A dream has come true today for Adelaide Thunderbirds star Carla Borrego.
Borrego has officially received her Australian Citizenship in a ceremony that took place at Netball SA Stadium.
The ceremony was held by Matt Williams MP, Federal Member for Hindmarsh.
The ceremony included Borrego making her Australian Citizenship pledge.
A pledge is her commitment to Australia and accepting responsibilities and privileges of Australian Citizenship.
After the pledge, Borrego received her certificate and she was now a proud Australian.
“I have lived in Adelaide for a long time now and I’m so happy to officially become an Australian Citizen,” Borrego said.
“It has been a long process to finally reach this point, and I’m so grateful for the help and support I’ve received from Netball SA, the coaching staff, my teammates and also my local MP Matt Williams.”
The lengthy process was a relief for Borrego who kept herself positive and patient since applying for citizenship.
"There were a few hurdles along the way," Borrego said.
"With the hurdles and everything I didn't want to get too excited.
"So I tried to stay as balanced as I possibly could and let the result take care of itself."
Borrego has been in Adelaide since 2010 and has grown to be a part of the South Australian community.
"I've been here for a long time," she said.
"This is just a platform for me to build on there are so many opportunities now that are there that I didn't have prior, its just getting here and exploring all the possibilities afterwards."
Thunderbirds coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson admitted she along with Borrego's team mates were excited for her.
"Carla is an amazing girl, she has been working so hard for this for five years," Woodlands-Thompson said.
"She is an Adelaide girl now, she has a job here, she has an Adelaide family and the team is certainly excited for her."
Borrego is hopeful of receiving an Australian Diamonds call up should she be selected by coach Lisa Alexander.
"I'll just see, I'll put my best foot forward and hopefully Lisa will know it is," she smiled.
"But right now its just taking care of what needs to be taken care of."
Netball SA, the Adelaide Thunderbirds and more recently Matt Williams MP, Federal Member for Hindmarsh, have been working through the process with Borrego for over two years.
“I was pleased to assist Carla and Netball SA in making Carla’s dream in becoming an Australian Citizen a reality,” Mr Williams said. “Carla has waited patiently for today and I am proud to welcome Carla and congratulate her on becoming an Australian Citizen.
“Her contribution to the Australian community since first arriving in 2010 has been outstanding. She is a role model for many in the community including young aspiring netballers and other immigrants.”
An application has been made to Netball Australia for Borrego to join the Adelaide Thunderbirds’ 12 person squad as a replacement player. The 31-year-old has been a training partner of the team throughout the pre-season, and if the application is approved she’ll take the place of Georgie Virgo.
“Our initial understanding and advice was that Carla would become an Australian Citizen back in September, and we’ve kept Georgie up to date on the situation every step of the way,” Netball SA CEO Ben Scales said.
Adelaide Thunderbirds head coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson is looking forward to watching Georgie’s career progress with Garville in the Premier League, and the Thunderbabes.
“The girls have loved having Georgie in the squad," Woodlands-Thompson said.
"She played with us on a national stage in last weekend’s Summer Shootout, and it’s an opportunity she may not have otherwise had this early in her career.
Netball Australia is expected to make a decision on Borrego’s eligibility before the ANZ Championship season starts.
The Adelaide Thunderbirds open their season against the Waikato BOP Magic at Netball SA Stadium on Saturday, February 28.
Images Andrew Frackowski/OSLSA