Milan Hammond, 15, set for busy year of representative soccer | photos

HER dad is an American-born former NBA basketball star, and although she has chosen a different sporting path it turns out the old man's advice for his young soccer striker daughter has been spot on.

Milan Hammond, 15, of Cooranbong, has a busy year ahead of touring with representative soccer teams.

And she's glad to have her father, Alphonse Hammond, in her corner.

Hammond averaged more than 20 points a game for the Wollongong Hawks in the NBL in the late 1980s.

The sports are very different in many respects; but the principles of scoring, letting the ball do the work, and finding time and space to shoot apply to both.

"I also talk a lot about keeping your head cool," Hammond said.

Milan said she appreciated her dad's support and tips.

"I don't ever feel pressured, and he makes me feel relaxed," Milan said.

"He teaches me to be confident about my skills, but never cocky."

Milan's skills have been recognised with her recent selection in three representative teams that will see her spending a lot of time on the road.

She's been chosen to represent Australia at the Arafura Games, in Darwin, from April 26 to May 4; she'll represent Northern NSW at the FFA National Youth Champinships in Coffs Harbour in July; and in October she'll compete at the National Indigenous Championships in Nowra.

Milan plays her club football with the Newcastle Jets and is co-captain of the girls 15s team.

She enjoys a challenge, so has welcomed the opportunities to train with the Jets boys 15s team, too.

She also plays up a grade with the girls in the 17s, and occasionally even with the 20s.

Hammond said it was all part of the drive his daughter feels to constantly improve.

"Milan is right footed, but four years ago she could hardly use her left foot," he said.

"Then she just said 'No more!'."

She set about developing some power and control in her left boot.

"And now she's blasting them in with her left," he said.

Last year, Milan starred for an open-age Newcastle All Stars team which finished third at the National Indigenous Football Championships in Brisbane.

She scored 10 goals in eight games and was subsequently selected in the Australian Indigenous team.

Milan hopes to one day play for the Australian national women's team.

The path to selection for the Matildas may well be through the W-League. But maybe not.

"I'd also like to get a scholarship to play in America," she said.

"Those girls move the ball incredibly quickly."

Milan is a year 10 student at Morisset High School.

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