New Balance Blackout Squad: Ben Corling

New Balance Football officially launched its Blackout Squad competition in March, offering amateur players around the globe the chance to become part of a select group to trial New Balance football boots, just as the brand’s global professional player ambassadors do. The sign-up stage closed on April 6 and New Balance Australia can now announce its Australian squad.

New Balance Australia shortlisted 150 entrants who were asked to show why they deserved to be part of Blackout Squad through video. From there, the group was narrowed down to 60 entrants who will be awarded the New Balance football boots and kits. New Balance will then select the final 11 winners to represent Australia’s own Blackout Squad.

Inspired by the practice of pro-footballers trialling blacked out boots when testing new products, competition winners will be the first members of public in the world to get their hands on the highly sought-after New Balance boots alongside an exclusive Blackout Squad apparel package, worth more than $4,000.

We talk to a few of the Australian players in Team NB’s Blackout Squad.

Ben Corling: The 18-year-old Maitland Magpies goalkeeper out of NSW has been guided and encouraged by his mother, Michelle Carr – a former Beresfield United Football Club player – from a young age. She has shaped and moulded Ben’s determination and skill, with him making National Premier Leagues at age 15, two years younger than his fellow teammates and against his height obstacles as a goalkeeper.

Tell us about the team you play for.
I play for the Maitland Magpies in the National Premier Leagues competition. This is my first year with them after I moved from another NPL club. Maitland are the new kids on the block after being promoted last season. The support from everyone at the club is amazing and in the short time that I've been with Maitland I've learnt so much from everyone, especially the club goalkeeper coach Steve Walterback. With his assistance I feel like my performance and goalkeeping technique have gotten better and better every week.

How does it feel to get a New Balance Blackout Squad contract?
I am over the moon and it has given me a big confidence boost knowing that New Balance believe in me and want to help me achieve what I want in my football career.

What do your teammates think about you being signed to NB BoS?
My teammates think the whole thing is fantastic. They think it's great how New Balance has given players such as myself the opportunity of obtaining a contract from a reputable brand through the blackout squad competition.

What is your motivation when playing football?
My motivation is simply to succeed and go as far as I possibly can with my football career. Because succeeding is my motivation, I see any setback as a stepping-stone to success as this mindset can help you improve and therefore reach your desired outcome.

Which New Balance professional player has a similar style to you, or do you aspire to be like?
I aspire to be like Tim Cahill because he has very strong characteristics that make him stand out in any team. Whether it's his ability to win a game with seconds left or creating unbelievable moments for the crowd, he always manages to impress even if he has the weight of the whole nation of his shoulders. I feel like I bring these elements to my game as well, because as a goalkeeper, you can have all the pressure on you and then make an unbelievable last-minute save and win the game. Even though Tim Cahill is a field player, he manages to execute these characteristics every time he steps on the pitch, which is why I love his style of football.

New Balance’s squad of professional players are backing the plan, encouraging amateur players around the world to enter. Australia superstar, Shanghai Shenhua attacker Tim Cahill, said: "I’ll never forget where I got my start in football and those that challenged and believed in me, helping me take my game to the next level.

“I love the concept of the New Balance Blackout Squad, it's an initiative like this that can help provide the inspiration and drive for the future stars of football, giving them the professional experience and opportunity to connect with other like-minded grassroots players globally. The best way to improve yourself is by giving your all in training and games and NB will make sure that the winners have all the right gear to make it happen. I’m excited to watch this group of rising stars and welcome them to team New Balance.”

To learn more on the global Blackout Squad, go to: www.newbalance.com.au

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