Alex Chidiac knew at just 14 she wanted to make football her career and is now grateful for her "surreal" chance to prove herself after being selected for the Matildas 2017 Tournament of Nations squad in the US.
Chidiac’s CV includes a W-League championship with Melbourne City, three caps for the Matildas and has enjoyed time back home with Adelaide United and NPL club Adelaide City.
The 18-year-old admits many tried to discourage her from putting her eggs in one basket at 14, but felt she needed to commit in order to make it as a professional.
She now feels her hard work with the Mini Matildas and Young Matildas has paid off and she has matured as a result.
“Quite a few people thought it was a mistake (a career in football) so I left school at that age (14) and went into online schooling so I could train more during the day and focus on my development,” Chidiac told FourFourTwo.
“Obviously also going to Melbourne City, so leaving my school behind just so I can develop further. I pretty much decided when I was 14 or 15 that I wanted to pretty much give mainly everything to try and chase this dream.
“Quite a few people were telling me I need a back-up plan and all that, I understand that but you only get a small window of opportunity to do this.
“I’ve also been told by quite a few people to just chase and go for it, so that’s what I’m doing.”
Chidiac has currently devoted the majority of her time to furthering her football career but is studying a Cert 3 in business online.
The teenager however said her parents were extremely supportive with whichever path she chose to undertake.
She also dreams of playing in England, Spain or Italy in the near future.
“It doesn’t really bother me what other people think, I’m doing this for myself, my family and the people that are close to me,” she said.
“I listen to them more than teachers, who don’t understand exactly what I’m going through. It doesn’t bother me too much but of course it drives me to prove them wrong in a way.”
She also said being a female footballer meant she could not commit to a second job, a problem she sees across the W-League.
“It’s hard to get a second job because you can’t tell your employer exactly when you’re going to be available," she said.
“Your club training can change.I know during W-League, sometimes it would change a lot and a lot of girls struggled with that and sometimes you’re too tired for work after a training session.”
Chidiac does not count her Matildas debut in 2015 as she “didn’t touch the ball” as a substitute. She was then the second youngest player in the in the 2017 Algarve Cup in Portugal where she played two more games.
She joins inexperienced Princess Ibini-isei who is uncapped and 17-year-old Olympian Ellie Carpenter.
Australia play the US, Japan and Brazil in the upcoming tournament and Chidiac felt it was a good chance to test themselves against top 10 ranked nations.
“We want to be a top three nation and then we want to be No.1 as well,” she said.
“We have to start beating No.1 teams to achieve that goal, so this should be a good test for us to see where we’re at.
“It’s still amazing, I always wanted this but it’s one thing wanting it, but another thing to actually make it happen. I feel very lucky to be in this position.
“Staj (coach Alen Stajcic) wouldn’t bring all the players he’s bringing if he didn’t see them playing some sort of part in this tournament. I’m going to basically prepare that I could be getting some game time. Anything can happen like injuries or sicknesses so I have to be prepared.”