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Back You are here: Home Sports Soccer Gauteng Soccer: Big Dreams for 14 Year Old Gaby Salgado
Thursday, 03 January 2013 09:42

Soccer: Big Dreams for 14 Year Old Gaby Salgado

Written by  Lauren Duncan

14 year old, Gaby Salgado recently made her debut when she represented the U17 National Football Team in a match against Namibia in the Lucas Radabe Tournament.

 

gs1Gaby started playing football at the tender age of six years old when she joined her first club and joined a team of boys at Robertsham Football Club, south of Johannesburg. She liked to watch her brother play and enjoyed kicking the ball around on the side of the field. Falling in love with the beautiful game only saw her grow from strength to strength.

Gaby adapted and developed very quickly for someone so young and went on to represent her District, Southern Local Focal Association, three times and was the only girl in the team on all three occasions. Playing with boys was a huge advantage for her and for many other girls before her who have followed the same path e.g. Desiree Ellis, Janine Van Wyk and Portia Modise. It toughens the young girls mentally and physically and assists the rapid all round growth in any girl that plays from a young age with boys.

Gaby received Sportswoman of the year in her Grade 7 year at Highveld Primary in The Hill, Gauteng. Gaby is an all round natural athlete and likes to participate in many other sporting codes while always keeping football as her most beloved sport. She excelled in any sport she chose to play and at school, received Full Colours for Cross Country. Gaby was selected to represent her District and Province for Cross Country, Long Jump and 1200m. Gaby also actively played in the boy’s football team at school and was again chosen to represent the School’s District Team.

 

 Having such great talent, Gaby went on to receive private coaching sessions with current Banyana defender, Janine Van Wyk to improve her skills and hopefully go further in the sport.

Through the guidance of her mom, Gaby, who was only 12 at the time, was invited to attend trials at the High Performance Centre (HPC) in Pretoria. HPC is a boarding school for young athletes who are able to focus on their chosen sport on a daily basis, her's being football.

Nervous but at the same time really excited, Gaby enjoyed the Trials under Coach Sheryl Botes, who is also the U20 National Team Coach, and was chosen to stay at HPC.

After making the decision to board at HPC, young but ever-so ambitious Gaby had to adapt to living away from home and come to terms with only seeing her family once a month. This was a very difficult situation in the beginning but she had managed to adapt well and has made many new friends. Her biggest dream is to play for Banyana Banyana. Gaby has been at HPC for two years and is now completing her Grade 9 year. Staying at the HPC has benefited her in the daily football schedule as it includes training on a daily basis as well as living together with her teammates.

Gaby's role model is Banyana Banyana Central Midfielder, Robyn Moodaly, and it has inspired her to know that if Robyn can then she can. Robyn was also at the HPC, played for Bantwana (u17), Basetsane (u20) and Banyana. “Robyn inspires me so much and I love the way she plays football, she has achieved so much at such a young age and it motivates me to push hard” said Gaby.

“I also want to be a successful footballer and one day represent my country by playing in the Senior National Team”

Gaby still has a bright future ahead of her, and making the U17 National Team is only the first step. At 14 years, Gaby is one of the the youngest players to have represented South Africa in any National Team. She has also received a call up to the U20 National Team but is still yet to make her Debut.

Gaby has an exciting footballing life ahead of her and is pushing hard to be one of the top players in the country when she is older. Her goals include making her debut for the U20 National Team, The Senior National Team (Banyana Banyana), and wants to pursue her football career overseas once she has finished her schooling.

When asked what advice She has for young girls who would also like to take up the sport, or for girls who dream to be where she is, Gaby said passionately “ They must never think that they are not good enough; they must work hard and be dedicated to achieve their goals”

 

She has very big boots to fill but with such dedication and determination and good family support she will definitely give it her best shot.