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A will to succeed

Wednesday, 7th March, 2012

STATE HOPEFUL: St Joes’ Ethan Smith has moved to Adelaide to further his skills with the Football Federation of South Australia. STATE HOPEFUL: St Joes’ Ethan Smith has moved to Adelaide to further his skills with the Football Federation of South Australia.

By Darrin Manuel

The road to a professional soccer career is a long and challenging one, but St Joes junior Ethan Smith has shown he’s prepared to make big sacrifices to get to the top.

The 14-year-old recently farewelled his friends and family and moved to Adelaide to make the most of his position in the Football Federation of South Australia Under 14 Development Squad.

Ethan consolidated his spot in the squad after a long and competitive selection process which began when he was chosen for the country team in the FFSA State Talent Identification Championships.

From there he was selected for the Northern Metropolitan Zone team for phase two of the FFSA’s talent identification process, travelling to Adelaide weekly for four months to train and play.

“Mum and Dad were driving me down twice a week to train and play, and it was pretty difficult,” he said.

“I’m just lucky that they were good enough to take me. If they didn’t make that commitment I wouldn’t be able to be where I am now.”

The FFSA squad was culled and Ethan made the grade to continue on in the program. Howeve,r he was now required to train in Adelaide three times a week 

He relocated temporarily to Adelaide in December then after surviving a further cull decided to make the move permanent.

Although he said it was difficult to move away from his parents, family and friends at such a young age, the lure of playing for the State team was too great.

“It’s good, I’m really enjoying it a lot and it’s what I always wanted to do,” he said.

“I’m training probably four or five times a week now which is intense, but it’s alright. You also have to try and fit school work in there but I’m getting it all done.”

Along with his FFSA training Ethan has also been playing in the West Torrens Birkalla Under 15 team in the Junior Premier League.

His performance in both training and games will determine whether he makes the SA State team which will be announced at the end of the month.

While a place in the State team would be a great honour, Ethan said he was taking a measured approach to the selection process.

“I’m confident but there’s a lot of other good players who play the same position as me, left centre back,” he said.

“And if I don’t make this team then it’s not the end of the world, I’ll still stick with it.

“If I don’t keep going here I might miss another oppotunity. It’s been a big commitment and I can’t just back out if I don’t get in.”

Off the pitch Ethan said he had adjusted well to life in the city, living with his aunty and making new friends at Underdale High School.

“They have a specialist football program at Underdale and all my mates are in that,” he said.

“It’s been pretty easy to make friends there. It’s been really good.”

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