FTBL sat down with Ballers FC Captain Hayden Dealy to discuss FC Ballers' trip to Brazil.
After arriving back in Australia earlier this week, captain of Ballers FC - Australia's representative in the Red Bull Neymar Jr's Five World Finals - Hayden Dealy expressed his delight at the opportunity to represent his country.
Ballers FC, a 5-a-side team made up of a group of mates from Victoria, booked their place to represent Australia in Brazil after winning the Red Bull Neymar Jr's Five National Final in Melbourne last month.
A labourer by trade but footballer by heart, the experience of representing Australia on the world stage was a dream come true for Dealy.
"It's a great pleasure, not many people are able to do it," he told FTBL.
"To wear the badge and the colours was such a great thing to be able to do."
The road to the National Final was a rocky one, after winning the first regional qualifier in Shepparton, a loss in the State Final would stop the team from gaining entry to the National Final. However, Red Bull gave out a wildcard and Ballers FC’s hopes of making it to Brazil were reignited.
"We actually didn't make it through to the nationals, but we were given a wildcard by Red Bull because they thought we could win it," Dealy said.
Once the team had taken out the National title, everything moved fairly quickly during the four-week lead up to the World Final.
"Not many of the boys had a passport, so it was a stressful four weeks," Dealy said, now with humour.
According to the Ballers FC captain, the stories of Brazilians playing street football all the time are completely true.
"You can tell there are a lot of kids that live off of football, it's their livelihood," he said.
Dealy raised a touching story about the Brazilian lifestyle for the kids too, as the team met a young boy on the beach, juggled together before seeing the same boy a few days later begging for food.
One of biggest highlights that came from the tournament was how the small group of Australians were able to mix with people and teams from different countries around the world.
"Spending the time and the experience of meeting and playing against people from all over the world was great," Dealy said.
Get involved next year and have a crack at making it to Brazil, for more information, visit the Red Bull Neymar Jr's Five website here.