Bethlehem College Ashfield student Audrey McLaren (pictured right, above) has enjoyed the trip of a lifetime to Italy with her Sydney soccer club APIA Leichhardt.

“It was very amazing seeing all the landmarks and food,” the Year 11 student said.

“We went to Rome, and then we went to Florence and Pisa and it was all very interesting. It was obviously very different to Australia.”

“Eventually, hopefully, the dream is make A-League (Women’s)” – Audrey McLaren

The Viareggio Cup

APIA Leichhardt was invited to play in the prestigious Viareggio Cup youth tournament, which featured giant clubs such as Juventus, Inter and AC Milan.

“All the girls in the 18’s team got invited to go as a squad,” Audrey explained.

“We started training immediately before the tournament. It wasn’t much preparation because holidays had hit, so we only had six to four weeks to actually prepare.”

Despite the limited preparation, APIA won one of its three Women’s Cup soccer games: a stunning 4-3 result against Livorno.

Sidelined by injury

Unfortunately an injury limited Audrey’s time on the field during the tournament, but she got to experience the different styles of play during the warm-up matches.

“Europeans play very strategically, so it’s different to any soccer we’ve really played against and they were really fast,” the midfielder said.

“Even when we played a trial match against a US team, they were all athletes, they were all really great athletes and it was pretty interesting seeing their type of game as well” – Audrey

Audrey, who has also played for Canberra United Academy and Canberra Olympic, hopes to represent Bethlehem College on the field.

“Hopefully next season I’ll make the reserves (at APIA) and… making first grade time and then eventually, hopefully, the dream is make A-League (Women’s) as well.”