Harper returns from a successful Fiji Cup


In early December, Goulburn football player, Harper Tarplee had an amazing opportunity to play at the Ultimate Fiji Soccer Cup in Fiji.

The former Stags FC and STFA representative Goalkeeper, who now plays for Highlands FC in the Wollongong League was invited to play with Kiama Junior FC at the Fiji Cup. Harper, along with four boys from Tasmania joined the team for the six day tournament. Before the event he travelled to Kiama every Sunday over a four week period to train with his team mates.

There were six teams in total at the tournament with three Fijian teams – Lautoka, Nadi and BA and two other Australian teams – Central Coast Sports College and team made up of kids from around NSW and SA.

Harper’s first game was against Lautoka. He made some great saves to keep a clean sheet to help his team win 2-0. A big 7-2 win over Nadi had Kiama on top of the ladder. The second game was an interesting experience with the goals at each end being completely different sizes.

The third game was arguably the most memorable game of the week. On arrival at the school where the game against BA was to be played, the boys were surrounded by kids (mostly girls) who were very interested in meeting the boys, talking and having a laugh. At game time, many of the school children came back with their families to watch the match. It was a close match on the shorter than normal field and with the very vocal locals supporting both teams, the atmosphere was memorable. The athleticism of BA was too much for Kiama and BA came away with the win 4-1. Post-game the teams gathered in a circle taking it in turns to sing with the locals showing that not only on the day they were the better football team, but they were also the better singers.

A win and a loss over the other Australian teams had Kiama equal second on points but they ended up third on for and against. Putting them against their friends from BA in a play-off for 3rd. Once again, the BA supporters created a wonderful atmosphere. This game was played on a full size pitch in an old stadium, this suited the Kiama team and they had a strong 3-1 win to collect 3rd place which was an incredible result.

It was a memorable week in Fiji for Harper. Some of the kids were playing with huge holes in their boots and without shin pads as they couldn’t afford them. Harper’s biggest memory was how happy the Fijians were, even though they didn’t appear to have much. He took several bags of donations over with him, while most of the equipment went to the football association some of his gear was given to local kids. “I will never forget the huge smile on their faces when they realised they were receiving boots or a ball from us”.

Harper’s summer of football continues with more trips to Kiama for training for the National Futsal Championships in January.


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STFA received $882,744.00 in funding from NSW Government via Level the Playing Field grant to install lighting on at least two fields at Cookbundoon!!


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