CHAMPION: Jacob Van Zanden playing against South Africa during the Youth World Cup in Malaysia earlier this month.
CHAMPION: Jacob Van Zanden playing against South Africa during the Youth World Cup in Malaysia earlier this month. Contributed

Snaring Youth World Cup

Touch football: Jacob Van Zanden has returned to the shores of Australia an under-20 Youth World Cup Champion following a great result in Kuala Lumpur.

The 19-year-old, who was selected for the under-20 Australian squad, said coming home as Youth World Champions was the highlight of the four day competition.

"We played 12 games in four days,” he said.

"The last game was the grand final against New Zealand.

"It was extremely hot and very humid, something our coaching staff prepared us for before leaving Australia.

"It was a physical game but we came away with a 9-6 win.”

Van Zanden said it was an awesome experience and he was keen to go back and visit Malaysia again some day.

He said his team was well prepared before leaving Australia.

"We bonded really well in camp,” he said.

"Everyone played for each other and the mateship we share on and off the field really showed.

"My team mates and coaching staff became a part of my family.”

Van Zanden said playing against and meeting players from other countries was another highlight.

"Being able to meet and socialise with people from all over the world with a common interest was a once in a lifetime experience,” he said.

Even though he only recently returned from the big win, it's straight back into training for Van Zanden.

"I am straight back into training and trialling for a spot in the NRL Touch premiership for next year,” he said.

"National Touch League is also on next year at Coffs Harbour which I am also hoping to earn a spot.”

He said touch football was a great sport that anybody could be a part of.

"Anybody can have a go at touch and if you train hard and listen to your coaches anything is possible.”