Gloucester players in Football Mid North Coast under 16's National Premier League (NPL)

Premier league: Beau Blanch, Cody Howard and Kayden Schumann with their Drifta team soccer coach, Geoff Hawkins. Photo: Anne Keen
Premier league: Beau Blanch, Cody Howard and Kayden Schumann with their Drifta team soccer coach, Geoff Hawkins. Photo: Anne Keen

It's amazing what a little encouragement can do for young people.

For Gloucester's Beau Blanch, Cody Howard and Kayden Schumann, who have recently been selected on the Football Mid North Coast (FMNC) under 16s National Premier League (NPL), it was all due to a little nudge from coach Geoff Hawkins.

"I got told I had potential by coach," Cody said when asked why he trialled for the squad.

Cody tried out last year and was unsuccessful, but this year he was joined by his Drifta teammates, Kayden and Beau and they all made the cut. The year nine Gloucester High School students have been playing soccer together since they were little, starting out with the Gloucester Soccer Club as soon as they were old enough.

Four years ago, Kayden was the first to play on the Drifta team, representing Gloucester in the FMNC competition; Beau followed suit the following year, and Cody the year after. The team has been building momentum and skill, making it to the grand final this year.

According to the their mothers, Cassy Howard, Julie Schumann and Alison Blanch, without the support for Geoff, they wouldn't have had the opportunity to give the NPL a go.

"He's been training them twice a week. He's fine tuned their skills and encouraged their potential," Julie said.

For Geoff, he's simply very proud of all of them.

"It's good to see them grow," he said.

Although the boys will miss their Drifta teammates, who have become like a family to them, they know this is an excellent opportunity to see where the sport can take them.

For Kayden, it's also a hommage to his father, Keith who played for the Sutherland Sharks in the late 70s and early 80s and represented Australia.

But now it's down to business, with the boys required to attend training sessions twice a week in Taree and Moorland, and games every weekend when the season kicks off in March next year. It's a commitment that will be shared by their families, with all of them looking to do a bit of carpooling to help share the travel load, with games played between Coffs Harbour and Newcastle.