him on and see if they can train him up.”
What makes his selection all the more impressive is the fact that Euroa Hockey Club, of which Andy is a member, does not have a proper field to play on, and only recently acquired a full size goal.
As Andy explained, he rarely trains under proper, match-like conditions.
“Since I began playing we’ve mostly trained on floorboards at the high school,” Andy said.
“Because we didn’t really have a goal, and we didn’t train on turf, most of the time I didn’t really train as a goalie at all. I just played on the field with everyone else.”
Being part of the squad will give Andy exposure to some of the best coaching possible, and in the Perth Stadium- which will also play host to the upcoming Australian Hockey League season- play the chance to play on some of Australia’s best fields.
Between now and the tournament the players will be required to attend a number of training camps to allow the players to get to know one another and to gel as a team.
To ease to burden of travel, those sessions will be split between Melbourne and Albury.
Andy will also have to adhere to a strict training and diet regime, and continue to self-monitor his progress with both.
The players will fly to Perth a few days before the tournament begins for some further team bonding and final training before they begin playing competitively.
Before he can head to the tournament, Andy needs to upgrade his goalie gear.
Goalie gear can be very expensive, especially when you require international-standard protection, which can cost thousands of dollars.
“The stuff I’ve been using was ok when you’re playing for Euroa, but not when you’re playing against the Japanese national team. They hit it a little harder,” Andy said.
“It’s not cheap to get all new gear, but it’s not really an option to keep going with the old stuff.”
The November tournament dates mean that Andy, who is currently completing year 10 at FCJ College in Benalla, will have to sit his exams late to be able to head to Perth.
It seems a small price to pay, however, for a chance to play international-level hockey and to be coached by Australian national players.