VISION: Joeys Mini World Cup tournament director Heinrich Haussler.
VISION: Joeys Mini World Cup tournament director Heinrich Haussler. Matthew McInerney

How Haussler formulated the Joeys Mini World Cup

TOURNAMENT: A trip to Germany in a World Cup year gave Heinrich Haussler the idea to provide junior football players the chance to play for their own mini World Cup.

Germany hosted the FIFA World Cup that year, most memorable to Australians after the Socceroos' were eliminated via a late penalty against Italy.

The Italians went on to beat France in that final, but it was on fields that did not include the world's most elite players where Haussler was inspired.

"Germany hosted the World Cup that year, but I saw a lot of kids running around in jerseys of other countries competing at the Cup,” Haussler said.

"It was one of the most successful programs the (governing body) had run.

"They played it every four years. They'd start in regions and work their way up to the last 24, who would play off in a World Cup-style tournament.”

The seed was planted, and soon after Haussler had his plan to launch the Joeys Mini World Cup. An annual event initially held at Inverell, in Northern New South Wales, it started with just 16 teams in three age groups.

It grew over the either years at the country NSW town, and sustaining the popular football tournament's growth was behind the move to Hervey Bay.

The winners of the annual event will not only claim glory, but as many 40 male and female players, along with six coaches are given the opportunity to tour Germany with a Joeys tour team.

The best three players - one each in the under-13s, U15s and U17s - are fully subsidised.

"It was tough for the first team I took over there, but we're now a lot more used to it and know what to expect,” Haussler said. "Last year we won all of our games except for one. We're not easybeats.”

The first coach to direct the Socceroos to a World Cup, Rale Rasic, will be in Hervey Bay, as will a representative team from Frankfurt, who will be one of the teams to watch.

Toowoomba Grammar has contributed as many as 13 teams across the age groups, while several local teams will try to win the tournament on its home turf.

The tournament will start Monday, with games from 8.30am every day until Friday at the Tavistock St complex.



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