Laura loving German football experience
FORMER Grafton girl Laura Phillips started her football career as an under-8 Westlawn Tiger and the sport has taken her across the world - first to New Zealand and then to Europe.
The 18-year-old has just finished her first professional season of football with SV Bardenbach, based in Saarland, Germany.
"Bardenbach was one of the smallest clubs in the league competing against some of the well-known giants such as Bayern Munich and Frankfurt, but now play in the regionalliga in Germany," she said.
She had toured Germany in 2011 when she was 16, which inspired her to pursue football as a career.
"That was when I really developed my passion for the sport and began to set higher goals for myself," she said.
"After returning from the tour ... I trialled and was given a football scholarship to St Peter's Cambridge, New Zealand."
In Europe Miss Phillips took up residency in the Frauen 2nd Bundesliga competition.
"This is the second professional league in Germany," she said.
Apart from the very defensive style of play, she said one of the biggest surprises was training on a field covered in snow.
"Trust me no matter how many pairs of socks you wear there's no feeling your feet," she said.
"Also I'd have to say playing alongside national players, we had two girls that play in there national Polish team that I was in awe of, as well as one from Luxembourg and internationals from America and other European countries."
"Most exciting was the food that was always brought with us everywhere, like cakes, fruit, meat, and bread - the works.
"I fell in love with the culture and quality of life that is Germany, the fact that football is like a religion over there that I've never experienced any-where else.
An injury during a tour of Germany meant Miss Phillips had to take time off from the game.
"Obviously this was a huge disappointment for me as I had an opportunity to take a scholarship to Canada beginning August this year," she said.
"Now I'm just sticking with physio and working slowly back into the game.
"I hope to be at 100% by mid-October where I'm trialling for the NPL national premiere league in Australia which I will maybe play in next season.