U15 State team player Miranda Templeman wasn’t sure if she had done enough to earn a successive Goalkeeper of the Championships award at the recent Westfield National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour.
But those with an eye for her flourishing talent had no doubt.
Templeman, who plays for Rockingham City in the PS4 NPLWA U13 competition, received the award for a second consecutive year after her performance helped the WA U15 team finish second at the national championships.
She claimed the award in 2016 when she played at the tournament for the first time, with only 12 months of goalkeeping experience under her belt.
Yet after turning heads with her display last year, the 14-year-old standout had concerns of her own, including the pressures of maintaining a high level of play.
“There were expectations for the tournament,” she said.
“But I felt relieved when they called my name out. My coaches and teammates helped me a lot.”
Miranda Templeman with her Goalkeeper of the Championships award.
Templeman’s father, Nic, said his daughter was set on winning the award again this year, but was concerned about playing with a team a year above her age group.
“There’s a lot of talent,” he said.
“You’ve only got a certain number of games that you can play in the championship.
“If your team is winning and dominating possession, as a goalkeeper you’re not going to get much chance to do anything, so you’ve only got limited opportunities and you have to do right when you do get those opportunities.”
Nic said his daughter’s passion and work ethic culminated from a routine she practiced every day.
“It’s always about football!” he said.
Nic is also grateful for the support that her goalkeeping coach, Dave Whalley, has given her over the last two years.
“What he’s been able to help her achieve is nothing short of extraordinary,” he said.
An injury scare two weeks prior to the tournament nearly crushed Templeman’s chances in competing at Coffs Harbour altogether.
“She dived to save the ball, and hit the goal post,” Nic explained.
“She ended up opening her chin and we had to take her to hospital. They diagnosed her with a moderate concussion.”
After getting the clearance to play, Templeman had the chance to demonstrate her skills once again.
And so she did, earning high praise from U15 team Assistant Coach Natasha Rigby.
“Miranda is incredible,” said Rigby, who also plays for Perth Glory in the Westfield W-League.
“I have never met someone her age, who is as determined as she is.
“She’s a great little player.”
Rigby said Miranda possessed talent beyond her years and showed flashes of potential greatness, which was surprising for a girl of her age.
“Her performance was flawless,” she said.
“Her composure on the ball is incredible and her reactions are well beyond what she should be capable of.”
Rigby said Templeman spoke to national goalkeeper coaches Tony Franken and Dean May after every game to get their immediate feedback on her performances.
“They’d break it down, analyse it, and then she’d move on from there,” she said.
“Every mistake she’d make, she never made again.”
For Templeman and other prospects alike, participating in this tournament represented an opportunity to catapult themselves to national programs, such as the Young Matildas squad.
“It’s all about development and talent identification for the girls,” Rigby said.
Football West were runners up behind clear national winners Football NSW Metro in the competition’s U15 group, while Queensland finished strong and took home the title in a highly contested U14 Group A category.
WA’s U14 side played in Group B and trailed third behind rivals NSW Country and eventual winners, Capital Football.
Templeman is now participating in the U17 National Training Centre squad competing in the NTC Challenge at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra this week.