Te Awa­mutu player makes NZ Fut­sal team

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

Law and com­merce stu­dent Tessa Leong is preparing to rep­re­sent New Zealand in the fastest grow­ing sport in New Zealand — Fut­sal.

The 19 year old from Te Awa­mutu is one of nine Univer­sity of Auck­land stu­dents se­lected to play at the World Univer­sity Fut­sal Championship, be­ing held in Au­gust in the city of Al­maty, Kaza­khstan.

It will be her sec­ond World Cham­pi­onships af­ter com­pet­ing in Brazil in 2016.

“Last year we were com­pet­i­tive but didn’t quite get some of the re­sults we wanted but I am con­fi­dent in our abil­ity to im­prove on this and show the world what New Zealand can do,” says Leong.

Leong is al­ready an ac­com­plished foot­ball player. She re­cently re­turned to New Zealand from a year-long foot­ball schol­ar­ship at In­di­ana State Univer­sity in the United States, be­fore de­cid­ing to tran­si­tion to Fut­sal.

“Fut­sal is very fast­paced and tech­ni­cal. It in­cludes all the as­pects of foot­ball that I love, such as skill, cre­ativ­ity and in­ten­sity.”

Fut­sal is a form of foot­ball, usu­ally played on an in­door court with five-aside play­ers, and is par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar within Univer­sity sport­ing tour­na­ments.

New Zealand is send­ing a men’s and women’s team to the worlds, both led by the coaches of the Univer­sity of Auck­land teams — Marvin Eakins and Nic Downes.

So far 24 na­tions have con­firmed their regis­tra­tion for the 2018 FISU World Univer­sity Fut­sal Championship in­clud­ing Brazil, China, Spain, France, Germany and the United States.

“I am look­ing for­ward to play­ing against some of the world’s best and I am be­yond ex­cited for the chal­lenge,” says Leong.

Her team will take part in in­ten­sive train­ing camps at the Univer­sity of Auck­land in July and early Au­gust be­fore de­part­ing for Kaza­khstan on Au­gust 16.

The com­pe­ti­tion is self­funded and Leong is seeking spon­sor­ship, hav­ing so far re­ceived a $1000 grant from the Univer­sity of Auck­land’s Sport Sup­port Fund.

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