CHASING DREAM: Jacob Downey (left) and Xavier Townsend are off to Brisbane to play in football’s National Premier League.
CHASING DREAM: Jacob Downey (left) and Xavier Townsend are off to Brisbane to play in football’s National Premier League. Allen Winter

Mariners pair selected for National Premier League

JACOB Downey and Xavier Townsend both have the same goal: to play for the Socceroos.

And the two 15-year-olds are heading down the track to achieve that goal.

The two Mariners Football Club stars have been selected to play in next year's National Premier League - Jacob with Redlands United Football Club and Xavier with the Western Pride, based in Ipswich.

Jacob's family will move close to Jacob's Redlands club, and Xavier is planning to go to boarding school in Ipswich.

Both players will compete in the league's under-15 grade.

Jacob, who plays striker/centre forward, described his selection as "awesome".

"It will be great to play in a better league with gun players where I can improve," he said.

"It's a great opportunity to further develop my skills."

For goal keeper Xavier, the selection was the next step in his dream to play for the A-League and eventually the Socceroos.

"It will be a good opportunity for me to improve," he said.

Xavier was selected to play in a state team this year and competed in the national championships in Coffs Harbour.

Team coach Tom McDonald, also assistant coach for the Queensland Country team, said it was a fantastic opportunity for young players to have a development program.

The Mariners Club is part of an advanced pathway for young players from the various Gladstone clubs.

They play against similar teams from Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay and Fraser Coast.