Caitlin Greiser is steadily climbing the ladder to soccer stardom.
The 18-year-old from Caroline Springs is coming off a mammoth 12 months that has included winning club awards, training with W-League club Melbourne City, and travelling to the US to play in front of college scouts.
The result is Greiser will be packing her bags for Miami in January to embark on a full athletic scholarship to Barry University, while still setting her sights on W-League contracts and national representation ambitions. It’s a long way from playing futsal at her local centre.
“They told me to go try outdoor instead of indoor, they must have thought I had some sort of skill,” Greiser said.
After starting at Green Gully Soccer Club, she moved to George Cross for two seasons before making the move to current club South Melbourne. Each new club was seen as a stepping stone to push her talent.
“I wanted to open up my opportunities to go play a higher level, so each club stood out for that at the time,” she said.
“When I first came to South Melbourne I was in the under 16s, and the coach asked me to train with the reserves and seniors. That year I played more senior games than reserves so they gave me plenty of opportunities.”
The striker has already made her mark at the club, scoring eight goals in a game last season to set a club record. It also put her on the radar for a trip to the US earlier this year, which set her career on a new path.
“My coach, Socrates [Nicolaidis], took 18 or 19 girls over and we played two tournaments,” Greiser said.
“We won every game in the first tournament but lost every one in the second one, but the improvement was enormous. Then I got contacted by eight different colleges and two offered me scholarships.
“So I’ll be there [Miami] for four years, and coming back in the breaks to hopefully play here. I want to play in the W-League one day, so this will help with that, hopefully.”
Greiser trained with Melbourne City at times last year, getting the chance to meet stars such as Tim Cahill.
The long-term dream is to make it as a striker for the Matildas.
Greiser is the May nominee of the Don Deeble Rising Star award.
The award, hosted by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and
Star Weekly, recognises young athletes from the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at state and/or national levels.
Greiser will receive $1000, donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, and other prizes, to help her in achieving her sports goals.