MANY youngsters across the world want to grow up to become football stars, but for two local girls that's a very real possibility.
Muswellbrook's Eve Howard and Denman's Caoimhe Bray participated in the NSW PSSA Girls Football Championships in Lismore last month, representing the Polding side.
The competition took place over three days and the squad played seven matches, facing up against the likes of CIS (Combined Independent Schools), MacKillop and North Sydney who made up the top three.
Despite the side finishing ninth, both girls performed admirably with Eve even making the overall NSW team due to her strong showings in centre-back.
She will now represent them at the School Sport Australia Championships in Canberra from August 25 to 30.
In that tournament she will be competing against the best from state and territories throughout the nation, but she doesn't want to stop there.
"My goal is for our NSW team to win at Nationals, but in the future I would like to make it into the Matildas," she said.
Even though the side didn't have the strongest carnival, she said it was still a great experience.
"The opposition was hard but out team improved every game we played and I enjoyed playing and meeting new people," Eve said.
Since taking up football at the age of eight, the rising star has been on a steep trajectory that saw her play two seasons with the Muswellbrook Eagles, a stint with the Hunter Valley Hawks and is now in her second year with the Emerging Jets under-12 side.
Caoimhe is even more fresh to the scene, having not participated at the competition before due to being too young.
At just nine, she was selected as goalkeeper for the Polding side and revealed the confidence she gained throughout the games, especially playing with her friend.
"I found our first match against Mackillop challenging however I'm pleased with how many goals I saved," she revealed.
"I was lucky to have Eve as a defender because I can pass to her with confidence."
The grade four student, who also spent two years with the Muswellbrook Eagles before moving straight to the Emerging Jets under-11s, said the Polding team improved greatly as time passed in the tournament.
Much like Eve, she intends to take her game to another level and wants to be like her idol - Australian sporting icon Ellyse Perry, and represent the country in both football and cricket.
The girls are set for bright futures in the sport, and will take a lot of encouragement from their recent performances at a higher level.