There is nothing in life goalkeeper Maxi Shanahan enjoys more than a challenge.
When he takes to the field with the Deaf Football Australia squad, it will be his biggest challenge to date.
The 17-year-old has been selected to play with the team at the 2019 Asia-Pacific Deaf Games in November - a key tournament that is essentially the qualifying event for the 2021 Deaflympics.
He has been hearing impaired from a young age, but he hasn't let that stop him from pursuing his ultimate passion, playing soccer.
"Being deaf is just another part of my life - it can be challenging with school, everyday life and when I play soccer," Shanahan said.
"But now, I really don't notice it as it has made me who I am."
Shanahan has been playing soccer for majority of his life, first taking to the field as a junior, before progressing to the BASL and has now been with Bendigo City FC for the past five years.
The selection process for the DFA 2019 squad involved multiple try out sessions in Sydney, alongside the country's best deaf players.
"I really didn't know what to expect at the trials - but I knew I was in for a challenge," Shanahan said.
"I just went into the unknown and my plan was to just see what would come out of it."
Shanahan will be the youngest goalkeeper to ever compete with the team, a position on the field where he truly excels.
"When I'm keeping I never think about the pressure - I just get on with the job," he said.
His teammates are a mixture of ages, with Shanahan eager to learn from some of the veteran players.
"They're an inclusive bunch of boys and welcomed me with open arms straight away," he said.
But there is one key challenge for the entire team, funding.
DFA doesn't receive the key funding it needs from the government or FFA, with the organisation dependent on players being able to self-fund their way to tournaments.
DFA secretary Brian Seymour said the Australian squad would be up against powerhouse teams which had significantly more funding.
"We're the Aussie battlers," Seymour said.
The team will go head-to-head with big name teams such as South Korea, Japan and Iran - all of which Seymour said received plenty of funding.
"Most of the players try to find the money themselves and all of the officials realised that we all wouldn't be able to go - so all the coaches and medical staff, who are volunteers, have decided to pay their own way."
Seymour said there was a GoFundMe page where people were able to contribute.
"This year we have a really good chance at doing well, we're taking the best team we've ever had.
"But in the end everyone will be paying for themselves.
"The government helps fund the normal Olympics and the Pararoos, but no assistance for deaf players."
In addition to Shanahan playing with Bendigo FC, he is also an assistant coach for the under-13 squad.
"The transition from player to coach has been very rewarding," Shanahan said.
"They're a great bunch of boys to coach and I love having the opportunity to pass along my experience to the the younger boys."
Looking forward, Shanahan wants to pursue soccer as a career and move on to bigger and better things, but also remain a part of his beloved Bendigo City FC.
Shanahan's journey to the national squad has come with plenty of assistance over the years from several people who he has credited as being integral to his progression.
"A big thank you to Simon Horne, Aaron Vissers, Peter Lodewijks, Marcus Dawson, Ben Langan and everyone down at Bendigo FC," he said.
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