Queenstown 17-year-old Georgia Brown has the football world at her feet.
This weekend she trials for the New Zealand under-20 team in Auckland.
Next year she takes up a soccer scholarship at Philadelphia’s Temple University, which plays in America’s top college division.
Brown was introduced to the sport at Arrowtown School, playing lunchtime soccer with the boys, and made a Central Otago under-12 boys’ team.
Her secondary schooling has been at Dunedin’s St Hilda’s Collegiate.
Last month she captained St Hilda’s to ninth place in the NZ women’s secondary schools football tournament in Taupo – its best ever result – and was named the team’s ‘most valuable player’.
Brown has also represented Otago and Southern rep teams – she’ll again play national league soccer for Otago next month – and also plays for Dunedin’s Roslyn-Wakari side which has just won a record fourth club title in a row.
Last year she was named ‘most valuable player’ at a South Island under-17 tournament.
Brown, who plays on the right wing, likes the sport because “it’s competitive, with a bit of contact”.
Her dad Derek has won NZ skiing and yachting honours, but Georgia hasn’t followed in his footsteps: “I don’t like cold and I don’t like the water.”
Brown credits former Footballsouth development manager Terry Phelan – a former English Premier League player and Irish international – for jacking up her US scholarship.
“He says the option is you go over there, play uni soccer and then you get to play professional league either in America or Europe – I’d like to do that.”
That’s more of an aspiration than playing for NZ, Brown admits.
“[NZ Football] has let me down quite a few times, and South Island players don’t really stand a chance – you have to move to Auckland.”