THREE years ago, dual international Ellyse Perry told Hannah Southwell she just had to keep working hard if she wanted to achieve her multi-sport dream.
Southwell was a guest at a Matildas training session and met Perry, who was at the time in the Australian soccer and cricket squads.
The then 12-year-old Southwell was coming off a year in which she made Hunter athletics, basketball, cricket, soccer, softball and touch primary school sides.
But like Perry, Southwell was focused on cricket and soccer, although she was also a representative basketballer.
Southwell said Perry, who has recently been dropped from the national soccer team, had been an inspiration since their meeting in 2011.
‘‘I had one training session with them after nationals and I got to meet Ellyse, Sally Shipard and all the other girls,’’ Southwell said.
‘‘She just said you’ve got to keep working hard at both sports and hopefully get there one day.’’
The Cameron Park talent is a small step closer after last week gaining selection in state soccer and cricket squads on the same day.
The year 10 student was told on Thursday that she had gained a place in the NSW Combined High Schools soccer side to compete at NSW All Schools next month as well as the NSW under-18 cricket squad for 2014-15.
The soccer selection was not unexpected for the Emerging Jets under-18 goalkeeper, who made the CHS team last year, but the cricket call-up was a welcome surprise.
‘‘I was in the under 15s last year and I didn’t think I would get into the under 18s this year because I was still 15, so it was a big shock when I found that out,’’ Southwell said.
The fast-bowling all-rounder was part of NSW’s under-15 national title win last December, taking 2-9 and scoring 17 runs as the Blues (9-153) defeated Victoria (83) in the final.
The performance in the decider came after a relatively quiet carnival for Southwell, who was struggling with a shoulder injury.
However, it was enough to give her a place in the under-18 squad, which undergoes a rigorous off-season and pre-season program starting next month.
The final squad to compete at the national championships will be selected in December after the City versus Country series.
In between her time with the Blues, Southwell will continue training with the Emerging Jets under academy director Gary van Egmond and former Matilda Lauren Colthorpe.
The Hunter Sports High School student has been earmarked as a future Newcastle Jets W-League goalkeeper and could come into the squad as soon as next season.
Under W-League regulations, Southwell was too young to join the national league team last campaign.
However, Southwell will be old enough next season and is working hard with the Emerging Jets under 18s, who play first grade in the Herald Women’s Premier League, to be ready for the step up.
In order ‘‘to do an Ellyse Perry’’, Southwell has had to cut out basketball this year.
The Newcastle Hunters representative had hoped to one day play for the Australian Opals but gave up that dream because it was too much trying to squeeze in soccer commitments.