The Football Mid North Coast (FMNC) hub launched at Gladstone this year has already started to pay dividends, with local juniors receiving high quality coaching and as a result, earning prestigious representative honours.
Four locals Kirsten Morn, Isabel Jordon, Ella Saul and Marney Duval were picked for the Mid North Coast Kanga Cup training squad.
Ella and Marney progressed into the final squad and will travel to Canberra to play in a week-long tournament in July.
Macleay Valley FMNC Under-12s coach Martin Uhrig is proud of the development of the girls and especially Ella's perseverance in the face of adversity.
"One month ago, Ella wasn't even in consideration to make the Kanga squad short list. But she trained hard for a month, did extras at home, and even welcomed a change in position," Uhrig said.
"Ella has moved into the defence, has found her strength in her ability to defend, improved her footwork and has gone from the basement to the penthouse.
"The selectors have finally noticed Marney, who plays in the midfield. She missed out last year but has worked hard to transition from a rough diamond to a diamond."
Uhrig has high praise for Ella, 11, and Marney, 12.
"Ella is the perfect back, she jockeys players until she sees her chance and gains possession of the ball. She then turns defence into attack. At the moment, she is a wide back but she is learning the centre back position, where she has to control the team and backline," he said.
"Marney's strengths are her ability to read the play and to position herself accordingly. She is very good at winning the ball from the opposition, implementing the game plan and controlling the play. She is also the highest goal scorer for the Macleay Valley rep side and she scored a few in the Kanga Cup trial match as well."
While the Gladstone Hub is still in its early days, Uhrig has laid out plans for the future to help the local talent get on the maps of football scouts.
"I plan to start putting more Macleay female players in front of the selectors over the next couple of years," Uhrig said.
"We have a wealth of young female players with strong natural ability."
The Macleay Valley program has an Under-12s and an invitation Under-10/11s side, which Uhrig coaches with the assistance of Georgia Creswick, who is currently completing her HSC.
Uhrig is hopeful the Gladstone Hub will have at least two female squads from next season, with the most enthusiastic and talented players from the Macleay participating.
"Players can still play at club level, which is a great bonus," Uhrig said.
"Training is at Gladstone, which makes it easier for parents to commit to getting their child to training each week."
Players that are interested for this year and next, born between 2008 and 2010 can contact Martin on 0432 071 093 for more information.
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