Emily Casella is a woman who lets her feet do most of her talking. And how.
The 24-year-old is the only footballer from WA chosen to represent Australia at the World Games Special Olympics in the United Arab Emirates this year.
The Tuart Hill Junior Soccer Club midfielder, whose hero is Matildas star Sam Kerr, will head to Abu Dhabi with the rest of the squad in March.
“I’m excited to play in the Australian team, I love the sport,” said Emily, who is also an accomplished basketballer.
Emily’s father Anthony agrees football means the world to his daughter.
“It’s her life, she lives and breathes soccer,” he said.
“And it’s really helped with her confidence, especially with people she sees regularly.”
Emily with her father Anthony and carer Kaitlyn Smith
That point is backed up by Emily’s carer of three years Kaitlyn Smith.
“When she gets to know someone, and especially when she is around her team mates, she is a lot more communicative,” Kaitlyn said of Emily, who has autism spectrum disorder.
“Soccer has helped develop her social skills and personality.”
Football West has contributed $500 to support Emily in representing the Australian team and Development Officer Annie Leyland hailed her as an “inspiration”.
“Emily Casella is a dedicated and enthusiastic footballer who has worked hard to get to where she is today,” she said.
“I am sure that Emily will give everything that she has got in the upcoming Special Olympics.
“She is an inspiration to others young female footballers to strive to follow their dreams.”
Football West Development Officer Annie Leyland with Emily
Anybody who would like to donate to Emily can CLICK HERE.
The Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE from March 8-21, 2019, with 7,000 athletes with an intellectual disability from 170 nations competing across 24 sports in front of half a million spectators.
Australia will be represented by 105 athletes who will compete across 11 sports: Athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, sailing, swimming and tennis. They will be supported by 35 volunteer officials.