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WESTFORD — As students prepare to return to the classroom, one student is preparing to represent her country on the court.
Hailey Campbell, a soon-to-be Stony Brook Middle School seventh grader was one of 10 girls selected to play futsal on the 2010 birth year national team.
Campbell was selected after a series of tryouts in Kansas City, where she was pitched against 30 other hopefuls vying for the position. She is the sole New England representative on the team.
“I was super nervous because it was my first year doing [futsal], and I didn’t know what to expect. But as soon as I got through the first five minutes, it felt more like a normal practice, which really relaxed my nerves,” she said.
Campbell began her soccer career at the age of three, later playing as a goalie for the New England Football Club in 2019. Her father, Bill Campbell says he feels his daughter has always been “naturally gifted” with a “knack for being a goalie.”
Campbell was later introduced to futsal by a neighbor, who invited her over for a scrimmage. With her background in soccer, she was able to quickly learn futsal and continued to play as an additional competitive outlet.
Originally developed in Europe in the 1930s, futsal is a variation of soccer where players play on a hard court, as opposed to an outdoor field. The sport takes inspiration from soccer, with the sport emphasizing a faster-paced game.
Campbell noted her excitement to support her newfound team when she is eventually called on to play.
“I really like the sense of being there to support the team as goalie. I almost like the pressure of having to be the ‘pass-man’. When I make a good save, I really like the feeling I get afterwards,” she said.
Even after joining the team, she continues to play for NEFC and practices four days a week. As a student, she will continue to study as she travels across the country for her futsal games.
Campbell hopes to continue playing throughout high school, but is unsure whether or not she will pursue a life-long career in the sport. In the meantime, Campbell looks forward to representing her school, town and country on the team.
“It is a big deal to be representing my country. It feels really amazing,” Campbell said.
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