Anya Gross and Caitlin McGoldrick say turning dreams into goals is the best way to get where you want to be.

That's exactly what the two 17-year-olds did.

Now the Pompallier Catholic College students will be heading to the United States of America next year on major scholarships.

Miss Gross has been awarded $191,000 over four years on an athletic and academic scholarship to King University in Bristol, Tennessee where she will play football while studying sport and exercise science.


Miss McGoldrick has been awarded about $20,000 to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles.

"I only got where I wanted to be when I started thinking about it as reality, not as a dream," said Miss McGoldrick.

For Miss Gross, thing began to happen "When I stopped seeing it as a dream that might or might not come true and started putting things in place and steps to get there, it can be possible".

Miss Gross moved to New Zealand from South Africa when she was 5, and joined a football club after watching kids at Kensington Park.

"There was no real incentive for me joining in the beginning, I think what drove my passion from a young age was I had to work to get where I wanted to get rather than having my parents pushing me."

In April last year the attacking midfielder, who plays for the Northern Football Federation Women's Team, attended a football camp in Spain.

She was told by the Valencia FC Club that she had a good shot at a future in football and America was the best place to be. She was also told a professional contract would be the next step.

She joined a recruitment agency which created her player profile and sent it to coaches at different universities.

King University responded and said it was impressed with her technical ability and skill.

"Being a small town girl from Whangarei I didn't expect anything that big,"

"America is a really good place for women's football and is ahead of the time," she said.

Meanwhile, Miss McGoldrick had planned to study medicine but when she attended a two week course at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts this year she realised she'd fallen in love with drama and the environment.

"It was so different from New Zealand. New Zealand is so nice and quiet and slow and these people were so fast and they're doing something every second of every day and I loved that."

Other students on the course had acting experience but Miss McGoldrick had only done drama in school.

"I figured if I start at the bottom I can only go up," she said.

Miss McGoldrick flew to Sydney in October to audition.

When she found out she'd been accepted and received scholarships she said it was "two lots of really good news"

She will be studying a Diploma in Acting which is two years. If she is re-accepted for a second year the scholarships also cover that year.

Both students will fly out in August next year.