Globetrotter Melanie Symons has her eyes fixed on the United Kingdom this year after returning from a competitive Futsal tour of Brazil with the national under 15s team where the team secured an incredible second place.
After being selected for the Australian team in Sydney in January 2013, Mel was later selected among 12 fellow players to contest the National Futsal Championships held in Belo Horizonte last year.
From a fill-in position in the national finals, to an international voyage, Mel and her sister Reanna packed their bags, landing in Rio de Janeiro in November last year.
Misplaced luggage made for a rocky start to the trip, with the girls caught up in a fast-paced trip full of cultural difference.
“We crashed a 16 year-old’s party,” Mel said.
“She came over and asked if we wanted to go to her party, so we did.”
Splitting the adventure between sight-seeing and competition, the girls came away with a bus-load of stories from visits to the Cristo Redenator (Christ the Redeemer) in Rio to VIP lounges at the Marracanna Football Stadium, set to host the 2014 World Cup.
Beginning with a warm-up game in Teresópolis, Mel said it was a challenge learning to play alongside girls she had only met on the tour, but said her team quickly pulled together with the result showing in the leader-board.
“We passed halfway,” Mel said, quick to play down the team’s achievement winning four out of seven games.
With 33 hours of miss-directed flights and a one-time stint travelling across Argentina without visas after landing at the wrong airport, Mel and Reanna completed a full trip around the world, stopping over in Dubai and Singapore on the way home.
Now setting her sights on the UK in October, Mel said she is looking forward to contesting the regional Futsal competition to be held around Easter in Brisbane.
“She’s competing for NSW then, so she’s wearing the right colours,” Mel’s mum Tracey said.
Wrapping up the adventure, Mel said it was an excellent experience, offering perspective on life outside of Australia and said she is very keen to get travelling again.
After performing on the global scale, Mel sent her sincere thanks to the local clubs and organisations who supported her and to Reanna for leading local support in the international competition.