Blue Mountains football star Isabelle Preston secures a spot with the Football NSW Institute

LOVE OF THE GAME: 13 year-old Isabella Preston is working her way up in the football world. Picture: Alanna Tomazin.
LOVE OF THE GAME: 13 year-old Isabella Preston is working her way up in the football world. Picture: Alanna Tomazin.

At the ripe age of 13, Isabella Preston has the world at her feet, or in this case, a football.

The Blackheath student has proved her finesse on the field after securing a spot with the Football NSW (FNSW) Institute squad in NPL 1.

Her interest in the world game sparked when she was nine after watching her brother play and she joined Blackheath FC and played in the Lithgow District Football Association competition for three years.

At 11 years-old, Preston's father Russell, made the decision to take her further down the mountain to Nepean FC for a chance to develop her skills.

"I trialled for the U12s team and dad met the head coaches and president of the club and they told him to let me have a go at trying for the U14s team," Preston said.

She was selected and was playing two years above her age group and has also played at multiple representative levels including the Lithgow District team, state titles, state futsal and NSW Country Championships.

It's an impressive start to the up and coming football star's career and now she's putting in the hard yards with the FNSW Elite Academy to prove why she deserves to be there.

"I started preseason with them but now we're on a break for Christmas so I'm doing my own training and keeping my fitness up and doing ball work to get my feet moving faster," she said.

Preston's selection with the state team came from videoed trial games at the home of FNSW in Valentine Sports Park.

"We were versing the U13s Institute team and some other teams but I was picked based off my performance in those games," she said.

She said now she has been selected, her plan is to stay consistent with her football.

"That's normally a tough thing to do, I just want to be consistent throughout my playing and prove that I want to be there and that I deserve to be there," she said.

She said the NPL 1 competition will be tough, coming up against women twice her age.

"We'll be coming up against the best players around the state and we're quite a young team playing against U16 girls and everything, so we have to work harder," she said.

Preston said she was looking forward to travelling around Western Sydney, Wollongong and Manly for matches and meeting new people.

"It's honestly very exciting, it's like a fresh start and I get to develop my skills and learn new things and meet new people and new coaches which can teach me different things," she said.

She encouraged other young girls who enjoy football to consider going to the next level.

"Just enjoy it, and if you really want it then go for it, it takes a lot of hard work but you get back what you put in and you've just got to keep going and going," she said.

She said her ultimate goal would be to play for Australia and in the women's premier league in England. Preston also wanted to thank her dad for taking her to and from training and games.