Reaching for her dreams

MORWELL’S Jaimee Williams has always had eyes for Melbourne Victory – now her favourite franchise is looking at her.

The W-League club’s senior coach Dave Edmondson has taken a shine to the 15 year-old former Fortuna 60 talent, scouting her to join the National Training Centre’s under 17 side set to compete in the Victorian Women’s Premier League this year.

With four junior Australian representatives in the NTC side, including Victory signing Beattie Gold, Jaimee could also be sized up for a shirt with a big white V on it should she impress in the metropolitan league.

Jaimee had her first taste of WPL last season when she filled in for injured NTC players, and was surprised to line up alongside a familiar face in goalkeeper and former Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri.

“It was a good experience actually, I have a poster of her on my wall and I didn’t realise I was going to be playing with her,” Jaimee said.

Jaimee came up against fellow Gippsland native Steph Tanti on her WPL debut against Sandringham, a player whose journey to the top she hopes to emulate, and said the jump in standard was instantly noticeable.

“It was a pretty good feeling, but I was a bit nervous at the same time… there was a big difference just in the quality of the play,” Jaimee said.

“You start to get used to it and getting into the game takes the nerves away.”

The occasion brought the best out of Jaimee, resulting in her selection for the WPL team of the week, an honour bestowed upon her a total of five times throughout the season.

Normally an attacking midfielder or striker, Jaimee was shifted into the backline for the NTC and has since made a home at right back, where her aggressive instincts can still be expressed.

“On the right you get to go up more, I’ve always wanted to go up further in the field but it hasn’t happened yet, but on the right you get pushed up,” she said.

Jaimee’s impressive pedigree includes Victoria Country representation and captaincy of the under 14 Victorian team at youth nationals, where she was twice named in the All-Star team, and four years in Football Federation Victoria’s state development program.

Another highlight on Jaimee’s calendar was playing the curtain raiser for the Melbourne Victory versus Newcastle Jets fixture this season, defeating Western Australia 17-1.

Her constant travel comes at a cost, however, with half her life spent on the field and the other in the car, taking a physical and mental toll.

The teenager, who professed her love of soccer stems partly from being unable to “do anything with my hands”, doesn’t mind the grind if it means reaching her dreams, and vowed to commit to “more practice, more dedication” to catch the eye of selectors.

With a new season just around the corner, 2014 could be a breakout year for the up-and-coming Gippsland star.