Lauren Young - the Trail Blazer
"I am really thankful to all my clubs, teams and academies because they have given me so many opportunities throughout the years, taught me skills and helped me improve."
The 2020 SANFLW season looked as if it was the year that West Adelaide would finally make the finals, with the Bloods sitting with just a single loss after the first four games.
While we aren’t completely sure when and if the season will resume this year, there are still plenty of positives for West Adelaide fans to look forward too in 2021 and beyond.
And this is because the Bloods are one of the league leaders in terms of young talent, behind that of only Sturt and South Adelaide.
With so many young guns already making themselves known over the previous three years, it is hard to believe that there is still another promising West Adelaide prospect that is yet to make her senior debut.
Because she is currently too young to meet the SANFLW’s minimum age requirement, most probably are not aware of the name, Lauren Young. However, when you see what she has managed to achieve in the last six years, it is a miracle that she isn’t on more people’s radars.
In fact, Lauren has been somewhat of a trail blazer for girls ever since she first began playing football with the boys at the Plympton Bulldogs six years ago.
For starters, she was the first girl to win the West Adelaide 6/7 SANFL Schools Competition’s Ken Candy Medal. She was also one of only two girls to be chosen for the West Adelaide Interzone squad, and she was also the first girl to be chosen into the Henley High School Football Academy.
She has certainly also been making a name for herself at the local level, as she won the U14 Umpires Best and Fairest for the association when she was just 11 years old.
She also won the Plympton Bulldogs Best and Fairest in 2017, the U16s Best and Fairest in 2018, the Best and Fairest again in 2019, and won the Bulldogs first ever Trademark award.
“One of my favourite memories was when I played my first year of Under 16’s girls’ football for Plympton Bulldogs. They were such a fun and lovely group of girls.”
And if for some strange reason that still isn’t enough for you, she also won the Bulldogs’ U14 girls Player of the Finals award in 2018, the U16 Umpires Best and Fairest in 2019, and has won the Bulldogs award on three separate occasions.
Other than local footy, Lauren was also named as the 2019 Year Eight Sportsperson of the Year at Henley High School and was also chosen to be a part of Port Adelaide Academy in 2019, the same academy that she would go onto Captain in 2020.
As for state level and beyond, well Lauren was selected into the 2018 U15 State team as the only player that was still in primary school in South Australia. She would go onto show exactly why she was picked as the only one because she would receive All-Australian selection as well.
This was a feat she also backed up in 2019, the difference being that this time she was the Co-Captain of the U15 State team but once again she earnt an All-Australian selection.
This gave her one of her favourite football memories as well, because “in state last year, we made it to the Grand Final, and we were the first South Australian girls state team to make it to a Grand Final. Even though we lost it was still an exceptional experience”.
As for her time with West Adelaide, well she tied for the U17s Most Consistent Player award and is or at least was training with the Bloods’ SANFLW side as well.
“One of my favourite memories was when I first started training with the SANFLW Westies team. The girls were so funny and nice.”
However, despite all the success, it seems that Lauren is just simply enjoying the game that she loves most, and these achievements are just an added bonus.
“I enjoy footy so much because it is team sport. I love playing with friends because it just makes it ten times better.”
And this love of the game is also reflected within her feelings towards West Adelaide.
“All the girls and coaches at Westies are so welcoming, charismatic, nice, encouraging and extremely funny. In all teams we are such a tight bunch and if we have new people, we make them feel welcome. The trainings are always great fun, especially because you get both sides; fun and serious.”
And “we get taught so much, everyone makes each other better, both in footy and as a person. Everyone is always happy for each other, no jealousy whatsoever. We also get provided with so many opportunities at Westies”.
While 2020 marks a new year of football for Lauren, with what would have been her first year of footy with the Goodwood Saints U18s, she still has not forgotten about those who have helped her throughout this extremely promising career.
“I would like to thank my family for always being so supporting and giving me feedback, as well as taking me out to games and doing anything for me.”
Also, “I would like to thank all my coaches, assistant coaches and other parents/supporters for coming out to the games and always helping out, as well as throughout the years teaching me skills and growing me as a person and player”.
“I would also like to thank my teammates/friends throughout the years because I wouldn’t be able to play footy and have fun without them.”
So, not only can we be excited for the eventual return of football, but we can also be excited to see what Lauren has in store for us next. Because going by her past, it is bound to be something special.
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