Teenage soccer sensation Bryleeh Henry is set to represent Australia in two separate appearances in the US and Europe next month.
The Year 9 Xavier College student has been selected as part of the U14 Australian Girls Futsal Team to play in Spain at the beginning of November, and was also named in the Football NSW squad competing in the prestigious Surf College Cup in San Diego.
The Cup is ranked in the top two youth soccer tournaments in the US, with qualification processes in place for the international draw.
It’s a huge opportunity for the young Blacktown Spartans striker, who is hoping her appearance before talent scouts could lead to a soccer scholarship offer from a US college.
“I think there are about 600 college coaches who come to watch,” she said. “I eventually want to play professionally.
“I was really excited [when I got told I had been selected], I didn’t think I was going to get in.”
While Henry knows several of the 15 players also selected to play in the tournament, the side will have training sessions before they leave on November 22 to gel as a team.
But the training will be a tight squeeze into Henry’s schedule, as she will only return from her international futsal duties the week before she jets out to the US.
It’s only the second year Henry has played futsal, taking up the sport in the outdoor off-season.
“People kept telling me it helped your skills for outdoor,” she said.
Henry plays for the Inner West Magic at Valentine Park and her performance at the national tournament led to selectors offering her the opportunity to represent her country.
Henry’s selection for international duties is a great source of pride for her family and school, with Xavier College director of sport, Daniel Whiley, saying she was a multi-disciplined athlete who was also a role model to fellow students.
She has previously been awarded the Xavier College Sporting Blues Award, the premier award for students representing the school through selection into a NSW All Schools or national team, or those who represent a sport at a state and/or national level outside of school.
Henry has also won the college’s Female Junior Elite Sports Star for two consecutive years, and represented the school in sports as diverse as cross country, athletics, softball and touch football.
But school work always comes first.
“She still comes to school and is getting really good grades, her teachers are very pleased with her progress,” Mr Whiley said. “She is an inspiration to other girls, she has great athletic ability but her greatest attribute is that she is a very humble young lady. She wants to succeed for herself, rather than fame and glory.
“I wish her good luck and I hope she realises her goal to play professional football.”