Aaryan, South Australia impress at Singa Cup

WINNERS: Football South Australia's Under 16 Regional Boys State Team finished third at this year's Singa Cup in Singapore.
WINNERS: Football South Australia's Under 16 Regional Boys State Team finished third at this year's Singa Cup in Singapore.

Aaryan Ghimire and the SA Under 16 Regional Boys State Team have returned home from this month's Singa Cup as bronze medalists.

The Bordertown local travelled to Singapore as part of a 14-man squad to compete in what's widely regarded as Asia's premier international youth football tournament.

Placed in Group C, Football South Australia topped the group with three wins and one loss, booking their place in the quarter-finals.

The side progressed to the semi-finals after a 1-0 win against Philippines side Futbol Funatics - FFAST.

The victory set-up an all-Australia semi-final against Football West, with the Western Australian side winning 1-0, despite South Australia controlling the play.

A loss to Football West saw the team have to settle for a third place play-off against Singapore side Sporting Clube de Portugal, which they won after going to penalties.

Game day training coach Steve Mutlow said he was incredibly proud of Aaryan and the rest of his squad in what was incredibly warm conditions.

"I am incredibly proud of the boys and what they achieved, we went through the whole tournament conceding only four goals," Mutlow said.

"The players were emotionally and physically exhausted after playing in warm and muggy conditions, with most days reaching 34 degrees."

Aaryan was a crucial part of the defensive structure that only conceded four goals, with his individual performances standing out to his coaches.

"Aaryan was crucial in defence for us - we wanted him to be aggressive and provide overlap for us and he did that really well," Mutlow said.

"He also grew as an individual and as a teammate - hopefully he can continue his growth and start to rub-off on some of his teammates at Naracoorte United."

Aaryan said he was really impressed with some of the newer players coming into the squad, who each played a significant role.

"Our team this year was a lot stronger than last year so I feel like we were all disappointed in our semi-final loss where we dominated the match but were unlucky in scoring (hit the post 3 times) and managed to concede a late goal," Aaryan said.

The Naracoorte United fullback said he has developed massively over the past nine months after working with top notch coaches and playing against professional teams and academies.

"I've learnt that as I progress from junior to senior levels the games more about the mental side (what you do on the ball) rather then the physical side," Aaryan said.

After a draining tournament that left many players tired and sore, Aaryan said his best performance was during the third place playoff, where he used his leadership skills to lift his teammates.

" All of us were sore, tired and injured but knew we had to win this game," Aaryan said.

"As a fullback and what was expected of me for the team I believe that was the best game as I provided support both in the offence and defence.

"I set up numerous chances by getting on the overlap and even managed to make a slide tackle goal line clearance with my face in the last five minutes of the game."

He will continue to play for Naracoorte United until he completes year 12, where he'll assess the best possible pathway to become a professional footballer.

The fullback said moving to the US to play college soccer is one of serious pathways he'll consider, while attending Mount Gambier's Regional Centre of Excellence is another possibility.

Aaryan's coaches will keep this year's team training together at least once a month, with Football South Australia planning to take the SA team to the Borneo Cup next year.

"The dream is still alive of making it as a professional and these tournaments and training's are just developing me even more and helping me strive closer to that dream," Aaryan said.