ROCKINGHAM soccer player Bailey O’Donnell, who raises money to attend international training camps by busking, has been nominated for a Western Australian Young Achiever award.
O’Donnell (17) has his sights set on becoming a professional soccer player in Europe.
He plays left wing for the Stirling Lions under-20 team, which played its first pre-season game last weekend defeating UWA 4-1.
O’Donnell first represented WA in the under-12 team in 2012 and last year played in the state under-19 team at Lark Hill.
“I have wanted to be a professional soccer player ever since the two-week tournament in Canberra with the under-12s sparked my dream and lit the fire,” he said.
Last year he attended two training camps in Italy and Spain and took part in showcase events in Thailand and Melbourne.
He said the intensity of training in Europe was much higher than in Australia.
“We were training three times a day, it was insane but that’s why they are so much fitter and better technically,” he said.
“The coaches’ ethics and ethos are just completely different.
“Everything was a much higher grade and gave me a great insight into what I wanted to do.”
As well as being a talented soccer player, O’Donnell is also an accomplished musician and plays his keyboard at venues around the Perth metropolitan area to fund his attendance at training camps.
“I tried to do it every weekend, last year was crazy,” he said.
“I was playing up to five times each weekend at functions, weddings and markets, anywhere I could get a gig.
“Busking is a great way to make money and I love seeing the joy on people’s faces when they hear me play, it’s amazing.”
O’Donnell is a Year 12 student at Kolbe Catholic College and is gearing up for a big year of study.
“I’m doing four ATAR subjects and it will be hard juggling everything so I will be concentrating on school this year,” he said.
“I’ve got no plans to go overseas this year but if it happens, it happens.”
O’Donnell, who is a Chelsea supporter, is hoping to join a soccer academy in England after he finishes Year 12.
He has been nominated for the Surge Fitness Sports Award, with finalists to be announced on March 21.