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Authors: Liz Deep-Jones

Lucy Zeezou's Goal

BOOK: Lucy Zeezou's Goal
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early praise for
Lucy Zeezou's Goal

‘You can't help but love Lucy. She's a character that rings true for anyone aspiring to be a professional footballer. An imaginative and exciting story for everyone with a dream.'

Paolo Maldini, AC Milan and Italian National Football Team

 

‘This is an inspiring story. It's a great mix of football and fashion, so it's appealing to everyone and a must-read.'

Christian Vieri, ACF Fiorentina and Italian National Football Team

 

‘A wonderful story … exciting at every turn of the page and reflective of many girls' aspirations.'

Julie Murray, FIFA Ambassador for Women's Football and former Matilda

 

‘Ideal for all girls chasing their dream, just like its engaging character. A magical mix of football and fashion – captivating and inspirational. This book will encourage more girls to never give up on their goal.
Lucy Zeezou's Goal
is a must-read.'
Tom Sermanni, head coach of the Matildas

 

‘The author of this book is a genius. It's so moving, exciting, inventive and funny. I love the way it includes fashion and football. There's something for everyone in this book.'

Rachel Bard, Random House Book Buddies

 

‘I love this book because it teaches not just girls but boys to just be yourself and stand up for what you love.'

Bridget Holloway, Random House Book Buddies

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian
Copyright Act 1968
), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

Lucy Zeezou's Goal

ePub ISBN 9781742743486
Kindle ISBN 9781742743493

A Random House book
Published by Random House Australia Pty Ltd
Level 3, 100 Pacific Highway, North Sydney NSW 2060
www.randomhouse.com.au

First published by Random House Australia in 2008

Copyright © Liz Deep-Jones 2008

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the
Australian Copyright Act 1968
), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia.

Addresses for companies within the Random House Group can be found at
www.randomhouse.com.au/offices
.

National Library of Australia
Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry

Deep-Jones, Liz.
Lucy Zeezou's goal.

ISBN 978 1 74166 277 1 (pbk.).

823.4

Cover photography by Keith Fung, styled by Liz Deep-Jones
Cover design by Ellie Exarchos

For my beloved parents, David Snr and Jeanette, who
supported me in all of my endeavours, no matter
how crazy, to pursue my dreams.

And for the loves of my life,
Derek, Dylan and Izabella – the dream continues.

The whistle blew … I was taken down inside the box and it didn't look good. A rough tackle from behind sent me flying through the air and crashing down to the ground, right in front of the referee.

I looked up and saw the crowd on their feet, gasping. I shook my head and took a second look, but it really was true: I was playing in front of a packed house on my dream pitch. I couldn't believe my luck as I looked around, trying to take in the electric atmosphere at the famous San Siro stadium. It was really me, Lucy Zeezou, right there on the field. The fans had been chanting and cheering.

And then to add to my excitement a player wearing the same jersey yelled out with concern and raced over to help me. ‘Lucy, Lucy, are you all right?'

‘Um … I've never been better,' I replied with the biggest smile I could muster.

Oh my goodness, it was my hero, retired football legend Zinedine Zidane, famously known as Zizou. I was nicknamed Zeezou after Zidane himself – a nickname I
carried with pride. Zidane was a master of the game. I loved the way he played and dominated the midfield. He was a magician with the ball – just mesmerising.

This was unbelievable! Around eighty thousand football fans in my hometown of Milan, Italy, were watching this game between some of the best male and female players on earth – stars including retired US legend Mia Hamm, Australia's Cheryl Salisbury, Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Kaká, Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham and …
me
! I was in heaven, playing in the same team as all these stars, including my namesake, in a mixed World XI side against Italy's best male and female stars.

The referee awarded our team a penalty, which might be the last kick of the match. To make the situation even more surreal, Zidane said, ‘Lucy, you take this penalty.'

I was dumbstruck. I was surrounded by the world's best and he believed that I could kick the winning goal.

I could feel the pressure mounting. My stomach was churning and my right shooting leg hurt but I was more determined than ever to succeed. I
would
convert this penalty to lift the winner's trophy with my revered team mates and follow the family tradition of my late grandpa, Nonno Dino, and my papa, both football legends in Italy. Nonno Dino was my greatest supporter. He passed away a year ago after a sudden heart attack. He believed in me and knew that one day I would make it. I wished he was here to see me.

I looked up and watched the clock ticking away, a reminder that this was it. It felt as if something great was about to happen. My heart pumped like a pounding drum but I had to stay calm and treat this kick like any other.

