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Thank God for Women’s Football
by Jasmin Cannizzo
As published in the Ferndale Flash, April 12 2018
Growing up with a dad who lives and breathes football I have always been an avid Geelong supporter. Some of my earliest memories were of going along to football matches with my dad and cheering on Geelong greats such as Ben Graham and Peter Riccardi.
Prior to joining St Mary’s in July 2016, I had only ever kicked the footy a couple of times with my cousins and it had never dawned on me that I would ever play football. My love of footy had only ever been with watching the game and I surprised not only my family but myself when I decided to go along to some St Mary’s training sessions.
Heading down to that first Women’s Football training session back in July 2016 I was extremely nervous especially since I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy playing the game I passionately supported. Once I arrived and got a chance to meet everyone I almost instantly felt at ease and the nerves before each training session slowly disappeared. All the girls were extremely positive and encouraging and before long we found ourselves registered to play in the inaugural VAFA Women’s Football League in 2017.
I soon found out that watching football and playing football are both vastly different. I now have a fond appreciation for the athleticism required of footballers. Having played netball and basketball all my life I thought playing football wouldn’t be too difficult and boy was I wrong.
Coming home after your first match with bruises all over your body in addition to being physically and emotionally exhausted is something I don’t think any of us girls were prepared for. You put your body through over 60 minutes of hits, bumps, crunches, tackles, and are expected to exhaust your body for every effort and contest of every game. In the end you win some, and you lose some.
Being involved with a football club has provided me the opportunity to encounter experiences that I never thought would happen. The most sought-after experience is a premiership and we were fortunate enough to win the 2017 VAFA Development Division 1 Premiership in our inaugural year of playing. This was one of the greatest moments I have ever encountered and I was pleasantly surprised at the camaraderie of not only premiership players but all the girls involved in the club. There was so much support, encouragement and overall excitement during this time that there is no other sport that I have experienced that has or ever will live up to community football.
Football has brought me many new experiences but nothing can compare to the new friendships that I have formed from St Mary’s Football. I have met both female and male players at the club who I would
now call close friends and have
impacted on my life in a positive
It may sound cliché but I do believe that my decision to play football at St Mary’s Salesian has changed my life for the better. I never imagined I would actually enjoy running or look forward to hill sprints. It gives you the motivation to improve not only as a player but as a team. I know for a fact that all the girls who have been involved with football at St Mary’s are determined to develop their skills further. 2021 is looking to be another sensational year for Women’s Football at St Mary’s and everyone should watch this space!