The international soccer star who learned craft in Gympie
FOOTBALL: He is arguably one of the region's best athletic exports, playing at the elite level of his sport.
Just as talented on the running track as on the football field, Jimmy Downey proved coming from a regional town was no limitation to achieving your dreams.
And now that his football career is over, the Wolvi-born speedster is settling down to a life of travel and business opportunities.
Based in Spain, Downey told The Gympie Times he does not regret any of his career, which had him play for both Perth Glory and the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League as well as stints in Europe before a severe knee injury derailed his plans of making it in the world's best league.
"I actually had an offer to sign with the Brisbane Roar under Ange Postecoglou but turned it down to pursue my dream of playing in Europe," Downey said.
While not being directly involved in the game any more, the Lions and Columbia junior said it was the skills and attributes he developed in Gympie, that allowed him to mix it with the game's elite.
"When I was 14 years old I played for the Miners in the Sunshine Coast competition.
"Playing in a men's competition at such a young age definitely helped my transition into representative and then professional football."
He counts Gympie football identities Jeff, Steve and Ricky Manthey as having a huge influence on his career and says the facilities that were provided to him by Trevor Kirk and Pam Tindall gave him every chance to succeed. He has not ruled out returning to the game eventually, however for now the plan is to keep travelling.