FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016

13 November - 1 December

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2016

From Amazonas to Jordan: Micaelly's epic journey

© Getty Images

No-one reaches a World Cup without putting in the hours and putting in the miles. Some journeys, though, are longer and more arduous than others, and Micaelly - Brazil's match-winning playmaker - is an inspiring example to anyone chasing an improbable dream.

Growing up in a small, underprivileged town in the poorest, most remote part of the country, there could not have been a less likely candidate to one day wear Brazil's hallowed No10 shirt. There weren't even any girls interested in playing with her, far less a female team she could join. Nonetheless, Micaelly's love for the game - and the support of her family - made light work of such a seemingly significant obstacle.

"My mum and dad both used to play football, so I learned kicking the ball around with them," she told FIFA.com. "Later, I trained with my uncle, who ran a football school. The school was just for boys really - I was the only girl - but I learned so much, and I think that environment helped me become the player I am."

Yet even when her talent became apparent to her family and the local boys she tormented, there were still more barriers, each more seemingly insurmountable than the last. The most obvious was logistical, with Micaelly's home town of Autazes tuckd away deep in the vast, tropical state of Amazonas. "Even just to get to Manaus (the state's capital city), it takes me two-and-a-half hours by car and by boat," she explained. "That's what I need to do these days to play for the women's team there."

And that is simply the undertaking required to play club football. Brazil's national teams, after all, train not in Manaus, but in Rio de Janeiro - another 4000km and four-and-a-half hours away by plane. It was no wonder that Micaelly, while thrilled to be called upon by her country, began to wonder whether all this travel, all this loneliness, was a price worth paying.

It's still not easy being very far from my family, but this is very important to me - it's my dream.

"The worst part was being away from my family," she recalled. "I missed them so much. When I was first called by the national team, that was the first time I had ever been away from them. And it was so tough that when I was called for a second and third time, I didn't go. But then they called me a fourth time, and I said yes. I did that to follow my dream and now, of course, I'm very glad I did.

"It's still not easy being very far from my family, but this is very important to me - it's my dream. And now that I'm at a World Cup, wearing this shirt, playing with my friends, I can see how worthwhile it has been."

And Micaelly is not merely playing - she is starring. It was her brilliant chip that brought Brazil victory in a tough opening fixture against African champions Nigeria, and she hopes that the tone has been set.

"I believe this was just the first step for us," she said. "Our coach has told us that, if we train well, we can do anything at this tournament. I feel the same. We are here, so let's try to make it to the final and win this trophy for the first time."

With Brazil having never been in the title running before, thas is a lofty goal. But if anyone knows the value in putting aside expectations and logic in the pursuit of a dream, it is this remarkable teenager.

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