At just 15-years-old, Jade Brown has had a pretty impressive 2019.
After beginning the season as a Gungahlin United reserve player, Jade cemented her spot in United’s NPLW side and by the end of the season, she had played 16 games and scored three goals.
Jade’s sparkling form saw her named in the ACT’s Under-18 Schoolgirl’s team for the National Schools titles in Brisbane.
Her impressive performances during Nationals caught the eye of selectors, who invited Jade and three other ACT teammates to join the Australian Schoolgirls side as shadow players.
She was still coming to terms with her selection when she was told that she had been elevated into the team for the Dallas International Girls Cup in April 2020.
“It was overwhelming,” Jade said. “I burst into tears. It was totally unexpected. Any of the four ACT players could have been called up but I was fortunate that a player in my position was unavailable and I was able to take her place.
“I am nervous but excited nervous. I haven’t met any of the girls that are on the team so going into a team that has played together before is a little nerve-wracking.
“But I am also excited and grateful to meet new people and play with people who have a lot of experience.”
Rising through the ranks of Gungahlin United, the 16-year-old has come a long way since she was the little girl that told her mum and dad that she wanted to play football with the Gungahlin under-8 Bumblebees at Harrison.
Her selection into the Australian Schoolgirls side does come at a cost though, as players are required to financially contribute to the travel and accommodation.
To help cover the expenses, Jade has been raising money through car washing as well as her part-time job, while balancing her Year 11 studies at Gungahlin College and training for the upcoming NPLW season.
Her commitment to her club is not lost on her coach Diego Iglesias, who is impressed by her dedication to football.
“It is not often that you see a player like Jade come along,” he said. “We don’t see ‘Jades’ very often but when we do, we try to nurture them, develop them at the right pace.
“Jade has been with Gungahlin since she was six or seven. We have programs at Gungahlin that cater to the under-sixes right through to women’s football and we are very proud of that.
“We are very lucky to have Jade.”
To the young girls who are only starting their football journey and are inspired by Jade, she has this to say:
“There are always tough times in football and some days you might not feel like playing or training, but if you stick with it you can go far. The days that you don’t get selected in a team or the days you receive a setback only push you further along.”
Female Football Week provides a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the female players, coaches, volunteers and referees that impact the game. If there is someone you would like to acknowledge, please contact Lachlan Roberts.