Jorja Hooper - the Happy Valley Product
With another year of football almost over; people are scrambling to fill the void left by Australia’s favourite game.
For some that means cricket, for others swimming. But for those select few, they’re already looking for that next top talent that will join their side for the 2020 season.
But looking beyond the 2020 season; there is a very exciting prospect that is climbing the ranks.
And this exciting prospect is none other than Happy Valley’s Jorja Hooper.
Now Jorja definitely has some positive signs; as a part of the generation that has grown up with a pathway into football, she has been marking the most of it.
With roughly seven years’ worth of experience under her belt already; which includes not just time with Happy Valley but also with South Adelaide’s Development Squad and Port Adelaide’s Academy.
And it isn’t just playing football that she has become accustomed to either, with Jorja having a good number of accolades to her name already;
2018 - SANFL Zone 3 Best and Fairest
2018 - Under 15 State Team
2019 - SANFL under 16 State Squad
2018/19 Port Academy
2019 - SANFL Zone 3 Under 16 top ten
Add to this a Premiership that she “can’t remember what year it was” from and it begins to all add up for the humble Happy Valley product.
But football is far from the only sport that Jorja plays; as she is also quite a talented netball and softball player.
And given her passion and dedication, it is no surprise that success has followed her in netball;
“I was selected in the State U15 team this year and we went through undefeated. I was also selected in the U12 state team a few years back.”
“I have been in several Premiership winning sides, as well as a few losing ones. I have also been given several Best and Fairest awards.”
But obviously playing multiple sports does create a few problems; but for Jorja the solution is simple;
“Well I just have to miss out on stuff. This year I pull out of the 16’s state footy and the 15’s state trails because of state netball commitments. I also have to leave trainings early and get to other trainings late, it’s just a lot of talking to coaches and prioritising.”
“They’re all pretty equal, I want to play all of them for as long as I can.”
The only thing that can rival her passion for these sports; is the appreciation she holds for those who have helped her throughout her sports careers;
“Thank you to all of my coaches for helping me develop my skills and especially my parents for taking me to all my games and trainings and supporting me in everything that I do.”
As for the Australian game, well she obviously enjoys it. But as for what it is that she enjoys the most;
“I like the team environment and the friendships that you build but I also like the competitiveness and physical challenge that it gives.”
And one friendship in particular is;
“I think everyone that I have played in a team with I have enjoyed playing with. But Callie is probably the person that I have played in the most teams with, so I feel like my connection with her is really strong.”
And this brings us to another great aspect of Jorja; which is her attitude towards the teams she plays for.
For example, as for her time spent with Happy Valley;
“It’s really good. We get given lots of opportunity’s with players being asked to play up in higher age groups for some games, which gives us good experience. As well as being able to train with the open women’s team. The coaches are really nice, and I get along with them really well.”
Likewise, as for her time spent with the Panthers, Jorja says;
“South is awesome. It takes footy to a whole new level. The skills that they teach there are really useful and can be applied at every level that I play. Playing for Souths has really helped me to develop my football.”
“For example, my kicking when I started at Souths a couple years ago was really bad, but my coaches there really helped me focus on it and although it still isn’t perfect; I have a lot more control over it now.”
So, with this in mind, it is safe to say that Jorja has a very team-first mentality.
Add this to her valuable experience and considerable amount of success; and it all adds up to make Jorja quite the potential prospect.
But she won’t stop there, as her dreams going forwards are;
“Short term goals would be making the SANFLW Under 16s team.”
“I want to take one of my sports forward to an elite level; AFLW, Australian Netball Team or Australian team and Olympics with softball.”
With these ambitions and dare I say it; the skills to potentially to reach them. Jorja is definitely a player to keep an eye on going forwards.
So, to all those who are already looking for that next top talent that will join their side for the 2020 season. There may well be an exceptional prospect hiding under our noses this whole time.
Images: KR Sports Photos