A chance to walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest football players has inspired Ballandean football player Danika Newman to new heights.
The under-15s futsal player took off to Rio de Janeiro last month before travelling to Teresopolis to the official Training Centre of Brazilian Football to experience the same environment as players like Neymar, Ronaldo, Robinho, Ronaldinho and Kaka.
Danika’s father Neil Newman said his daughter’s team clicked from the opening game and came away with a 3-3 draw from their first game. “She scored her first goal under Australian colours during that game,” he said.
“Training was intense during this time as the girls had to learn several playing rotations that they could use during the games.”
Danika and her team then moved on to Belo Horizonte where they trained at the Mackenzie Esporte Clube and spent two days with professional futsal coaches. As a result of the four games played as part of the tournament Danika placed second.
“To have finished second was a great effort considering we had never played together before going to Brazil,” she said.
As well as competing Danika went to a professional football game and did some sightseeing which included Christ on the Hill and Copacabana Beach. “I really enjoyed my trip and I have had a wonderful experience and observed another culture not only in its people but in a football sense,” she said.