Shayd shows up boys
YOU underestimate Shayd Turner-Watson at your peril.
The Ballina soccer player is close to a berth in a competition featuring some of the state's most talented schoolchildren.
For now, though, the 11-year-old is concentrating on impressing in the mixed Football FNC competition for her Ballina Seahorses side.
She is one of two girls on her team and said she enjoys showing the boys a thing or two.
"I really dislike it when I hear (things like) girls can't play soccer," she said.
"I love playing against the boys. Every time I walk on the pitch I think some of them do assume that I cannot play as well as them because I'm a girl.
"I like seeing their reactions when I score a goal or do a good tackle.
"I like proving people wrong."
Shayd, of Ballina's Emmanuel Anglican College, has been playing soccer for about four years.
The Year 6 student is following in the footsteps of mum Emma Turner, a handy player currently with Tintenbar-East Ballina women's side.
Shayd plays two years up for the Seahorses' grade 13.
She usually features in midfield and enjoys being in the thick of the action.
"You can be playing in defence or in attack," she said. "You can get the ball from anywhere.
"I like how the ball can come to you at any time."
Shayd recently earned a place as a shadow player for the Combined Independent Schools squad for the forthcoming New South Wales PSSA Football Championships in Newcastle.
After impressing at trials at Armidale, she shone again at a subsequent training event in Sydney.
"There were so many good players down there," she said. "I couldn't believe it when they called my name out."
Dad Bob Watson said he was delighted with Shayd's progress on the soccer pitch.
"I think soccer's good for Shayd," he said. "It gives her good social skills and keeps her out of trouble.
"It's good to see her and the other girls mixing it with the boys and showing what they can do.
"I'm really proud of her."