Wise head on young shoulders

SALE United Football Club’s star captain has been working hard in-season and studying hard off-season.

Seventeen-year-old Ashley Ross, said achievements in life came from focusing on the positive, being respectful and family support.

In an exclusive interview with Gippsland Times, Ross showed off his soccer skills and shared his views of the world.

“I think life can treat you well if you stay positive,” Ross said.

“While, I love soccer, I want to look at the bigger picture, that is why I want to study hard to go to university, plus it keeps mom happy,” he said with a cheeky smile.

Behind the cheek and laughter, Ashley seems to be a well behaved and thoughtful young man.

“I try to work hard, but still need to make sure I have time for my friends and family,” he said.

“Friends and family are really important, otherwise there is no point in succeeding if you don’t have anyone to share it with.

“I’m lucky my brothers, sister and parents come and support me on the weekends. It’s great and I really appreciate it.”

Sale’s star soccer player, who led his team to its first grand final win in 33 years, says AFL is the choice of sport in Australia.

“It’s no secret that AFL is more popular, but neither of my parents are Australian, so they encouraged me to play soccer,” Ross said.

“And all the girls around here seem to be interested in AFL players, which is fine, I can cope with that,” he said.

Ross also remembers his parents’ divorce, but says it did not affect his relationship with either of them.

“I’d just started prep, I think, when dad started to move out, it was good though, as he didn’t move far, so I still saw him,” he said.

“My dad has been really involved with my soccer and we spend a lot of time going to training and games.

“Mom is more focused on my studies, she supports my sport, but study is more important for her,” he said.

“So this whole week I have been sitting practice exams. Now we have three weeks to go over the areas that we need to focus on.”

While studies are taking his time right now Ross secretly wants to pursue soccer full-time.

“Although, uni is important I want to take a year off before it starts to really focus on soccer to see how far I can go with it,” he said.

“I know that I will have to leave Sale, but a big part of me doesn’t want to leave.

“The team has come a long way, it was difficult for some of the older players to have a 17-year-old telling them what to do, at the start, but now we have become like a little family.

“All the boys respect and listen to me and since I have the coaches backing me up, it makes life a lot easier.

“For now I need to focus on the studies and get that done, and then I will have a whole year to figure out soccer,” he said.