Crookwell youngster Lilly Skelly was recently presented with double representative honours following some outstanding performances in soccer and cross country.
The Year Six student was the only one from Crookwell Public School whose performances in the regional cross country competitions earned her a berth at the state cross country competition, which was announced by CPS on June 14.
The event will take place on July 26 at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Shortly afterwards, Lilly's performances as part of the Southern Tablelands Football Association Under 12s side caught the eye of the Southern NSW selectors, and she will represent the side at the State Championships in October.
In an email to the Gazette, STFA Under 12s assistant coach, Lindsay Cosgrove, said that she is "one of the best players" in the team.
"I believe, given a chance, she could go a long way in the game," Cosgrove said.
Lilly's success shows how far she has come from the three-year-old who had her first kick of a soccer ball at a Crookwell Junior Gala Day nearly 10 years ago. Lilly's mother, Liddy Skelly, described her daughter in an email as "very passionate" about the game.
"Lillian trains hard with all her coaches and at home in the backyard," Mrs Skelly said.
"She has put a lot of time and effort into her skills and is always willing to learn new skills in her game."
Along with running and soccer, Lilly also plays touch football, tennis, and dabbles in rugby league.
Her proficiency across various sports is pleasing for her family, but not unusual in Crookwell. Many children in town play and excel at multiple sports, but to reach the heights that Lilly has in two sporting disciplines simultaneously is rare in any local region.
This year marks the first time that Lilly has made it to the state championships for cross country, and she has made it to regionals for three years running.
Similarly, her soccer exploits have long drawn praise from her coaches. She won the team Best and Fairest award in 2015 and 2018, received the coach's award in 2017, and represented the PSSA South Coast soccer team in 2018, after having represented CPS in the PSSA Knockout for two years running.
With all of her talent, Lilly could no doubt excel at any sport she chose. However, her passion lies with soccer, and Mrs Skelly said that she "one day hopes to play for the Matildas."
"Her favourite soccer players are Samantha Kerr, Alex Morgan, and Cristiano Ronaldo."
With her sheer love of the game combined with a "strong left foot", according to her mother, it remains to be seen how far Lilly can go in the competitive world of representative soccer.