• Jayden J Bartlett

Gypsy Schirmer - Worth the Wait

"It is obviously a very challenging time, but as long as everyone is doing what they can go stay healthy and safe then that should be the priority right now. I'm doing as much as I can whether that be park runs or at home workouts, but keeping as positive as possible is what I'm focusing on the most at the moment."


Despite lasting just a month, the 2020 SANFL Women’s season has seen several promising players run out onto the field for the first time.

But due to cruel circumstances, there is one very promising young prospect that we are yet to see make her senior SANFLW debut, and we are of course talking about South Adelaide’s Gypsy Schirmer.

To understand why we are highly anticipating her debut, it is best to look at what she has managed to achieve since her first year of football back in 2017.

In just the past three years, Gypsy has won two Best and Fairests and finished runner-up once at her local football club, Christies Beach. Likewise, she has Captained the side for the past two years, and also played in the U18s Grand Final for the Saints back in 2018.

And while 2020 marks her first year in South Adelaide’s senior SANFLW squad, she has spent the last three consecutive years as a part of the Panthers junior pathway.

“I honestly felt as if the transition from juniors to seniors was somewhat seamless. The drills, game plans and coaching were all done at a very professional level in the U17s, which made the step up into the seniors program a little less daunting.”

Included in this time spent within the Panther junior pathway, was the team that won the 2019 SANFLW U17s tournament.

“I think my favourite playing memory would have to be Round One in that same competition against West Adelaide. After a really slow start, the entire team really pulled together to come back in tremendous fashion to take the win.”

“Around five minutes into the last quarter, we were three points down and struggling to get the ball into our forward line. We started getting some clean ball out of the back line and before I knew it the ball was in my hands running towards goal, I was around 40m out and got a kick away just before I was tackled.”

And “it just got over the head of the defender in the square and bounced through to give us the lead for the first time in the game. It was such a great feeling”.

In 2018, she was a part of the U15s School Sport State team, which placed third overall in the tournament, and she earnt herself a spot in the All-Australian side.

She has also spent time as the Captain of Port Adelaide’s U16s Next Generation Academy. Which was “probably the highlight of my footy experience so far”.

As “it was such a privilege to play for a team I have grown up supporting, but also to be a part of a semi-professional sporting environment too. The training standard was really high, and they expected a lot out of each player which I found equally challenging and exciting to be a part of”.

And “being able to Captain the side to was amazing, and I was able to meet some really great girls along to the way too”.

And finally, she was also selected into the U16s State side in 2019 but unfortunately, she couldn’t compete because of an ankle injury she sustained a few weeks prior.

And this brings us to the reason why we are yet to see Gypsy make her SANFLW debut. With the reason being that she has unfortunately had a terrible run of injures over the past few months.

With the proper diagnosis being that she “tore the ATFL, had significant amounts of bone bruising, strained the syndesmosis, and had quite a bit of joint inflammation and fluid build-up”.

Suffering any serious injury at a young age certainly takes its toll, and Gypsy is no exception.

“I felt as though I was doing everything I could to get back to training and playing, but more and more complications stinted my recovery process quite significantly.”

And “I found it really hard on a mental level being on the side lines for such a long time, especially because it wasn't expected to be so long. I had a similar injury earlier last year that took around half the time to recover, so instantly I was assuming this would be more or less the same."

"It was a real blow mentally to my confidence, feeling very defeated for the most part.”

“But that didn't stop me from working as hard as I could with my limitations in consideration, building up my strength and in-close ball skills too. It has definitely made me a more determined and driven person, but no injury is easy and takes a very particular mental and physical blow regardless.

So, despite the obvious negative effect that missing weeks of football has, the fact that she has been able to work out a way to continue improving her own game despite the limitations, shows a high level of both passion and resilience.

And it is this same high level of passion and resilience that Gypsy possess, that has seen her receive several leadership roles over the past three years.

“It is honestly such an honour to be given any kind of leadership position, but more so a Captaincy position.”

And “it has always been something I have found comes naturally, whether that be encouraging or instructing on field to taking the lead in drills, I try my best to support the team in whatever way I can."

"It is also really important that everyone feels a sense of inclusion to better enjoy themselves and feel a part of the team”.

So, it is safe to say that Gypsy has the qualities that could see her become something truly special in the years to come. The same qualities that she has possessed since before her first season of football.

And this is because she has had her fair share of sporting experience, with nine years of athletics, six years of touch football, three years of cricket and even a year of cycling, before she was eventually convinced to play football by her farther.

“He has always had such a passion for coaching and just footy in general, but even more so he always had so much faith and belief in me. For many years before I started playing, he would try and try to convince me that I had potential, I just never really believed him but eventually I did.”

“He was my first coach and basically made me the footballer I am today which I will be forever grateful for.

With a sporting background like this, it does help explain why she has such an impressive stamina and pace to match, but she has also had an equally impressive amount of support during her career.

Which is why she would like to thank “anyone who has ever showed faith or belief in me as an athlete”.

“Having that support behind me no matter what path I chose meant any avenue felt possible. My mum and dad have always been these people for me, along with any coach I have had either that be in football or any other sport.”

And “I have such a supportive group of friends that always know how to lift my spirits, which has been so valuable to me over the past year or so too”.

So, what is next for this promising Panther prospect?

Well “obviously being in year 12 my main goal is to get through this year at the moment. But in the next couple of years I want to be studying at Uni, preferably in the area of the Exercise Sciences but that isn't decided yet, I still have a bit of time to make a decision”.

And while we still have one month and thirty days at least until football returns, we can at least be excited about Gypsy’s return to football, because that will certainly be worth the extra wait.

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Article #115

None of these photos are owned by MWM. Images supplied by player.

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