‘Everything’. That is the response you will get if you ask teenager and soccer star Asha McClurg what she loves about the sport.
It is this excitement and passion for the game which has seen the dedicated 17-year-old again make the School Sport WA team.
Asha will represent the state in the girls under 18 side at the national competition in Shepparton from August 24 to August 31.
Last year, Asha was selected for the All-Australian team from the competition.
Unfortunately, it was a name squad, but this year an international tour is planned and the Year 11 student has set her eyes on the prize.
Asha is already busy with her role in the Bunbury-based South West Phoenix Firebirds team, which plays in the Football West State League Division 1.
Her commitment to the Firebirds already means she travels to Bunbury twice a week and Perth on alternate weekends.
As part of the state team, she travels to Perth for training on Saturdays and during the week for scratch matches to prepare.
The St Mary MacKillop College student, who is doing six ATAR subjects, admitted it was a bit crazy.
“I do get a bit worn out, but it is all worth it,” she said.
“I love playing, soccer has done so much for me, I’ve made so many friends, and just cannot imagine life without it.”
Asha said playing in the metropolitan competition had extended her skills.
“Playing in the Perth competition exposes you to different strengths and challenges and that’s what I’m looking for,” she said.
She said she loved the fact soccer was a team sport, and also a contact sport.
“I love the team aspect, as much as it can be infuriating and frustrating it can also be so rewarding playing among friends and like-minded people with the same values as you,” she said.
“I think sport is a good platform for building friendships.
“I love being challenged, I love that it is not a non-contact sport because I do enjoy a bit of push and shove.
“I’m not one for backing away, I’m a big fan of my slide tackles and getting a bit dirty.”
As for future aspirations, Asha said she was the same as any athlete and just wanted to take her sport as far as realistically possible.
“I’m not sure how far that is for me, I’d love to play for the Matildas one day but I’m not sure that is necessarily a realistic goal,” she said.
“For me, maybe it is getting in to the Perth Glory women’s team or playing for WA.
“I think just being able to play the best soccer possible is the ultimate goal and wherever that takes me, I’ll be happy with that.”