Jesse states his case for the USA

JESSE Hanley is proving hard to beat.

Well, for those players attacking his team's goal when he's playing futsal he is.

The 13-year-old St Mary's College student is the best defender in the country in his age group and he's got the award to prove it.

Hanley, who has been playing futsal since he was seven, received the All Stars trophy for the Best Defender in Australia after representing Queensland in the nationals in Victoria.

The Queensland team, which was coached by Maryborough's Paul Weber, the Queensland Futsal development officer for the region, finished fifth in the championships.

Although he missed out on winning a medal, Hanley, a Wide Bay futsal representative, did not miss out when it came to naming a national team.

He was selected in the Australian team to tour the United States next May.

Not a bad effort from someone who only started to play futsal for something to do when the soccer season ended.

Now he loves the game with a passion although he still continues to play soccer in the winter and it seems he's good at that as well.

Hanley plays for Tinana, a club he joined when he was five, and he won the best full-back award for the season just finished.

Not surprisingly, Hanley said he was so pleased to have won his futsal award and also be named in the Australian team.

“It feels great,” he said.

“I thought I played alright but I had no idea that I would win the trophy for best defender - that came as huge surprise I can tell you.

“I'm very proud of it.”

As for his selection in the national team, Hanley said that was a dream come true.

“It doesn't get any better than getting the chance to play for your country,” he said.

Hanley's Queensland coach, Paul Weber, said his young charge deserved to win the award.

“He played outstanding all week - he reads the game so well and so quickly and that's the key to being a great player,” Weber said.

“It was a fantastic effort to win it (the award) when you consider we didn't reach the finals as well.”

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