Off to play in the big leagues
SOCCER: Keely Hooper dreams of some day representing Australia on the Matildas squad, and hopes her next move will help her reach it.
Hooper moves to Brisbane at the end of the month to join the Under-18 Eastern Suburbs Football Club’s National Premier League team.
The 16-year-old from Central Football Club has been in Gladstone 15 years and said it was a bit scary to be leaving.
“I guess you’ve got to look forward to something that will be pretty changing for yourself, especially being pretty young,” Hooper said.
She expects to learn a lot to take her game to the next level.
“Being NPL, those coaches have a lot to do with the Brisbane Roar women’s,” she said.
“I’m sure we’ll learn the ropes along the way.”
Those connections may help her achieve her dreams.
“The ultimate goal is to play for the Brisbane Roar. And hopefully the Matildas in a few years,” she said.
Hooper is usually an attacker but said she could play anywhere on the field.
“At the moment I’m playing midfield, but in Gladstone I always played attack,” she said.
As one of the young players in the team, Hooper said she’d look up to the 18-year-olds and watch how they play.
“I’ll just be trying my best and showing the coach what I can and can’t do,” she said.
Excited for the opportunity, Hooper will need to juggle school, part-time work and training four nights a week.
“I don’t think it will be a challenge to juggle school and soccer,” she said.
“I might struggle with balancing all my homework and assignments, but it’s all time management.
“If it means having to go into the libraries at lunch to do homework, I guess I’ll have to smash that out, maybe work in the afternoon and go to training that night.”