“I have an older brother and… I used to copy everything he did. He was playing down at East Bentleigh Junior Soccer club with the boys team and I used to go down there and annoy them. I’d dribble a ball around in front of all the parents,” she said.
She was there for six years playing against boys her own age and obviously showed great skills, and made her senior debut at 15 in October, 2009.
The last two years have been busy for Stephanie. Besides making the W-League final being edged out by Sydney 3-1, she also changed position from midfielder to defender while playing for Melbourne.
I asked her if this switch had been a big change to her game.
“Not really. I’ve always been a bit of both… fullback has always been a bit of an attacking role…(they’re both) very similar,” she said.
Stephanie also went on to represent Australia as a Matilda. In June 2012 she made her international debut against New Zealand before travelling to the USA and Japan with the Matildas, and had to step up to the more rigorous training regime.
“There’s usually travel and obviously games on weekends, we train usually three to four times a week plus a gym session. It varies … it depends when the game is on during the weekend.”
This is a similar situation for the Matildas.
“We have camp every two week at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) in Canberra. We get there on the Thursday, train Thursday night, twice on Friday, have gym session in the morning on Saturday and then training on Saturday and Sunday,” she said.
“It’s all on the field, some sessions are dedicated more to football conditioning…small games…and (the) more tactical (side of things). It’s all football based.”
A big part of training at such an elite level is diet.
“During W-League we’re obviously training doing so much all the time….I probably eat a bit more…all round I’m always watching what I eat and always making sure it’s healthy, eating the right things before the games and before training,” she said.
“I sort of know by now what is right for my body. Before games I usually have a bowl of pasta three hours before I play, I don’t usually change it too much.
“When we’re away (at the AIS) they have amazing food there so I try not to eat too much there as well.”
Like a lot of elite athletes a large part of her training is assisted by music.
“I love my music. Because I’m travelling a lot. I have my I-pod cord in my car. To and from training I’m always blasting it because (I live) an hour away from where I train,” she said.
“Music is the only way I can survive those trips without getting bored. In the change rooms we have a playlist so that plays a massive role in our preparation.”
Besides the Matildas and playing defence Stephanie was also captain of the team as part of a leadership group that the club rotated between games.
However Stephanie just took this in her stride.
“I thought it was a good learning experience. On the field I loved being a leader. Off the field it was a new experience for me, delegating things…(it was) really interesting. I really enjoyed it.”
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson is sure to face fan ire after another disappointing reality check as the Australians were beaten 3-0 by the United States in Sydney. The Australian anthem was sung by The Wiggles and there was a preschool feel to Australia’s defending from the kickoff as the USA strolled through and scored after […]
That one was tough to swallow with a chance to bring the scores level. While the Australian attack looked fluent in stretches, it was always going to be difficult to overcome some defensive shockers as the Matildas went down 3-0.