TWO years ago she narrowly missed making the Riverina team.
But Wagga City Wanderers goalkeeping talent Samantha Emms used the setback as motivation and has now been recognised as a potential star of the future.
The 14-year-old was one of a handful of youngsters selected to attend a talent identification camp with Football Federation Australia head of goalkeeping Tony Franken in Canberra at the end of this month.
Emms travels from Harden and back up to four times a week during the season and her resilience has been rewarded after her performances for NSW Country at July's national championships in Coffs Harbour caught the eye of those who count.
Emms said being dumped from the Riverina team only made her work harder.
"It was rough," she said.
"I made the Riverina team one year and went to nationals, then got cut from that Riverina team. It did hurt a bit, but I knew I had to be persistent.
"At home (Harden) there's a local dad (Craig Phillis) and we trained every Wednesday morning and afternoon.
"I built myself up and got fitter, improved my technique and the next year I made it back (into Riverina team).
"Once I got my fitness up it was easier to pick up the technique. I did put a bit of pressure on myself (to impress at nationals) knowing there's limited chances."
Football Wagga development officer and former goalkeeper Liam Dedini has overseen Emms' progress for around 18 months. He said Emms had devoted plenty of hours to improving her fundamentals outside shot-stopping.
"For Sam to be told two years ago she wasn't quite good enough for Riverina, then to work really hard and get into that environment is awesome," he said.
"She had a really good nationals tournament, she was proactive and really confident.
"We kept working on her distribution which she was struggling with and playing a high line.
"Goalkeepers in this day and age are basically an extra defender, you have to play a high line and stop through balls and be able to play with your feet."
Dedini said the development camp is another chance for Emms to press her claims to take the next step.
"If she can impress at this camp she's a chance for the junior Matildas and things like that in the next few years, but she'll have to keep improving," he said.