On the 24th of May 2016, the UTS Football Club had the absolute honour of hosting the fearless and passionate pint-sized captain of the Matildas – Lisa De Vanna.
It all started with a panic! Emails and Facebook notifications were popping up left/right/centre on the Monday afternoon alerting us to the fact Lisa would be attending and we needed to be in uniform. Facts were shared and excitement rippled through the social media waves. Tuesday would be the night and we ALL needed to clearly do our washing.
Tuesday night hits, the teams have gathered and training attendance for the UTS women was at an all-time high. It was clearly going to be a cold one so we are all reluctant to shed our winter warmers in order to display our beautiful blue uniform. While prancing around and warming up, in the distance a short statured woman decked out in Nike gear arrives – it was Lisa! If there was ever a situation where star-struck awe hit a massive group of women, well this was one of those.
Sparing all the introductory details and skipping to what actually happened on the night – Lisa kindly instructed the team through some warm-up exercises and ball drills. To be kind, it wasn’t fear that struck us when it was time to dribble in front of Lisa – it was more of an “I am not worthy” feeling – complimentary? Yes! It is pretty amazing to have one of the world’s best female soccer players observing you play the sport you love.
After a kick-around we settled in for a group chat with Lisa to grab her thoughts around soccer. At first we learnt some of Lisa’s habits which were to stick to a regime which included the importance of oats (even if eggs are calling) in the morning, preparing mentally before/during/after a game and the strenuous effort it takes to be a Matilda. However, what stuck the most were four tips which she believed make a great player/team at any grade:
1. Believe in yourself.
2. Trust your team mates.
3. Win the moment.
4. Positive attitude.
By the time we were finished chatting and also laughing about a question regarding shin splits, the teams were gathered together for a big old group photo (and penguin heat hug).
Overall, Lisa is a natural born soccer player who despite her stature, age and financial upbringing has managed to lead a successful career using the age-old tactic which can apply to anything you want in life; passion, determination and tenacity. UTS Football Club is completely honoured and wishes Lisa all the success in the future.
By Rhiannon Fowler
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