JOUR 101, Media

Illawarra’s young soccer star learning to balance it all

South Coast Wolves defender, James Baldacchino, has already had phenomenal success on the international soccer stage. Returning home from Spain last month, James is now working towards the 2015 Under-20 World Cup and, his HSC.

James Baldacchino, 17

James Baldacchino, 17, hopes to one day be a professional A-League soccer player

The Western Sydney Wanderers youth-squad centre-back, was selected to play in the overseas tournament as part of trials for the 2015 U20 World Cup in Spain which was a “great experience”. This tournament is regarded as being the first real push that players have for their selection in the World Cup.

The humble 17-year-old student who hopes his family “are pretty happy with what I’ve done so far” had his international début at just 16 years old. He captained the U16 Joeys in their AFC Championship tour and has represented Australia in 7 countries. James however states that his HSC is going to be the “real test”.

James only spent 4 months at home last year and the Year 12 Lake Illawarra student acknowledges the efforts that the staff at his school so he is able to strike the balance of soccer success and study, “Lake has been good to me with all the work. I would have had to drop it [school] otherwise”.

As well as study, James trains every afternoon, plays once a week and attends several strengthening and conditioning sessions a week whilst “hanging with mates, family and my girlfriend”. He however admits that he must, “make a lot of sacrifices” but then states that “it is what you have to do to be a professional”.

The future is something James is adamantly confident about, “definitely want to be a professional one day”. Despite all the sacrifices, hard work and immense pressure James Baldacchino accurately sums it up, “When you put your boots on and walk out you realise it’s all worth it”

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