By GREG WHITE
WHEN Jenna Tristram took the call from the Coffs Coast Advocate she confessed to being 'blown away' the crew back home were still interested in her climb up the football ladder.
This is the girl who spent five years on a fortnightly merry-go-round trip to Newcastle for training with the Northern New South Wales soccer program.
The same one who played as a youngster in the men's competition as a means towards testing her limits of endurance.
"Having moved to Newcastle full time allows me to do solid training on my fitness," Tristram said.
And, she now has a glaring indication how much work still needs doing.
On December 1, Tristram came off the bench for the Young Matildas against the Chinese senior team and was stunned how physically demanding the experience became.
"The Chinese are very strong, very athletic," she said.
"They get in your face and you need the conditioning as well as the confidence to match them."
Making sacrifices for her sport is nothing new for Tristram or her family.
"Without mum and dad helping out it would have been impossible," Tristram said.
"Over the next year their support will be twice as important."
With her Higher School Certificate completed, Tristram will chase part-time work that already includes coaching camps for young up and comers, the same kind of kids she once sat among.
Tonight Tristram plays with the Young Matildas (Under 20's) in the first of two matches against New Zealand as part of a five-day camp and then there are two trips to Asia in the wind.
"The first is next month for the Youth World Cup qualifiers," Tristram said.
"Once that's done we return in April for more matches.
"In between is the physical conditioning program."
Next stop is the World Youth Cup in Russia, but after that?
"Anything can happen," Tristram said.
"The big prize that every player dreams of is the Beijing Olympics but first I must crack a spot in the senior Matildas' squad."
n THE Young Matildas will play two matches against New Zealand in Canberra this week as the team continues preparations for next month's Asian qualifying tournament in Singapore.
The squad is:
Goalkeepers ? Lydia Williams (ACT), Alison Logue (NNSW), Kate Stewart (QLD).
Defenders ? Clare Polkinghorne (QLD), Kim Carroll (QLD), Nicole Somi (ACT), Danielle Brogan (NSW), Grace Gill (ACT), Olivia Kennedy (NSW).
Midfielders ? Sally Shipard (NSW), Kylie Ledbrook (NSW), Collette McCallum (WA), Amy Jackson (VIC), Servet Uzunlar (NSW), Renee Cartwright (NSW), Caitlin Cooper (NSW), Elizabeth Kermode (NNSW), Briony Holcombe (NSW), Alannah Reed (QLD), Vicki Balomenos (SA).
Forwards ? Jenna Tristram (NNSW), Sasha McDonnell (QLD), Leena Khamis (NSW).