When growing up in the north of England it's inevitable to develop a life-long passion for soccer.
Bendigo Amateur Soccer League's technical director Louise McColl's earliest memory of the sport is being dressed in a Liverpool FC kit, kicking the ball around with her friends on the streets of Warrington.
Now decades later and after relocating to Bendigo, McColl's passion for soccer has been recognised by the Football Federation Australia.
McColl was named as Community Female Coach of the Year for her involvement in the BASL.
"When I found out that I would receive the award it was a bit of a shock," McColl laughed.
"I really didn't realise how big the recognition was until the award ceremony in Sydney."
McColl and an array of other women involved in the Australian soccer community were recognised for their contributions to the sport at FFA's Female Football Week awards.
McColl's role as BASL's technical director involves working with all of the clubs in the central Victorian league.
"I look after the development of both players and coaches," McColl said.
" I visit the clubs and put on tailored workshops and skills clinics, and also look after the development of junior players."
"There is a lot of work done behind the scenes where I help coaches increase their confidence."
In addition to helping develop those around her, she is currently working towards being accredited with an FFA A-Licence.
Ultimately, McColl's aim is to use the power of soccer to develop players into "better people", on and off the field.
"It's about the league offering something for everyone," McColl said.
"Children can be involved and just play socially with their friends but we also offer a more competitive program.
"Not everyone is going to make a living out of playing football - but if they can all grow up to be better people- that would be fantastic."
From the three-year-old dressed in a Liverpool FC kit to one of Bendigo's leading soccer identities, McColl knows it's much more than just a game.
"It's a way of meeting new people," McColl said.
"It's played everywhere in the world - and you don't need to speak the same language as the people you are competing against - the round ball is an international language on its own."
The BASL league encompasses several teams from throughout central Victoria.
The league's teams have been conducting pre-season training sessions, with round one only weeks away.
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