Teenager Liana Cook has taken inspiration from fellow WA footballer Sam Kerr to claim the Member Federation rebel Female Football Player of the Year award.
Cook, who plays for the Football West National Training Centre team, was one of five Member Federation winners from around the country at the rebel Female Football Week National Awards announced to kick off Female Football Week today.
“I thought it was a prank,” Cook said of hearing she had won the award. “It is kind of nice to see that the sacrifices paid off and to be recognised.”
Cook, who admires Kerr for her down-to-earth attitude, was thrilled when the Matildas star made an appearance at a recent NTC training session.
“She is just amazing in every aspect,” said Cook, who aims to follow in Kerr’s footsteps by playing for Perth Glory.
“I am just going to take it step by step and see where it takes me really. I like the path I have been on so far.”
Liana Cook. Photo: Football West.
Cook, 18, started playing football in Esperance where at the age of five she was dragged along to a friend’s training session. She fell in love with the game and the following year joined a club.
She regularly played for Esperance Soccer Association at the Football West-run Country Week – regional championships held in Perth to celebrate the regional game and identify talented players.
Cook was 11 when she was selected for Country Camp and was then picked for the State Country Team, which travelled to Singapore in 2011 and 2013.
Following her success in the State Country team, Cook took the difficult decision to leave Esperance and move to Perth, joining the John Curtin College of the Arts football program.
It was an inspired decision.
“Now that I look back on it, I couldn’t imagine my life if I didn’t come (to Perth),” she said. “I think I am a better person because of it.”
She has been a member of the Football West National Training Centre program since she was 14. Her regular performances in the WA State team were rewarded recently when she was selected in the NTC Challenge All-Stars team.
“I think it’s a good pathway to be involved in if you want to follow your dreams, especially because NTC and Perth Glory are linking up,” she said. “It’s a really good stepping stone.”
National Training Centre coach Jessine Bonzas described Liana as a strong leader and a positive influence in the team.
“Liana has made many sacrifices and investments to chase her football dreams,” Bonzas said. “She has moved from regional WA with the aim to reach her potential. In the NTC team she is an inspiring and exceptional leader and exciting striker. Liana’s enthusiasm and the way she applies herself and her ability to bring our team together is something truly special.”
Rebel Female Football Week runs from March 2 to 10.