The journey every player must take from their first kick of a football to the international stage is long and fraught with obstacles.


So too, for Veronica Herrera, was the journey from the capital of Venezuela to the heart of Jordan, she and her team-mates having been sorely tested before booking their place at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2016. Put that down to a tough South American qualifying campaign, which opened up another arduous journey – for Herrera's family, who vowed to be at her side come what may.


"After the South American Championship, we started to look into the best way of getting here," her mother, Mary Carmen Souto, told during La Vinotinto's win against Cameroon at the Amman International Stadium. "To begin with we had a little trouble imagining how we were going to do it. We got more information and found a solution, but it wasn't easy. We travelled from Venezuela to Miami, then we stayed there for 24 hours before going from Miami to Istanbul and Istanbul to Amman. All in all, we were flying for 20 hours." No easy task, though she would not have had it any other way. "We were tired, but it was worth it," she added, pointing out her daughter on the pitch. Sitting next to her, all wearing Herrera shirts, the defender's grandfather and aunt both nodded in agreement.


"It's an extra motivation when I see them in the stands," the player herself explained to FIFA Coins for Sale after the match. "Even before the South American Championship, I promised my mother and grandfather that if we qualified for the World Cup, I'd pay for their tickets to join me with the money I'd earn. As promised, that's just what I did." Her aunt then decided to join the adventure, and Herrera's beaming smile as she recounted the episode underlined how much she cherishes bringing joy to her loved ones.

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