Three of Port Augusta’s most talented female soccer stars were fortunate enough to meet their idols during the school holidays.
Zoe Smith, Mia Smith and Destiny Freer were given the opportunity to engage in a question forum with some of Adelaide United’s W-League players.
After travelling to Adelaide by bus, the girls received VIP treatment at the W-League clash between Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers, escorting the players onto the pitch and participating in a modified game at half-time.
The girls also had the chance to speak to players from both teams after the game about becoming professional soccer players and the pathways available to them.
Zoe and Destiny said meeting the players made them believe that anything is possible.
“We had lots of fun and thought the game was amazing,” Zoe said. “Being up close with the players and hearing how they got to where they are was really inspiring.”
“Meeting the ladies was an amazing opportunity to see where we could end up if we keep training hard,” Destiny added.
The girls were rewarded after participating in both the 2018 Country Championships and the 2018 Bis Regional Girls Soccer Carnival.
Zoe and Destiny were identified as talented players at the Country Championships, while Mia Smith was voted by all coaches as the most outstanding player at the Bis Regional Girls Soccer Carnival.
The pathway for female soccer players in regional South Australia offers very few opportunities, with no female teams available in Port Augusta.
The girls took particular interest in meeting Adelaide United and Matildas midfielder Emily Condon, who comes from Port Pirie.
Mia, Zoe and Destiny’s coach, Kirsty Arbuckle, said she was blown away by the professionalism shown by the players and officials.
“As the coach of an isolated girls team in its formative years, it was amazing to see and speak to people who are passionate and invested in female soccer,” Kirsty said.
“It was a great experience to share with players who have had little exposure to female soccer and whose eyes have now been opened up to the possibilities in the future.
“Moving forward, we hope to see female players continue to be encouraged to develop to their full potential in Port Augusta.”