A very special nine-year-old had a day to remember at Wanderers HQ when the team helped grant her wish through the Make-A-Wish Australia.
Monica, from Blacktown, is a huge football fan and plays as a striker for Prospect United.
Her entire family are Wanderers Members and the club makes up her trio of loves which also includes Pokemon and Minecraft. When asked what she would like more than anything she said she wanted to train with the Wanderers.
A talented footballer, her initial day at Wanderers HQ had to be put on hold for nine months as Monica was well enough to participate, but the players, having heard her story, ensured she did not fight the battle alone.
A signed jersey was sent to Monica in hospital and her favourite player, Brendon Santalab, wrote her a very personal hand-written get well card and when she was able to take visitors a number of players began to visit her in hospital and then at her home.
As Monica’s heath improved, Shannon Cole was able to take her to the Sydney Derby where they sat together in the Ambassador’s Lounge and saw a spirited comeback from 3-0 down that almost resulted in a win while recent Wanderers debutant Shayne D’Cunha also tutors her in mathematics.
Then finally, the big day, Tuesday 12 May when Monica’s wish to become a Wanderer came true.
Arriving in a limo with her family, Monica was greeted by Brendon Santalab, Tomi Juric and CEO John Tsatsimas before meeting Tony Popovic, Ian Crook and the rest of the administrative and coaching staff.
It was then time for the best part of the day as Monica was led to the players’ change room to meet the entire team and become a Wanderer herself.
After being personally introduced to her new teammates by captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Monica then received her very-own personalised Wanderers kit complete with signed boots before heading on to the pitch for the game.
Showing her skills, scoring some goals and embarrassing some opponents, Monica left the pitch with a giant smile on her face and transferred that to the players as her post-match questions to the group left them all in stitches.
Monica then had to answer some questions of her own as she was led to the post-match press conference zone to be quizzed on the day’s activities by Shannon Cole.
The day finished by sharing a barbeque with the players and Wandercrew volunteers before Monica and her family headed back home in the limo at dusk.
A perfect day for the newest recruit at Western Sydney Wanderers who is finally been able to once again enjoy playing and watching football, going to school and hanging out with friends and family.