Moving up the ranks

November 15, 2017

Benalla's Natalie Grima is looking forward to next season after a soccer trip to Singapore and Malaysia saw her side go undefeated.

Natalie Grima’s star is rising quickly, and the 14-year-old does not appear to be slowing down.

Grima returned to Australia on Sunday night after a highly successful 10-day soccer trip to Malaysia and Singapore.

Grima was selected to represent Australia as part of a promising youth program, which gives young talent the chance to represent their club and country overseas.

The team went undefeated in a one-day tournament in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, before heading to Singapore for a three-day tournament in which the side also won every match.

As a defender by trade, Grima was most pleased with her side only conceding once in four days of play.

‘‘We were undefeated in both, which was great. And we only let in one goal across the two tournaments,’’ she said.

Currently in pre-season mode, Grima is looking forward to beginning the next season with her new Melbourne-based club.

‘‘Because we’re in pre-season now it’s all fitness training really,’’ she said.

Grima said she was thankful for all the work Murray United had done with her, helping make her into a top player.

‘‘I’ve been at Murray United for the past three years, and on the recommendation of a coach I’m heading to Calder United at Keilor Park (in Melbourne’s north-west),’’ she said.

Grima will be playing in the under-19 Calder United squad — a club that was created in 2015 predominantly as a Women’s National Premier League club, giving Grima as much exposure to top flight football as possible.

‘‘I was playing in my own age group at Murray United, so next year I’ll be able to play up in the under-19s which I’m really looking forward to.

‘‘It’s about a two-hour drive to trainings and games from Benalla, so I’m not really looking forward to that,’’ she said with a laugh.

Grima also watches W-League professional soccer to learn as much as possible from the pros.

‘‘I really like Melbourne City at the moment, and their striker Jess Fishlock is pretty awesome,’’ she said.

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