The arena fell eerily silent, I took a few deep breaths as the referee blew his whistle and I took my run up to the ball. Make this and I'd be a hero, miss it and I'd be the villain. I wanted to show Papa that I could do it, that I was capable of being a top footballer.

I struck the ball, injecting life into it as it hurtled towards the goal. I followed the ball's path through the air as it climbed – floating, spiralling, and then heading towards the back of the net.

Suddenly my perfect moment was interrupted by the invasive sounds of clicking and shouting. A hand grabbed my shoulder.

‘Lucia? Luuucia … hello?'

I was startled into an upright position, and looked around with great surprise as the football pitch I was playing on had disappeared. Instead, I was facing an old family friend, Enzo Galliano, one of Italy's most sought after photographers. I was sitting on a comfy lounge in his plush photographic studio overlooking the familiar cobblestoned streets of Milan. To make matters worse, I wasn't in my football kit, but dressed up like a Barbie doll, with drops of sweat rolling down my face.

‘Oh, sorry, I must have dozed off,' I mumbled. I desperately wanted to close my eyes again to see if I scored the winning goal, but Enzo was on a mission. Reality sucked!

‘I only went out for about ten minutes to grab a few more lights from my storeroom and I found you asleep on the lounge. It was hard to wake you, but,' he insisted, ‘we must press on with the shoot.'

I still felt drowsy and shook my head in an attempt to bring myself back to the land of the living.

‘You don't look as though you're quite with us. This is no time to sleep, Lucia. You must be fresh and alert. Your make-up needs freshening up, too.'

He called Anastasia, the hair and make-up artist, and she came running in with her kit. ‘Oh, Lucia, you really look zapped. This will make you feel better.' She began gently touching up my make-up. A few more dabs with the powder puff and I was ready to face the camera.

‘Look into the lens and smile … that's it! Now chin up, throw your head back, and I want to see more of that fabulous long blonde hair. That's better! Lovely, Lucia, now you're working the camera,' Enzo encouraged.

Oh, great, lovely! NOT! Click, click, click. I was sick of this posing business. Mama had dragged me to another photoshoot, this time for the cover of an Italian teen magazine called
Dieci
, which means ten. I suppose most girls would love to be on the cover of a magazine, posing for the camera, but this was what Mama wanted, not me. She thought it was in my best interest, the path to a lucrative, exciting career. Sure it was fun being pampered and stuff, but it was too superficial for my liking.

Just because Mama's modelling career didn't work out as she'd hoped, she'd been pushing me to live her dream. She was well known in Australia before I was born – she was on the cover of lots of magazines, featured in commercials and even acted in some films, but she didn't really make it on the international stage.

While chasing a career in Europe she was swept off her feet by my papa at a famous disco in Milan called Hollywood. It was a popular hangout for many of Italy's top footballers, international models and actors. And so Mama fell in love, gave up full-time modelling and married Papa. As the glamorous wife of a famous Italian football star, Mama fitted right in. And these days she was in her element running a successful fashion business called 23, which kept her and Papa extremely busy.

‘Lucia, look this way. Great! Now a little twirl. That's lovely, sweetie,' shouted Enzo.

This was getting more and more frustrating – all I wanted to do was play football, not perform another little twirl … Mama would kill me if she knew I'd been skip ping dance class and casting sessions just to play football. My little trick was to tell our driver to take the rest of the day off so I could do my own thing. The less people knew about my secret, the better.

Luckily, in my neighbourhood, Brera, which is pretty much in the centre of Milan, everything was within walking distance. As soon as school finished, I'd race off to football at the park just up the road, missing my dance lessons at the studio around the corner. Thankfully I lived just five minutes away so it had been a doddle. I'd got away with it for the past year, since my parents banned me from playing football. It was a good thing they were always too busy to attend any dance concerts, or anything else I did for that matter.

I'd tried to tell them I'd rather be out on the pitch kicking the ball and trying to crack one into the back of the net, but they never seemed to hear me. I think they assumed it was a phase I'd grow out of, like a little kid. But I wasn't so little. I was fourteen years old, tall for my age and ready to kick butt. No matter what it took, I was going to find a way to follow my dream. So in order to keep playing football after they banned me, I had no choice but to lead a secret football life.

Enzo brought me back to earth. ‘One more twirl. Perfect! Okay, Lucia, it's a wrap!'

