Emma Smith - School Spirit
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
“You never know what achievements will come, unless you try.”
Considering these are the words spoken by the very promising, Emma Smith; it is only fitting that she has herself followed this idea throughout her career.
“I have always loved footy from an early age, sharing the experience by kicking the footy with my dad and older siblings in the backyard or at their games. The talk about women’s footy has also really grown and I love the comradery it brings, being able to show people that women’s footy is actually worthwhile. Lastly, being able to share the love of the game with such a great bunch of girls within any team, is such a rewarding and up lifting feeling, I personally hold as a highlight of my football journey.”
Beginning with AusKick at the age of 4 – 5, she then progressed to the U11’s South Gawler boys’ team; “finishing with them during the U12’s season after I was no longer permitted to play with them anymore”.
Thankfully, she didn’t let go of her football ambitions; returning to the sport after a three-year gap and joining the Angle Vale U15 girls’ team.
It is at this stage that her bright future began to take shape.
“Having a solid year, I did a carnival with Central District which was the first girls SANFL U16 competition.”
However, she doesn’t stop there; as she continually made the most out of her chances and performed exceptionally to be given even more opportunities;
“Through my performance during the carnival, I was asked to trial for the U15 state team and progressed to play for South Australia until the U18 level.”
The U15 trip to the Gold Coast is still one of Emma’s favourite memories;
“I just loved the atmosphere and seeing the wide range of girls talent.”
While representing the state; she was also making the most of her opportunities at a local level;
“During those years, I joined West Adelaide, playing with the women’s Div. 1 team for one year. I was selected to play in the second year of the SANFLW competition in 2018.”
“My first season for the SANFLW with Westies was one to definitely remember.”
And currently, she continues to impress and create chances;
“This year, 2019, I played for West Adelaide again during the SANFLW season; having also made the U18 state team and progressing to the Central Allies.”
As a player who loves to “run through the mid as either a winger or on ball” or play as a small forward; with the latter being labelled as “pretty good” as she “loves snapping goals”.
It is by no means a surprise then that the number 18 at West Adelaide has collected 77 disposals, 35 tackles and kicked four goals this season. She has also created several chances for her teammates, finishing with 20 inside 50s for the nine games she has played this SANFLW season.
As someone who loves football in general; there is a game that stands out more for the talented West Adelaide youngster;
“My most enjoyable match when playing for Westies would be in the 2018 season against North Adelaide, in the last match before the deciding finals. The whole team played with so much energy and want for the ball, it was such a great game to play in. We ended up winning, but unfortunately did not make finals due to a small percentage.”
On top of performing impressively in both local and state level football; Emma has also been working hard with school football;
“I absolutely love and thrive off school footy. Captaining and being around such a different bunch of developing players, knowing that you’re one of their role models, is such an uplifting feeling. I used to play locally for Westies but have not played there this year, or last season, to give myself a break in-between SANFLW and state commitments."
"Also, playing footy for Sacred Heart is purely amazing. Everyone gets around each other and the student crowd who watch, love it, it’s just such a great atmosphere.”
Not only does Emma play football for one South Australia’s most renowned football schools; she goes one step further and captain’s the side.
“It is such an honour! A rewarding feeling being chosen by my coach, who has coached me for three years; and knew that I would love to take up the opportunity and role. The girls are a skilful and nice bunch which makes my job super easy!”
On top of experiencing footy at three different levels and performing brilliantly in all, the humble Emma Smith was kind enough to share some of her individual achievements;
“I won the Angle Vale Best and Fairest, Club Champion and Most Valuable Player of the Year. In that year, I also won the Best and Fairest for the Division 1 league.”
“I played for Sacred Heart College, in the all-girls state knockout grand final and won the Best on Ground.”
“I won the Best and Fairest for the schoolgirls competition.”
As not only a very skilful captain but also a very wholesome person; Emma has a very generous piece of advice for the next generation of footballs finest;
“The advice I would give to younger girls coming through would be to never settle for anything less. Be yourself and own your strengths, be determined and always be open in trying new things. Don’t let fear hold yourself back from creating your own success. Own it and you will achieve what you desire. Train as you play, because you never know who’s watching. But most importantly, love what you do, because some girls don’t get to experience this.”
As there are players who would thank her for her leadership; there are some people she would like to thank herself for getting her to this stage in her career;
“A massive thank you to all that have coached me along the way. Without them, I wouldn’t have learnt the skills, knowledge and potential of my football pathway. A huge thank you to my family and friends for all the support and encouragement they have given me and most importantly to my dad, who has had a massive impact on how I go about my footy, encouraging me, watching me grow and especially learning that no matter what the outcome, I know I have given 110%.”
As someone who, when she’s not busy with football, just loves “keeping fit, going surfing and purely spending time with friends and family”.
Going forward, the AFLW is the next logical step and a dream for the promising player;
“Obviously the dream is to continue to play at the highest level of female football. However, if that doesn’t happen, I really want to travel, especially to the Greek Islands.”
However, no matter what happens next for Emma, whether she’s playing on the national stage or travelling the world; she will continue to be the very kind, determined and great person she is today.
None of these photographs are owned by MWM.
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Photograph by Deb Curtis Photography