Looking back over the many years of State trainings and State trips away I wouldn't have done anything differently. Racheal's first State trip (after Melbourne) was the Under 14 Friendship games in Sydney, Australia. She was one of the youngest on the team to go away being 12 years old. I really couldn't tell you too much about this trip because I wasn't there...and it really was a trying time for me as I could only contact her via phone and sometimes she just wouldn't pick up...there was no Facebook or Twitter back then. How on earth did we cope!! LOL
The next year was the same, she was chosen to play in the Under 15 team at the age of 13 so once again was the youngest to go away. This time was a little bit harder again as she didn't get on the pitch much being younger and all I wanted to do was hug her but she was miles away.
So what was I to do....I really wanted to be a part of her experiences but there was no way we could afford to pay for her trip over to the nationals and go on holidays ourselves as well...At that time SAWSA (South Australian Womens Soccer Association) was paying for people to become Sports Trainer to go away with State teams to look after any injuries that usually follow soccer games. So I put my hand up and became a Level 1 Sports Trainer.
So the first trip away that I went on was the Under 14 state trip, going to Canberra for the Kanga Cup which they hold in the Nations Capital every year for boys and girls. We stayed in Canberra for a week and traveled around in 2 12 seater buses with 16 under 14 girls.....What an experience for sure...The girls played really well in a Under 16 competition but lost the grand final to another Adelaide side that came over for the competition. I had a few injuries to deal with during the week but nothing major...
The next year they (SAWSA) bought in a rule that no parents could actually go away with the team that their daughters were in, I assumed that maybe other people complained or thought it was unfair that I could go away with my daughter, so I decided the next year I would once again go away with the Under 14 team instead of going away with my daughter again...who made it into the Under 15 team which went away to Coffs Harbour and I was stuck in Canberra again..
Once again I was stuck on only phone calls and not knowing how she was doing...
Luckily the next year she went up to the Under 17s and I was Sports Trainer for the Under 15 team where they both ended up going to Coffs Harbour for the Nationals there...so I was able to watch her for the last few years that she could be in state teams..
The state teams in Australia only go up to the age of Under 17 and back then they didnt have the W-League so there was no real competition for anyone over 18. And alot of the girls were lost in the system that is why it is so important for Australia to keep the W-League going if we want to be a real contender in years to come in the world arena.
So in the last year of Racheals State trip she played really well, achieving the leading goal scorer for the nationals and being asked to go to a Young Matildas Camp (under 20 National team). Where she continued to be asked back each camp and then was picked to travel with the team to the Under 20 AFC championships in 2008. In the competition she managed to score 5 goals for the tournament in Malaysia against Iran, Thailand and India. Her team mates in that squad were the likes of Tameka Butt, Kyah Simon and Sam Kerr.
So Next time I will talk about the W-League in Australia
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