Soccer stars in the making and Benalla siblings Natalie and Josh Grima have been rewarded for their hard work on and off the pitch.
FCJ College student Natalie, 14, and brother Josh, 12, who attended St Joseph’s Primary School, each received $500 from the Benalla Young Sportspersons Trust to further their game.
According to the siblings, the money will help out with next year’s club fees at Murray United, along with equipment such as boots and soccer balls for them to train with.
Natalie and Josh are both in their sixth year of playing soccer, having started their careers at local side Benalla Rovers Football Club, where they played for three years.
But they wanted a bigger challenge and made the move north to Murray United in 2014, where the home turf is in Wodonga.
Both play in the backline of their respective teams and relish the chance to play against tougher opposition than was on offer locally.
‘‘It’s a high level to be playing at, and there are some really good coaches there. That’s why I like it,’’ Natalie said.
‘‘You get to play against teams from Melbourne and Shepparton, and we play in Wodonga so there’s a lot of travel,’’ Josh said.
They play games on Saturday or Sunday depending on their opposition, as well as training twice a week in Wodonga.
‘‘Balancing soccer and training with sleeping and eating can be a bit tough sometimes,’’ Josh said.
‘‘We don’t get back from training until 9.30pm sometimes.’’
Natalie and Josh play a sport most days of the week, but still make time for socialising and schoolwork.
‘‘On my days off I’ll just do homework and stuff like that, because there isn’t much time when I’m not doing sport,’’ Natalie said.
Along with soccer, the siblings also compete locally with Little Aths, have umpired for local footy games, play tennis, and take up backyard cricket with the family in summer.
Natalie and Josh are keen to continue playing soccer and one day want to play for the Socceroos and Matildas.
■If you know someone who is eligible for funding from Benalla Young Sportspersons Trust, email firstname.lastname@example.org