Esther Schirmer - the Southern Saint
Esther Schirmer, the younger sister of promising South Australian football prospect Gypsy Schirmer, is currently in her fourth year of playing football and, just like her older sister, she has carved a promising path in footy.
During the four years that she has been playing football, which has all been spent with the Christies Beach Football Club, she has claimed two U14s Best and Fairest awards, two U14s Team of the Year appearances, and she has also become a back-to-back U14s Premiership Captain.
“It's hard to go past the 2020 U14s Grand Final that we won last year.”
“It was a night game, and the atmosphere was amazing. I got to Captain my team with some of my closest friends around me, making it such a special moment as the siren sounded.
“When I got to kick the first goal of the game it was one of the best feelings. Getting to play the sport I love in a high stakes game was just so surreal.”
However, even before making memories on the footy field, playing sport has been a major part of Esther’s life. Before football, her sporting life consisted of athletics, touch football and dance. Nowadays, since beginning her football journey, she continues to play volleyball and do MMA on top of her footy commitments.
She decided to leave athletics and embark on this promising footballing journey due to her family connection with the sport—a connection that has also provided much motivation for the young midfielder.
“Both my siblings have been playing footy for a while, my brother since minis and my sister for a couple of seasons.”
“So, when I found out there was going to be a girls’ team that was roughly my age group, I jumped at the chance.
“Since then, I just fell in love with the game and really wanted to see how much I could push myself. Having a strong AFL involved family I had plenty of support around me.”
Although she stopped doing athletics, her background within that sport proved extremely valuable when she decided to take to the footy field. Especially considering that she is a midfielder, which may explain how she managed to develop rather quickly.
“I definitely believe the sprinting side of my athletics did give me an advantage going into that position. It is something my coaches would have picked out as a strength of mine when I started.”
“It also gave me some of the endurance and fitness sides of the sport which is helpful for a position that you are constantly running in. Since then, I have built different skills to make my gameplay better.”
Once she was finally given the opportunity to play football, she pounced on it by joining the same club as her big sister, the Christies Beach Football Club.
“I have always had a pretty good experience with my club. The coaches are very focused on development but also makes sure that it is an enjoyable experience.”
“The inclusiveness between all of the women's grades has been getting really good over the last few years. When I have had the opportunity to play up I have been welcomed and helped to get better.
“I have made some of my closest friends through footy and I'm grateful for that.”
As well as impressing at the club level, Esther has been able to take the next step into several representative sides over the past four years. Starting with her inclusion into South Adelaide’s U15s Development Squad during 2019.
“I found the South Development Squad short but sweet. The trialling process was nerve-racking and really tested your stamina.”
“But it was all worth it when I got told I made the squad. The games were just another step up from club in terms of gameplay, speed, and preparation. Giving us a taste of a more professional setting.”
Similarly, Esther’s actions within local level football have also seen her represent the Southern Football League Women’s Association side during three of the four years that she been playing. This includes the recent 2021 edition of the Association Game.
“I was really grateful that I got to play in the under 17s Association Game with a super talented bunch of girls. It was a good experience and although we lost I enjoyed getting to play at that level.”
“It pushed me to work harder, and I appreciated the challenge. Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience, and I can't wait for more to come.”
During all her time spent playing football, Esther has had her big sister to look up to. Now that Gypsy is on the verge of potentially taking the next step in her footballing journey, it has only fuelled Esther’s motivations.
“Gypsy has always been an inspiration. To be able to see firsthand the journey it takes to play at a high level, has made me believe that I could do the same. The amount of dedication and effort Gypsy puts into her own self-improvement is amazing to watch.”
“She is definitely a role model of mine and to see how far she's gotten in the last few years is crazy to think about.”
As wholesome as this is, it also offers an example of what type of character young Esther is. A character that is not only gracious but also highly motivated--best shown through how much she has managed to achieve within just four years of football.
Although she has had this high level of commitment and dedication to develop her football skills, which is a quality that is shared by her older sister, Esther has also had many strong supporters during her relatively new but exciting footballing journey.
"I would love to thank my family for being the people who have helped me through the years to develop and grow. My dad, for being a great coach, always guiding me through new positions and helping me improve."
"Jude, for teaching me how to kick the ball when I was hopeless at it. Gypsy, for being an inspiration to me as an athlete. And my Mum, for giving me debriefs after every game, who has always been one of my biggest supporters."
"I also want to acknowledge my coaches over the year, Chris Rayner, Rick Wheatley, Chookie and my dad. These people have assisted me to be the player I am today which makes me really grateful.
"When I started football, I could hardly kick a ball and that just shows how much these people have made an impact on me as a player."
What is the next chapter in Esther's promising football journey?
"To be quite honest, I do not really know yet what I want to do after finishing school. I'm just making it up as I go and eventually it will all work out. I think I want to stay football focus for a while and see how far I can go."
Within four years of starting football, Esther has already represented the SFLW three times, made the South Adelaide Development Squad, claimed two Premierships as a Captain, two Best and Fairest awards and has had two Team of the Year appearances
This is certainly an exciting start to a football career, to say the least, and if she can keep it up, it may not be long until we have another Schirmer knocking on the AFLW's door.
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None of these photographs is owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player and were personally took.