M'Boro teen selected to play futsal in Italy
IMAGINE getting a letter telling you that you have been selected to go overseas for your chosen sport... without having known that you were trying out in the first place.
That is what happened to Maryborough teenager Elley Haines.
The 14-year-old has been chosen to go to Italy for futsal on a massive tour.
"I was so surprised," she said. "I've never been on a plane before, it's exciting and scary."
Being selected for the team makes Elley one of the best futsal players for her age group in the country.
She will be competing in the under 16s category.
With a team of about 20 players, she will go on a 16-day tour playing teams from around the world.
"We will start in Pescara, and finish in Rome," Elley said.
As players from across Australia have been chosen for the tour, they won't get to practice together until they are already in Italy.
They will be coached by some of the world's top coaches.
Elley's mum will be going with her on the journey.
"We have been looking at Italy on the map, and learning a bit about the country," Elley said.
Elley was spotted for her skill during a major futsal competition.
"You didn't know you were being selected until later," she said.
She plays mainly the goalie position.
"I love the rush you get when you stop the ball and help your team," she said.
"It's the best."
Elley started playing futsal at the start of last year, and the game has already taken her across Queensland.
"Before, I used to play touch football but got injured from that and thought this would be a good alternative sport," she said.
"I practice weekly, and practice against players older and better than me."
Elley says playing against tougher opponents is one of the reasons why she got to her level so quickly.
The Aldridge State High School student also has a strong involvement in horse sports, and hopes to incorporate horses into her future career.