IT was a once-in-a-lifetime sporting experience for Melbourne teenager Yudi Vorchheimer’s, whose supreme skills with the round ball took him on a month-long tour of Greece during October as part of the Australian Futsal Association’s international under-15 side.
The Leibler Yavneh College student was the only Victorian representative on the 16-man side that tackled the country’s elite youth futsal sides, as well as touring around Greece and attending a UEFA Champions League match.
Managing to fit in 19 games on a hectic schedule, the young Aussies won nine, lost seven and drew three despite coming up against sides comprised mostly of 17 and 18-year-olds.
Vorchheimer told the AJN that the green-and-gold’s performance was made even more impressive considering the tournament was the first time the team met and played together.
“Training was just not possible in Australia due to the geographic distances between all the team members,” Vorchheimer said.
“On a personal level, I had a great time, and a memorable experience …while I scored a number of goals, the performance of the team was based on all the boys working together to control the game and create the opportunities.
“Our opponents were competitive, but as soon as the games concluded the rivalry that defined the game was replaced by warmth and hospitality, with the exchange of gifts and mementos.”
As an observant Jew, Vorchheimer also faced a different set of obstacles, from finding kosher meals to answering teammates questioning him about his kippah.
“The questions were respectful and based on a desire to learn,” he said. “Some of the boys had not come across an orthodox Jew before, and were genuinely interested to know.
“And the Australian Futsal Association helped to organise kosher meals in Greece, as they previously organised kosher food for me at the National tournaments that I competed previously in Australia.”
Vorchheimer achieved selection for the Under-15s tour after a standout performance for Victoria City at the National Futsal competition in Sydney earlier this year. A natural to the sport, Vorchheimer has only been playing futsal for a little over a year, getting his start in 2013 while representing Yavneh College in an interschool tournament.
Yavneh’s Head of Sport Luke Wilson said, “Yavneh College has been very proud of Yudi’s success in both soccer and futsal having represented Victoria in futsal and the College in both elements of the game at District level.
“He is a very skilled player with great speed, ball control and knowledge of the game he loves playing.
“With his potential so endless, it is exciting to think of where his love for the game will take him.”
Vorchheimer will continue to pursue his flourishing futsal career by representing Victoria in January next year at the national competition.
He said, “The opportunities are there for me. I know my parents want me to do well at school, so I guess I have to juggle my sporting desires with their expectations.”
If the young Jewish star manages to find the right balance, kosher meals may yet become a permanent fixture on the Aussie national team.