Sophie Phillips - the Break Out Player
"Just enjoy footy and have fun, that’s what it’s all about; and never give up."
If you were to ask Bomaderry product Sophie Phillips if she ever dreamt of being where she is today, you would get a response similar to this.
“No way, I started playing footy for the fun and social aspect of the game which I still love just as much, but yeah definitely never imagined I would be where I am.”
And this response is fair, considering even we have a hard time putting to perspective what Sophie has managed to pull off in her first two seasons of senior football.
While most players would be forgiven if they spent their first few seasons of football learning and developing, Sophie on the other hand burst onto the scene in 2018 and she hasn’t looked back since.
But before we go looking at her accolades, it is best to first look at the journey she took before her impressive debut season.
However, while most would suspect her past sporting career to include the likes of soccer or even rugby to help explain why she picked up the game so quick and easily. In reality, her main sports from the past do not include any contact or ball sports, which makes her switch to footy even more impressive.
“I have played tennis and also dance all my life up until last year where footy became the main sport.”
But how did she go from these sports to football?
“My younger brothers had been playing for a couple of years and I would always go and watch begging my parents to let me play but I was too old by that time so when the women’s league started up in 2018 I thought I had to give it a try.”
However, Sophie did more than just “give it a try”, as her first season of senior football not only saw her play in the 2018 inaugural South Coast Women’s Premiership, but she was also named the Best on Ground.
“Honestly it was amazing, one of my favourite memories ever and such a great experience.”
And to top off her first season, she was also awarded the 2018 Maddy Collier Best and Fairest.
While this is one of the most impressive first seasons of football with have found thus far, after talking with Sophie it becomes evident that she prefers her team’s success over her own and at the end of the day, she is just playing the sport she loves.
“I just love the team environment and positive atmosphere all the time, footy is my happy place and all of the people that I have met through footy are just like family.”
And this love for the game includes her beloved Bomaderry Tigers.
“It is great, they are like a family to me and we all just enjoying playing footy together; we have a big age range so it is so good to have older girls to look up to and also have younger girls that look up to me.”
Which helps explain why her favourite memories are “definitely winning the Grand Final but also playing in the 2019 Grand Final which we lost by one point. Honestly have enjoyed every game of footy at club and representative level”.
Now keeping in mind her love of the game and passion for her club, it isn’t a huge surprise that she managed to improve on what was already an impressive start to her footy career, as 2019 proved to be even more successful for the humble product.
Not only did she win the Maddy Collier Best and Fairest again, but 2019 also saw her make the “South Coast Rep Team” and be named the “IAS AFL Girls Athlete of the Year 2019”.
As impressive as all of this is, it is just half of what she managed to pull off in 2019; as her skills were recognised and rewarded with her first taste of state football. As she earned a spot in both the NSW/ACT Rams and the Eastern Allies.
Which was “such an amazing experience to be a part of, having not played a lot of footy before it was great to watch and play at that higher level and see what it is I have to do to continue improving and playing more footy like that”.
And to top it all off, she also earned a spot in the 2019 Women’s South Coast Team of the Year.
Bearing in mind the fact that Sophie has managed to achieve in her first two seasons what most would dream of achieving in a lifetime, it is scary to think of what could come next.
However, in the time being, there are some special mentions she would like to give to those who have helped her get to this extremely promising position.
“I wouldn’t be here without the Bomaderry Football Club and the South Coast League who have helped women’s footy grow and continue to!”
And it is always nice to hear that women’s footy is still on the rise.
“It has grown massively, especially down in the South Coast where women’s footy was never a thing until 2018. Even for junior girls footy is becoming much bigger and the pathway for younger girls is great and only getting better.”
So, with one of the best two years of football we have ever seen under her belt, what is next for this talented ruck rover?
“Obviously the biggest dream is to play in the AFLW, so I am hoping to keep playing and improving whilst inspiring other young girls in the sport.”
As wholesome as this is, it just sums up who Sophie is, which is a player who is more than prepared to put the hard work in to reach her dream.
But at the end of the day, we will be sure to keep an eye on her because as far as we are concerned, her extraordinary journey is only just beginning.
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