Lawrence Machado, Fairfield Advance
Ryleigh’s big strides to success
NOOR Hanteia is living his football dream, two years after arriving in Australia after fleeing war-torn Iraq with his family.
The 16-year-old will represent not-for-profit Football United at the FIFA Football for Hope Festival being held in Russia from July 1-15, during the World Cup.
Noor has also been given $1000 from Fairfield Council to attend his first international championships, a launching pad for what he hopes will progress to a professional career.
Noor is this week’s nominee for the Local Sports Star Award and plays for Football United, Australian Soccer Academy and Westfields Sports, Fairfield.
“This is a dream come true for me, being able to watch the World Cup too,” the Fairfield West teen said.
“I am very excited about playing for Australia.
“I have been playing football in Iraq and Turkey (where the family lived for two years before coming to Australia) and I would love to become a professional player.”
“Noor has overcome barriers since arriving with the help of his family, peers, teachers and the Football United program,” Football United spokeswoman Natasha Hill said.
“Noor has shown utmost commitment and willingness to learn and develop as a football player and a leader in the sport during the weekly sessions.
“His passion for the world game and phenomenal football skills have allowed him to grow confidence both on and off the field, empowering him to be a student coach and role model for his peers and younger generation.
“Noor joined Football United when he first started school in 2016 and has since grown in confidence to be a student coach and leader for younger students.”
The festival brings together youth from over 30 countries to play football, develop and learn life skills and exchange cultural values in a unique way.