Chantelle Symes, of Cronulla, hopes for a case of third time lucky as she aims to make her A-League Women's dream become a reality.
The teenager will board a plane to Brisbane in the coming weeks after being offered a training contract with the Roar. Symes will stay around the club for the 2021/22 season, which kicks off in early December.
The goalkeeper, who played for the Illawarra Stingrays in 2020, is no stranger to Australia's top women's competition. She had similar chances with Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers in recent years, but they didn't lead to her debut.
"I can't wait to be in that environment again. I've been on a train-on twice in the past few years, but it will be good to get up there and have a change of scenery, and be part of a new squad," the 19-year-old said.
"These chances help you develop so much as a keeper. I'm still only 19, but being able to take shots when I was 15 from the likes of Chloe Logarzo and Caitlin Foord at Sydney FC were things that I will never forget, and I feel like those opportunities that you get from training with the older and more experienced are what you cherish. It just makes you develop as a goalkeeper and a player.
"I've had a few conversations with Brody Sams, who is the goalkeeper coach up there, so I'm excited to get up there and meet him. I think he will be a great mentor. But I'm also excited to meet Georgina Worth, who is an incredible goalkeeper, and all of the other girls as well."
Symes has been part of the University of Wollongong's Tottenham Hotspur Global Football Program for the past two years. The five-year player program offers a suite of scholarships specifically for Illawarra students, who receive training from FA and UEFA-qualified coaches. The initiative also aims to provide a pathway to the game's top men's and women's leagues.
"It's the environment that I think every kid who wants to be a professional athlete should get into. You get training every single morning, the gym sessions, getting professional coaches. It's a really good set up and the facilities are amazing," Symes said.
"It would mean the world to me (to play in A-League Women's), it's something that I've wanted ever since I could kick a ball. It's just been a lifelong dream and if I was to finally make my debut and get on the park, it would just make everything that I've worked for worth it. Every early morning session, every sacrifice, it would be incredible."
If I was to finally make my debut and get on the park, it would just make everything that I've worked for worth it.- Chantelle Symes