Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Krystelle makes her mark

Young footballer Krystelle Lloyd is enjoying playing the sport while battling with an intellectual disability.

ERIN LYONS August 11, 2014 3:46am

Krystelle Lloyd

Echuca girls footballer Krystelle Lloyd is certainly making her mark in the women’s youth league.

The 17-year old Echuca Specialist School student has an intellectual disability which can often interfere with her social life.

Krystelle’s mother, Margi Smith, said she was proud of how far her daughter had come in regard to her football skills and social life.

‘‘She copes really well and gets on really well with all the girls,’’ she said.

‘‘The social aspect is hard for her, but she has come such a long way.’’

Krystelle has autism and Irlen syndrome, which can often be associated with impaired social interaction and difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication.

Irlen syndrome is also a condition related to visual stress, which is created by the interaction between the central nervous system and the eyes.

Margi said for a long time Krystelle struggled with her social skills and it was a while before she was confident enough to join a structured club.

‘‘She was offered to play in Moama but wouldn’t do it at the time,’’ Margi said.

‘‘Eventually Dave (Pearson, Echuca youth girls coach) rang her up and asked her if she wanted to play footy in Echuca and she said yeah.’’

Regardless of her condition, Krystelle is a keen sportswoman who is eager to have a go.

Margi said her daughter had been involved in many sporting activities since a young age.

‘‘She started off by playing Auskick when she was quite young and she loved it,’’ she said.

‘‘After that she played for her primary school team.’’

Margi said the youth girls teams often struggled for numbers and it was important to let other girls know that it was out there.

‘‘We often have to lend players to the other teams,’’ she said.

‘‘We are slowly getting more girls but we need to promote it more.’

‘‘Unfortunately we lose a lot of girls next year because they are too old, including Krystelle.’’

Krystelle will celebrate her 18th birthday at the end of the month, which means she can no longer compete in the youth girls football league next season.

‘‘She hopes to play for Bendigo Thunder in the women’s league next season,’’ Margi said.

‘‘That’s her goal.’’

Krystelle is a keen St Kilda supporter but above anything else she appreciates the sportsmanship and ability of players.

‘‘My favourite players are Shane Crawford, Fraser Gehrig, Gary Ablett and Dane Swan,’’ Krystelle said.

While she also plays netball and is a member of the all abilities basketball team, she enjoys playing football the most.

‘‘I like kicking and tackling and lots of other things,’’ Krystelle said.

‘‘I like the rough sport.’’

Margi said her daughter wished to try out for the Vic Youth Girls Academy program.

The high performance program will start next year and tryouts begin in September.

The Echuca youth girls football team trains on Wednesday evenings at Victoria Park and play on the weekends against Kyabram, Shepparton and Mooroopna.

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