Two Gunnedah schoolgirls are preparing for the trip of their lives when they tour England and France early next year.
Gunnedah South Public School pupils Jaydah (12) and Jahli (10) Budden Talbott have been selected in the Wanderers Australia Junior Football Tour.
Selection came on the back of star performances at the NSW State Championships in Nelson Bay last month. The sister duo made a strong impression on the talent scouts who offered them positions on the January 2024 tour.
The Wanderers tour will be led by former Matildas and A-League players as well as premiership-winning National Premier League coaches.
The girls’ mum, Natasha, said word of their selection arrived via a letter through the school. The formal invitation to join the “international touring squad” was a dream come true for the Gunnedah schoolgirls.
“They couldn’t believe it, they were full of smiles,” Natasha said.
The Gunnedah mum said it will be the girls’ first trip overseas where they will play 6-7 games against school and club academy teams in the UK.
“It is not something every kid gets to do, play soccer and see the world,” she said. “It will be a great opportunity.”
The girls have played weekend competition soccer with Gunnedah’s mixed and girls playing teams since they were small.
Jahli normally plays as a striker and midfielder while older sister, Jayda, who also plays representative touch football, plays defence.
At school the girls are coached by Rebecca Pepper and assisted by team manager Eddie McGuirk. Mr McGuirk was full of praise for the dynamic duo.
“Their game awareness is brilliant,” he said. “They can find space and are quick on the ball.”
Mr McGuirk recalled a great performance from the girls in a match for the North West PSSA competition – the game ended in a penalty shoot-out and a striking resemblance to their World Cup heroes, the Matildas.
The Gunnedah South teacher said the sisters exhibit great family values on the field, encouraging each other to achieve their best. He said the school was “very proud” of their achievements and wished them well playing on the international stage.To order photos from this page click here