Five players from the Football West NTC program have been rewarded for their dedication and hard work by earning scholarships to train with Perth Glory throughout the 2018-19 W-League season.
Isabella Foletta, Isabella Wallhead, Abbey Green, Liana Cook and Hana Lowry have all impressed during the recent Women’s Premier Division season and on representative duty.
The youngsters will now train with the likes of superstar Sam Kerr, her fellow Matildas ace Kim Carroll and US import Alyssa Mautz, and Foletta and Cook have even made their W-League debuts this term.
This is the second year of the Football West Female Young Player Scholarships. And if the WA girls needed any incentive then they need only look at the intake from 12 months ago, with Abbey Meakins, Morgan Aquino and Lexie Moreno all in the current Glory squad.
Leticia McKenna, who scored a wonder goal for Glory in their 4-4 draw at Canberra last Sunday, is another player who has come through the Football West NTC program while Albany teenager Jenna Onions, who made her Glory debut last week, appeared at a number of Football West Country Weeks.
Football West CEO James Curtis said: “The five players who have been rewarded with Football West Female Young Player Scholarships must be congratulated for their hard work. They have shown impressive dedication and this is a tremendous opportunity for them.
“It’s fantastic for Football West and Perth Glory to again work so closely on this important program and I thank Glory CEO Tony Pignata for helping give them this chance.
“Women’s football is incredibly strong and it’s getting stronger. Interest in the sport is at an all-time high across the country and here in WA, as was clearly highlighted when the Matildas came to Perth earlier this year.
“Hopefully the FFA will be successful in bringing the Women’s World Cup to Australia in 2023, a bid Football West is fully behind. And who knows, some of the current crop of NTC, Glory and Young Matildas players could be involved.”
Glory CEO Pignata said: “The women’s game is currently enjoying an unprecedented level of popularity and profile in this country, which is something Perth Glory is very proud to be at the forefront of.
“A key component to the continuation of this growth and development is the establishment of a clear pathway for our best female players to fulfil their potential and this Scholarship program provides exactly that.
“Two of last year’s recipients, Abbey Meakins and Lexie Moreno, have both now debuted in the Westfield W-League, thereby illustrating what a key stepping stone the program is.
“We are hopeful that these closer links will encourage State League players, coaches and supporters to attend our Westfield W-League games during what we are confident will be a successful and exciting season for our Glory Women.”
Football West NTC coach Jessine Bonzas, who also works with the Glory W-League players, has overseen much of the players’ development.
“The girls get to train in a professional environment alongside their role models,” she said.
“If you speak to them, they are just so excited to be here and they are relishing it.
“(The scholarship) is just unbelievably important otherwise they just wouldn’t get the opportunity to do that in this crucial stage of their development.
“It’s particularly important for them to be training at the next level and being in a professional environment, where the expectation is higher and the demands are higher and they are having to adjust to playing at a higher intensity … and using every moment to learn off their role models.
“The senior players are just fantastic with the younger players too, and again it comes from the captain, from Sam (Kerr), she really takes them under her wing.”
Following this weekend’s international break, Glory’s Westfield W-League campaign will resume on Saturday 17 November when Western Sydney Wanderers will be the visitors to Dorrien Gardens.