Standing tall for soccer

HIGH-flying Jaimee Williams will make her fourth consecutive appearance for Victoria at the National Youth Soccer Championships.

The former Fortuna player will line up in the defence for the under 15 state team as it battles against some of the nation’s best girls soccer players from 8 to 12 July.

“It’s a great experience and very different to what I’m used to (in Gippsland),” Jaimee said.

“It’s high quality soccer, it’s fast and intense, the girls are stronger, which helps improve my game.

“I think we will do pretty good, we have a good side but New South Wales is always in the way; they’re the champions. They’re a very big side.

“Last year we finished fourth and that was the closest we (have) got to winning the championship.”

The 14 year-old, who is currently involved in Football Federation Victoria’s state development program, was one of only four regional girls selected to represent the under 15 state team at the national championships.

Jaimee and her family have committed much of their time travelling from Morwell to Melbourne to undertake hours of training within the state development program.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights consist of one-and-a-half hours of training, while Saturday is dedicated to game time.

“I love the sport, the training is now a part of my life and you get used to the travel,” she said.

“At the moment I play in the defence, specifically as centre back, but I used to play in the midfield then on the wing. It depends on who your coach is.

“Different coaches see different things, but I’m getting comfortable with the position.”

Regardless of what position she plays on the field, Jamiee said she was more than happy to continue playing the sport.

“I hope to one day play in the premier league and W-League and head overseas to play,” Jaimee said.

“I will have to get into the National Training Centre in Melbourne before I can move on to the big leagues”

However, she has not forgotten about her ties to Gippsland, specifically Fortuna.

Jaimee said she missed playing with Fortuna and her friends, but acknowledged that to move ahead in the sport, she needed to look to Melbourne.

“It was good playing with Fortuna; it was different playing in the boys’ team, they’re bigger and rougher, but that was good practice,” she said.

Jaimee said she also hoped female participation in the sport, specifically in Gippsland, would continue to grow.

“It’s starting to get better, people need to realise that it’s not just about the boys and men,” she said.