EXCLUSIVE

Bowraville boy Mark Robinson selected for second year to represent Far North NSW in National School Futsal Championships

Seventeen and already 6 ft 3, Mark Robinson is shaping up to be a football star.
Seventeen and already 6 ft 3, Mark Robinson is shaping up to be a football star.

For someone who's only been playing futsal for a little under 10 months, Mark Robinson has done alright for himself.

More than alright, really.

In September the seventeen-year-old Nambucca Heads High student will represent the Far North NSW futsal team at the National School Futsal Championships for the second time this year.

In fact, the boy from Bowra so impressed the big wigs with his debut at the Nationals in January that this time he didn't even have to try out.

I was so excited, I couldn't believe it!

Mark Robinson

While Mark has been playing football since he was 13, including with the Strikers men since age 15, it was only last year that he tried out the indoor version at Macksville.

"It's more fast-paced, and more skill-based because you're working in a tighter space," he said.

He'd only just finished his second week of futsal when he heard word that talent scouts would soon be sniffing around.

He was a bit crook on the day the scouts travelled up and almost stayed home. It's a good thing he didn't, because they noticed his raw talent right away.

"The scout came to me and said 'I've never seen a kid dance across the floor like your son'. She was really excited," mum, Lisa Matters said, proud as punch of Mark's success.

"It's a bit of validation for him".

Despite the praise, he was nervous as hell before his first ever futsal game down in Homebush in January: "I almost didn't want to go".

Mark is not an outgoing sort of guy - more the 'hide his light under a bushel' sort.

He's a quiet kid, but when he's on the soccer pitch he transforms and he finds his voice.

Lisa Matters

Beside his footwork, it was his focus and leadership quality on the field that impressed the national selectors.

Mark said he's nervous before every game, no matter the stakes, "but as soon as I step out on a field all nerves go away and instinct kicks in".

Mark can't say exactly what fuels this transformation - but thinks it's probably a combination of "adrenaline and the love of the game".

"It just comes out, I can't stop it," he said.

Every lunchtime without fail he and his mates are out on the field playing football.

And in his down time he plays video games - FIFA, of course - or watches Youtube tutorials of pro tricks.

"My friends and I are always trying to one up each other," he said.

"There's this trick called the rabona, where if you're left-footed, you put the ball on your right side and then wrap your left leg behind and hit it - I feel like I've mastered that one pretty well."

There's still a couple of months until the Nationals kick off at the end of September in Brisbane. But he's putting his heart and soul into his preparation.

It's been tough through COVID, with no sport on, but since he heard the news of his selection in May, Mark and his mates have been religiously going down to the Macksville soccer fields every Tuesday and Thursday to train and run fitness drills.

Mark's also got his sights set on playing for the Tottenham Hotspurs Juniors at the University of Wollongong next year, even though he's more of a Barcelona and Messi fan.

Lionel Messi captains both the Barcelona Football Club and the Argentinian national side.

Lionel Messi captains both the Barcelona Football Club and the Argentinian national side.

"I'd love for this to turn into a career, playing for Australia or a professional team," he said.

He's definitely on his way. Go Mark!

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