“This is a team of misfits but they are playing with heart and soul.”
That is how coach Simon Moore described his Mount Annan Mustangs under-14s soccer side during a rollercoaster 2018 capped off with a premiership win.
In March, before the season started, the club had signed up only a handful of under-14s players and looked unlikely to even field a team this year.
Fast forward seven months and the Mustangs are Macarthur Football Association premiers and are also on track to win the NSW Football Champion of Champions competition.
Moore said the Mustangs had enjoyed an incredible season after a rocky start.
“We didn’t have a lot of support earlier in the year. We hosted a couple of trials but we only had six or seven players ready,” he said.
“I asked around for help and we ended up with 13 boys who gelled together and became mates.
"It's a rags to riches story and I don't want it to end.”
The Mustangs were a dominant force in this year’s Macarthur Football Association’s under-14s division one competition.
The side won the minor premiership after losing just one game during the regular season.
Mount Annan then secured the premiership title with a 4-1 win over the Camden Falcons on grand final day last month.
Moore said the result earned the Mustangs an invitation into the NSW Football State Champion of Champions league.
“Champion of Champions is the best of the best playing in an elimination style competition,” he said.
Mount Annan was among 32 teams to play in round one of the state under-14s competition in mid-September.
The Mustangs secured a 2-1 win over Shoalhaven to move into round two.
The Macarthur side then recorded a 2-1 victory in extra time over Hornsby to progress to the round of eight teams.
Mount Annan will now face Pagewood Botany in a quarter-final this Sunday morning at Maroubra’s Heffron Park.
“We can move into the top four with a win which would be a stellar effort,” Moore said.
“But Pagewood will be a tough opponent.”
Moore said the key to his team’s success this year was “mateship”.
“The boys are all about hard work, dedication and sticking up for their mates,” he said.
“We were just looking to build up our team this year but the boys have played some really great soccer.”
The Mustangs are one of three Macarthur teams left in the Champion of Champions league.
The Picton Rangers have reached the quarter finals in the under-17s division and Oran Park Rovers over-45s men’s team has kept its campaign alive.
Picton will face Illaroo and Oran Park will take on Belmore in sudden-death matches this Sunday.