She may only be 19, but Tanunda’s Sophie Collings will represent the country for the second time in hockey next year.
Sophie made the under 21 Australia team after returning from Shepparton, Victoria, where she played in the state country team.
Selectors who had watched the competition then chose Sophie and their final 18 people to make the Australian team.
Sophie, who was also selected to be part of the leadership team, will head to Malaysia in January next year for the tournament.
Over 13 days the Australian team will play against the Malaysian teams.
“It’s pretty exciting. The leadership group will be good this year and more challenging for me compared to just playing last year,” said Sophie.
“I’m also excited because this time it’s a whole different group of people compared to last year. We only have about five that are in the team again.
That means a whole bunch of new people to meet and make new friends!”
This is Sophie’s second time representing Australia, after also making the under 21’s Australian team last year.
She went to Fiji for the tournament and played against two Fiji teams.
However, in previous years other countries would come together to play in the tournaments.
“I’m excited to go somewhere different this time and it’s pretty good to be picked for the second year in a row,” said Sophie.
Sophie has been playing since she was just seven years old, and her whole family has been heavily involved in the sport for years.
Living in the Barossa for her whole life, Sophie started playing hockey here.
However going to school in Gawler meant she started playing for the school competition.
“I play down here in the Barossa still and am now making my way into Adelaide. But I try to play here as much as I can,” she said.
“I love hockey because I just have so much fun when I play. Playing in the Barossa is a chance to be serious and have fun, but down in town it’s a bit more serious.”
With the hockey season finishing here in two weeks, Sophie is taking it upon herself to keep fit with running and training before the tournament in January.
From there, Sophie is hoping to sneak in one more chance in the under 21 Australian team, as she turns 21 in December next year.
“The only other option is seniors, but that’s very hard to get into. But I hope I can go one more time after this,” said Sophie.