Ally Ladas - the Convert
'Just be open to starting from scratch - ask heaps of questions and enjoy learning everything there is.'
Sturt have had several young players don the double blue this season, some of which have only been playing football for a few years. But while it is somewhat easier to pick up a new sport at a young age – it is much more difficult to learn a new sport after spending majority of your sporting life playing a vastly different game.
But despite 2020 marking just her first season of football, Ally Ladas has certainly been up for the challenge. Prior to strapping on the footy boots this season, she had spent 18 years playing soccer.
During these 18 years of soccer, she had played in the 2014 Premier League winning team, while more recently she played for Adelaide United in the 2016/17 season before moving interstate to spend a season playing soccer in Melbourne.
Upon returning from Melbourne, she ‘Needed a switch up and had always wanted to play footy’, so it seemed like a very logical choice for Ally.
While switching codes is nothing new, it is rather impressive to consider that her first season of football has been spent with an SANFLW club, and she has been ‘Absolutely loving it’ at Sturt.
‘The girls and coaches are all so welcoming and I’m enjoying learning a new sport.’
Obviously, switching codes after playing soccer for 18 years does come with its own fair share of challenges.
‘Tackling has definitely been the biggest adjustment; I don’t think I will ever really get used to that. Also, a lot more running, but I love being part of a bigger team.’
Keeping in mind that the 2020 SANFL Women’s season has been her first year of football, Ally has actually made an impact rather quickly within her new sport. This is because, before the league was suspended, she had played all four games in which she booted a total of two goals and collected 28 disposals with a very reliable 79 per cent disposal efficiency.
At the time, Sturt were travelling very nicely, with back to back wins and a spot in the top four, but it was just ‘Shame we couldn’t keep the momentum’.
While learning a new sport is difficult, it is also rather challenging to find out what playing position suits you best, as for Ally - ‘I wasn’t really sure where I would end up.’
‘But I’m glad I’m in more attacking roles in the forward line and on the wing at times.'
These attacking roles would almost be second nature too her by now, as she spent her many years of soccer as a striker and a midfielder.
However, 2020 has proven to be quite an interrupted first season of football for her, as we all had to wait through the league suspension that lasted around three months.
But luckily for her, and for the rest of the Double Blues, they had things in place to keep them occupied during those rather boring months.
‘We did a few zoom sessions and some Pilates with our physio. I did a mixture of what the SANFL gave us and some of my own stuff, but it is so much better being back as a squad to keep you motivated especially during winter.’
So, what is next for this proud and passionate soccer convert?
Keeping in mind the impact that Ally Ladas has managed to have during just her first four games of football this year – by the time she reaches her second season, it will be extremely difficult to even realise that she is actually a soccer convert.
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