Goal to be best

HONOURED: Eliza Ammendolia took out the Junior Sportsperson of the Year and Overall Sportsperson of the Year awards on Australia Day. Picture: Wendy Simpkin
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ELIZAAmmendolia has wonthe top sports honourat the annual Griffith City CouncilAustralia Day Awards at Woodside Hall.

Ammendolia claimed the Junior Sportsperson and Overall Sportspersonof the Year gongson the back of her sensational feats in the footballarena.

The award caps off an amazing year for the former West Griffith junior.

Her accoladesfor the year includedbeingnamed under 15 player of the tournament at the national youth championships for girls at Coffs Harbour, whichcatapultedher intotheAustralia under 17 women’s team.

Upon receiving the Junior Sportsperson award, Ammendolia took the time to thank the people who had helped get her to where she is today.

“I’d like to thank my family and all of Griffith.I’m proud to be here today,” Ammendolia said.

A humbleAmmendolianever thought she would take out the awards and held back tears describing what the recognitionmeant to her and women’s football.

“I never expected this. As a female player you don’t really get noticed and to be noticedis a big thing for me,” Ammendolia said.

“The women’s openAustralian team is going to the World Cup in three months or so, andit’s good to get some recognition about that.

“To be a part of that teamthat’s the peak in soccer,it’s definitely the goal you want to work towards. Of course I’m trying to get there.”

The 15-year-old is now based in Sydney, where she attends Hills Sports High and plays for theMacarthur RamsFootballClub.

She credits the move to Sydney as one of the major factors in her ascent inthe footballranks.

“I go to a sports high school in Sydney, and so I go there and train and do school at the same time,” Ammendolia said.

“I never would have beennoticed for the Australian team if Ihadn’tmoved. It’s gone really well.”

Having already been stunned by receiving the Junior Sportsperson award, Ammendolia was lost for words after receiving the top prize at the ceremony.

“This is surreal,” Ammendoliasaid.

“I didn’t think I’d get it.It’s unbelievable.”

Ammendoliabeatout 12 other contendersto claim the Junior Sportsperson award and 21 that were eligible forOverall Sportsperson of the Year.

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