• Jayden J Bartlett

Kaiya Ivett - an Emerging Leader

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

A young leader is nothing out of the ordinary in football. However, what is rare is when one of the team’s youngest players just so happens to be one of its leaders.

In a positive sign of her potential, Kaiya Ivett is a co-captain of Port Noarlunga’s Open Women’s side - despite being just 16 at the start of the 2021 Southern Football League Women’s (SFLW) season.

“Being a co-captain this year was a great experience for me, although a little intimidating being a 16-year-old helping lead 20-plus year-olds,” Kaiya said when asked about her time as a leader.

“Other than that, I learned so much and it was an amazing feeling to be able to watch our team improve after every single game.”

Despite being a lot younger than those who she was helping lead, Kaiya put together an impressive performance during this year’s SFLW season and was a consistent name in our Team of the Week series.

Yet while being a young Open Women’s leader is new to us – playing sport is certainly not new to Kaiya. Having one of the most diverse sporting resumes around, Kaiya has tried her hand at gymnastics, soccer, swimming, dance, karate, athletics, volleyball, boxing, surfing and netball.

It would not be until 2018 that this future Captain would decide to strap on the footy boots for the first time.

“I love sports, I've grown up playing as many as I could, so I was trying to find a different new sport that I have never played before, so we came up with the idea of football,” she said when asked about how she got interested in playing.

“I looked through a lot of different clubs and came across Port Noarlunga and saw that they were starting their first-ever year of girls footy, so I thought I’d give it a go. I loved it straight away.”

'A Local Leader' - image taken by MWM.

Having spent 4 years with the Cockledivers, Kaiya has embraced the blue and white – which may explain her relatively young but rich time at the club

“My time at Port Noarlunga has been so new and exciting,” she replied when asked about her time at Porties. “Because I was part of the very first ever girls’ team in Port Noarlunga it has been so amazing to see the number of girls playing grow and expand.”

“We are all a big supportive family there and I never was a fan of football until my first year and now I’m obsessed and can't get enough of it.”

As a sign of great things to come for Kaiya, she celebrated her first year of football with an Under-14s SFL Association appearance during the Southern’s clash with Kangaroo Island.

This set her up for her breakout year in 2019, which started with an Under-15s SFL Association Side appearance as well as a spot in their academy squad. From here, she then made it into the Team of the Year and claimed Port Noarlunga’s Coaches Award.

Having already achieved a considerable amount within just 2 years. 2019 marked the first time that we got to see Kaiya in a leadership role as she was a co-captain of Port Noarlunga’s Under-16s side.

'The Porties Prospect at the Panthers' - image was taken by MWM.

Then came 2020 which, despite having some disruptions, saw Kaiya continue to develop and grow into an exciting prospect. It was spearheaded by another SFLW Association selection, this time in their Under-16s side that faced off against their fierce rival, the Great Southern Football League.

Continuing with her leadership roles, she was named as the vice-captain of their Under-17s side – making it her second year of holding such a role in just 3 years of footy.

Having had 4 impressive years of footy, Kaiya managed to take things to the next step in 2021 – typified by her selection as Port Noarlunga’s Open Women’s co-captain. Adding a Rising Star award to her collection she, once again, would also represent the league, this time their Open Women’s Association side.

The new year also brought new favourite moments for the exciting prospect, with Port Noarlunga’s first open’s win joining her Team of the Year selection as one of her most cherished footy moments.

Kaiya’s other favourite moment came during late 2021, with the Porties product receiving the news that she had been selected into South Adelaide’s senior women’s squad.

“My time with the Panthers so far has been a great experience since all the girls there are so welcoming and supportive,” she said when questioned about her time with South so far.

“This was my third year of trying to get in, so I’m stoked that all my hard work has paid off this year.”

“I’m excited to show everyone what I’m capable of and develop my skills with a group of such experienced girls.”

Developing rapidly since she first strapped on the boots in 2018 and leading teams during 3 of her 4 years of footy; Kaiya is an exciting prospect – but she has not done it alone as she has had some great support behind her along the way.

“There are a lot of people that I’d like to thank but mainly my mum for being my biggest supporter.”

“Mark Dittmar, Phillip Marks and Phill Bennet for coaching me and supporting me while also helping keep my love for footy going.”

So, what is the next chapter for this talented local leader?

“My goals for next year and beyond are to be able to learn as much as I can and continue improving my skills, make amazing memories as well as meet many new footballers along the way.”

Gaining valuable experiences through her many leadership roles, the crafty prospect has certainly gained an edge to her game and quite simply, she has led by example.

Now staring down her first season of SANFLW footy, Kaiya Ivett’s footy journey will only develop further and continue to grow more promising.

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Article #205

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All these images have been created by or taken by the MWM team.

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