 

My parents named me Lucia Zoffi but my friends called me Lucy because Mama was Australian and Lucy was the Australian version of my name. I preferred being called Lucy, and it was definitely much better than Skippy. That was another thing I battled with my parents about: they absolutely refused to call me Lucy. How would they feel if I just called them Frida and Paolo?

I grew up in Milano, as we say in Italy. Papa was born here, a buzzing city where everyone is obsessed with football
and
fashion. For football fans – which is nearly everyone – the game is more than a national sport … it is a way of life! To the Milanese, the city reigns supreme, thanks to the dominance of its two premier football teams. AC Milan and Inter Milan are fierce rivals. Even
though they share the same stadium, they divide the city with their passionate supporters. Controversial referee decisions can spark arguments between families that last for weeks. The game's a religion.

The style-conscious come here to be enchanted too, as Milan's one of the world's leading fashion capitals alongside Paris, London and New York. The Milanese parade around in impeccable designer outfits, looking as though they've just stepped off the catwalk, even if they're just off to the supermarket. It was easy to see why Mama fell in love with the place. Mama revelled in everything Milan had to offer. It was a far cry from her humble upbringing in Sydney's Kings Cross.

Her dream to make it in Europe kind of came true – and to be fair, she did more than just lunch. She was the face of her own women's wear collection, and the driving force of the company she ran with Papa. He also enjoyed the fashion scene and loved to watch the parades when he got a chance, but for now Mama ran the show. The company was a big part of Papa's retirement plan.

Thanks to their successful business and Papa's status as a god in Italy, Mama was good friends with all the top designers. Her dressing room was full of their clothes and when she had a special event she usually had a one-off designer piece made. Heaven forbid she get caught in the same outfit as another celebrity.

And yes, Mama was pushy. She insisted that I parade
along the catwalk at her friends' charity fashion events while she beamed alongside me. I'd been doing it for so long I didn't really get nervous walking out into the spotlight … I just took it in my stride, even though I'd always been a little clumsy. I was always tripping over or walking into something. Maybe it was because I had a tendency to drift off into my own world when I got bored.

I tried to make sure I had a bit of fun with the whole experience. Depending on my mood, I'd sometimes pretend to be someone else. I loved acting like the singer Pink. She's a rebel, a cheeky, strong-minded woman. She says what she thinks no matter what's at stake. Acting like that, I didn't feel so bad about being dressed up in clothes I wasn't into.

Needless to say, strutting my stuff on the catwalk had been a mixed bag of fun and calamity, especially when I had to don high heels – they were so not my thing.

At a recent event one of the designers was outraged when I refused to wear stilettos especially made to match the gown. Instead, I snuck on my old sneakers and playfully skipped along the catwalk in front of a full house of celebrities, fashion industry types and the media. I did the Pink thing and got carried away. But then I somehow tripped over the gown because of its silly long tail. I felt everyone freeze, but I quickly popped up with a dance move and continued on my way.

The designer and Mama looked on in horror but the
crowd seemed to enjoy it – they must have thought it was part of the show, because I got a round of applause from the front-row celebrities, and the photographers were happily snapping away at my cheeky looks.

The designer had no choice but to forgive me, thanks to the overwhelming support – although backstage it was a different story. I heard a few catty comments, made just loud enough for me to hear.

‘Oh, how did she get away with that?'

‘Who does she think she is?'

‘Imagine, falling over like that. How clumsy.'

‘She's not a model, she's a circus act.'

But I just tried to ignore them and got on with it.

The most embarrassing time, though, was when I was modelling with Mama in a D&G show. I was wearing a sequined dress and a pair of very high heels, more like stilts … I shakily made it halfway down the catwalk, arm in arm with Mama, but then a heel broke and I lost my footing. I fell off the catwalk, taking Mama with me. We landed on top of a couple of shocked photographers who kept clicking as we hit the floor with a big thud.

Mama was horrified but in true professional style faked a smile. The paparazzi had a field day, and the photos landed on the front pages of a couple of magazines and newspapers.

For once Mama and I agreed on something – we were so embarrassed! But Stefano and Domenico loved the
extra publicity and insisted on having me appear in their shows. Go figure!

I didn't mind the charity events, since they raised money for many worthy causes. That was the positive side of the business. At least in a roundabout way you could make a difference. But you had to put up with all the trivial gossip about the latest trends and your looks. ‘Her legs are fabulous and that hair is divine.' Okay, it could be good for the ego but really, couldn't they chat about something other than looks? I hated the way they talked about me like I wasn't there. I wasn't some plastic mannequin!

BOOK: Lucy Zeezou's Goal
5.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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