The toast of Crookwell
Emily Smith is the toast of Crookwell after becoming the Hockeyroos' youngest squad member for the London Olympics. Photo: Crookwell Gazette
It's a giant leap from the grass fields at Crookwell to the Olympic hockey stadium, but Emily Smith says she is ready for the biggest challenge of her life when the Games begin in London in July.
At 19, Smith is the youngest member of the Hockeyroos squad which will attempt to win an Olympic medal for the first time since 2000.
Her teammates joke she still hasn't grown into her uniform.
But just two years after playing on grass fields while at Crookwell High School, Smith will be thrust on to the international stage as one of the Hockeyroos' strikers.
''It's pretty hard to believe. Two years ago I never thought I would be here and now I've just got to play well and hopefully score a few goals,'' Smith said.
''I'm extremely nervous and now that everyone in Crookwell will be watching, even more so.
''The girls get into me that I only look 12 years old on the television and that my skirt is 10 sizes too big for me.
''I was jumping up and down in the loungeroom and I shed a few tears of joy when I found out. It's an amazing feeling.''
Smith flew back to Perth last night to join her teammates as they begin final preparations for the Olympics.
Despite a rapid rise through the ranks and with 30 international caps to her name, Smith still thought she was a long shot to make the final Olympic cut.
Smith celebrated with 50 family and friends all dressed in green and gold on Tuesday night.
''People came from all around to celebrate, I think we had half of the street at our place and it was pretty packed out,'' Smith said.
But the teenager usually stays away from the spotlight.
The rising star is the toast of Crookwell with news of her selection spreading through the town.
But when she saw a sign in a cafe window which said, ''Woohoo, Emily is going to London'', Smith turned around to try to sneak under the radar before returning to Perth.
Smith is still coming to terms with her hockey journey.
When she finished school she moved to Perth to train with the national team, but she was still playing on grass fields rather than the perfect synthetic she'll be running onto in London.
''At the end of 2011 I got to play some practice matches with the girls and it all came out of nowhere,'' Smith said.
''I've been playing on the grass fields at Crookwell since I was five years old and I was still playing on grass when I first went to Perth.
''It's a pretty big step to go from no training at all to being out there six days a week.
''When I saw the sign I thought I wanted to do a quiet exit … it is pretty bizarre with all the attention. Everyone is sending me flowers and chocolates and wishing me luck, it makes it all exciting.''