Jenna?s chance for a well-earned break
REPTON'S Jenna Tristram, 17, made plenty of sacrifices on her way to Australian under-19 women's soccer selection last year, now she is keen to catch up on lost time.
Many tough hours away from home at training sessions and playing representative matches meant Jenna missed out on the fun of her teenage years.
Jenna was only 11 when her soccer talents were first recognised as a Holiday Coast representative player, the first step on a road which would eventually lead to playing in Australian colours.
At 13 she was playing for Northern NSW, a level she continued to play until last year.
Jenna was only 15 when she started playing for Northern NSW in the National Women's League an indication of how much she had developed her skills over a relatively short period.
After the national championships in 2003, Jenna showed she had reached the pinnacle of women's soccer with selection in the under-19 squad for the World Cup.
Jenna was able to survive an agonising and nerve-wracking series of squad cuts before could celebrate inclusion in the final team for Canada last year.
"My long-term goal was to make the under-19 World Cup, I would have been devastated if I had missed out," Jenna said.
"It was hard for me because I lived in the country and had no-one to train with for things like gym sessions."
A long term dream would be later shattered by a lack of game time during the World Cup .
This is still a cause for frustration for this talented youngster as she had limited chances to show her skills on the world stage.
"I started in the first game but I don't know what happened after that ? when I look back I suppose I can be grateful I had some match time but it was a big disappointment," Jenna said.
Of course, no player can reach the top without help along the way and Jenna fully appreciates the time her coaches devoted to helping her develop her career. Jenna can remember honing her skills as a Year 6 primary student in weekly sessions with Rob Harbour and also owes a big thank-you to Holiday Coast director of coaching Bruce Wallace and Sawtell men's coach Ian Glover for their help over the years.
"Working on the simple things when I was young and getting them right made all the difference when I was older," Jenna said.
Jenna also owes a lot to her parents especially the trips to training in Newcastle when she was in Years 7 and 9.
"I have been really lucky to have been given so much support from my family, it has meant heaps to me over many years," she said.
So what's on the agenda this year without a heavy schedule of representative commitments ?
Jenna will add the finishing touches to her HSCstudies which she commenced last year and she is keen to have a social life spending more time with her friends.
She will also pursue one of her favourite leisure activities, surfing, and intends to catch up on lost time with her boyfriend Beau.
As far as her soccer goes, Jenna has ruled out a future with Australia's senior women's team, the Matildas, as she is keen to attend university and pursue a teaching career.
That means one of the best young female soccer players and most lethal strikers in Australia will be running around ensuring Sawtell Scorpions are a force in the local women's Premier League competition.
"I don't mind sacrificing my soccer for a teaching career and while it would be great to play for Australia again, it doesn't offer me a long-term future," she said.