Jamiee Williams is not your typical 13 year-old girl; soccer has dominated her world for the past five years and she cannot imagine life without it.
The Morwell girl recently completed a successful nationals tour with her best friend, 14 year-old Churchill girl Lani Murdoch, and while Jaimee said she was nervous going into the first game, the feeling wore off as they played on.
“We won our first game against Australian Capital Territory 4-0 and that gave me the confidence to keep going,” Jaimee said, adding they played six games in total.
“I played defence the whole tour; I normally play midfield or forward.”
Jaimee was the only under 14 Gippsland girl selected to make the under 14 Victorian state squad and was made captain, while Lani was the only under 15 girl to make the under 15 state squad.
The two girls are close friends, despite the rivalries between the teams they normally play for: Jaimee plays for Fortuna 60, while Lani plays for Churchill United.
Their selection to the state squad was notable as it included a mix of regional and metropolitan players, Jaimee’s mother Amanda Williams said, who is also the president of the Gippsland Knights.
“It was a lot harder to get into; only four country girls were selected, the rest of the 16 were metropolitan girls,” Williams said.
“Both Jaimee and Lani have been selected in the last three years to represent the state.”
Jaimee’s week is jam-packed with soccer: she trains for Fortuna 60 on Tuesdays and plays on Sundays, and trains in Melbourne on Thursdays and Fridays.
“The hardest part for me is the traveling; you stiffen up during those hours in the car,” she said.
“Also, mentally, you don’t have time for anything else.”
Jaimee has been lucky to be injury-free during her soccer-playing career; Lani is less fortunate, having fractured her knee last year.
Despite the sacrifices she and her family have made for the sport, Jaimee said she “felt good” making the region proud.
When asked to comment on girls’ soccer in the region, Jaimee said when compared to the metropolitan areas, it had “different quality”.
“When you go to Melbourne, it’s more ball game; down here we don’t take things as seriously,” she said.
The Kurnai College Morwell student said she ventured into soccer as her brother had gotten into it, and she wanted to “beat him at it”.
Her determination as well as discipline have propelled her to the top of her game, according to her mother, and Jaimee has hopes of playing soccer professionally in the future.
Until then, the teenager, whose favourite soccer player is Argentinian Lionel Messi, will keep her eyes – and feet – on the ball.