From regional rec grounds to Rio de Janeiro
IT MAY have taken her more than 30 hours in transit, multiple stop overs and a heady dose of jet-lag, but Chinchilla's Gabby Hicks has safely landed in Brazil for two weeks of intense training as part of the Australian under 15s futsal team. The talented Honey Bear's midfielder was forced to make an early departure from the 2019 football season as the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity beckoned.
"It's unfortunate I won't be able to see out the season with my team mates but I know this trip to Brazil is going to be something I will remember for the rest of my life,” Hicks said.
At just 15 she's joining a very select team from around the country to train with some of the world's biggest names in the sport.
With Brazil considered to be the most successful nation at World Cup level, having won five of the eight tournaments held, this is no small feat.
"I'm really looking forward to honing my skills and learning from champion players and coaches and travelling around a country that lives and breathes the sport I love,” Hicks said.
The teen has received a great deal of support from the wider Chinchilla community in the lead up to her Latin-American adventure.
"Thanks to the charity movie night, a WDRC grant, and donations from Chinchilla State High School, EnVision Partners and Busy Bee Signs we managed to raise close to $3000 to help pay for the trip,” she said.
"Football Chinchilla and the wider local community as well my friends and family have been amazing. I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped make this tour a reality... It goes to show that regional kids who love their sport don't have to miss out on these opportunities. I hope this encourages more Western Downs kids to chase their passions.”
The businesses and locals who contributed to Gabby's tour of Brazil:
TJ's 1 On 1 Football Training
EnVision Partners Chinchilla
Chinchilla State High School P&C Committee
Keating Bros Hardware
Chinchilla 1 Hour Photos
Club Hotel Chinchilla
Olor & Co.
Western Downs Cinemas Chinchilla
Western Downs Regional Council Grants
Silver 4 Hire
Busy Bee Signs