A YOUNG futsal star from the district is making a big impression in the sport down under. 

Teenager Elise Cleminson lives in Western Australia, after moving to Munster from Haydon Bridge, with her family nine years ago.

The Fremantle College student has now been named among the top 12 players in Austrailia in the U15 age category. 

As a result, Elise has been selected to attend a training tour to Barcelona in Spain next year. 

The call-up came after trials were held across Australia by the United Futsal organisation. 

The 14-year-old has already become the youngest player to play in a competitive senior women’s league.

Dad Richard Cleminson said: “We are very proud of Elise. She was just 13 when she became the youngest ever player to play in the women’s league. 

“Although she turned 14 in August, Elise can’t play in the top level senior league until she turns 15, but that’s her ambition.”

As well as going to Barcelona, Elise has also been invited to play for a team based in Melbourne, made up of players selected from across Australia. 

She started playing traditional football at primary school, and was to asked give futsal a try at the age of 11. 

Futsal is a variation of football, played at high tempo on a hard, indoor court.

The five-a-side game has rolling substitutions and is recognised as a tool for developing ball skills.

A match consists of two 20-minute halves, but similar to basketball, the clock stops when the ball goes out of play, which means matches can last well over an hour.

Some of the world’s greatest footballers, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, all played futsal as youngsters.

Futsal is growing in popularity in the Tyne Valley. 

In September, PE teacher and futsal coach Bruce Vause, of Prudhoe, took charge of Northern Irish side Belfast United at the UEFA Futsal Champions League in Germany.

The team competed against teams from Germany, Greece and Albania. 
While they did not progress beyond the group stage, Bruce, and his team helped to raise awareness of the sport.

Bruce was assisted by fellow coach Michael Gunn, who is head of futsal at Northumbria University.