Western United Academy star Charbel Shamoon will represent Iraq at the upcoming AFC U20 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan.
The 19-year-old has been a regular for the youth national team in recent camps but will now play at a major tournament for the first time.
The full-back will join his teammates ahead of the tournament’s commencement on March 1, with the Asian crown and places in the FIFA U20 World Cup up for grabs.
Western United Academy Director Anthony Frost said Shamoon’s talent and hard work was being rightly recognised with this call-up.
“We’re proud to see the effort Charbel places on his development being rewarded with this opportunity and can’t wait to see how he performs on an international stage,” he said.
“Seeing another player from our club be given the chance to have such an amazing experience is certainly encouraging, and hopefully a sign of further things to come for our Academy players.
“We wish Charbel all the very best for the tournament.”
Western United General Manager of Football Mal Impiombato said his tournament will provide Shamoon with another platform to continue developing as a footballer.
“We have been delighted with Charbel’s progression in the Academy, which has seen him feature occasionally in first-team training,” he said.
“This tournament will give him another opportunity to take steps in his development and as a football club, we are eager to see the impact that it will have.
“We wish Charbel all the best and look forward to seeing him perform on an international stage.”
Shamoon was in and around John Aloisi’s Isuzu UTE A-League Men team last season while starring in the NPL Senior side, featuring prominently at either full-back position for the entirety of the campaign.
His ability and technique with the ball at his feet regularly caught the eye as he helped the side earn promotion to NPL 2 Victoria.
That ability saw him score the Academy’s Goal of the Season in the 2022 campaign, a long-range thunderbolt against Ballarat City that flew into the top corner.
Shamoon’s Iraq has been drawn in Group A for the tournament, opening its campaign against Indonesia before facing hosts Uzbekistan and Syria.
Iraq could face Australia in the quarter-finals if both sides get out of their respective groups, providing a potential match-up of Western United starlets with Rhys Bozinovski set to line up in the Green and Gold.
Shamoon will hope to inspire his team to a successful tournament before returning to Western United in the early weeks of its season in NPL 2.