by Mitchell Craig
TO be a goalkeeper in soccer, you have to be confident and show no fear.
And 12-year-old Savannah Boller agrees.
The Byron Bay player has just been selected in the Northern NSW under-13 girls squad that will contest the Football Federation Australia National Junior Championships in April.
And after a four-year stint playing rugby union in Sydney, Savannah is confident she has what it takes to be a goalkeeper at representative level.
"Playing rugby has helped because I already had the ball handling skills when I started playing soccer," Savannah said.
"I'm in my second season now and it's pretty exciting.
"I have to go to Newcastle for training, so it is a big commitment.
"I enjoy soccer in general and I'm confident enough to play keeper."
Savannah is the only player in her team from Football Far North Coast (FFNC).
"I met everyone at the trial and I've already made some friends, so it doesn't really faze me," she said.
FFNC general manager Steve Mackney isn't surprised by Savannah's selection.
"My first impressions were that she seemed pretty confident and that proved to be the case," he said.
"She is tall for her age and that is always an advantage.
"She is a good talker and has fantastic hands too."
Savannah follows in the footsteps of FFNC coast players Sophie Thomson and Danielle Creighton who have represented at national and state level in recent years.
Mackney says it's hard to pin-point why the current crop of local goalkeepers has performed so well.
The under-13 Country boys squad has also started training for the junior championships.