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Athlete spotlight: Matildas star Steph Catley

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soccer ball on pitch

Professional soccer (football) player Stephanie Catley is one busy woman! Steph represents Australia in football championships around the world, all while studying a Bachelor of Education (Primary) through Swinburne Online. We caught up with Steph to chat all things football and study.

Steph Catley

Kicking goals

Steph’s passion for football started at a young age, fuelling her drive to be the best she can be. Her commitment to the game has paid off as she has conquered one challenge after another.

“I started playing when I was 6. I was the only girl in a boys’ team from then until around 13 years old. I fell in love with the game and with the idea of making myself the best footballer that I could be. I trained by myself, with my brother and with the other boys in the team until I made my first representative team,” Steph says.

At the age of just 15, Steph made her first state team, where she was chosen for the Under 17s National team and later the Under 20s Young Matildas.

“I made my debut in the W-League for Melbourne Victory when I was 15 years old and ended up captaining that team to a championship four years later. I then made my Matildas debut and currently have 64 caps, have played in two Asian Cups, a World Cup and an Olympic Games,” she says.

Steph has been a part of making Australian football history with her current club, Melbourne City. The team was the first ever to win three championships in a row, with Steph as captain for the last two years!

Steph’s interest in primary teaching began when she was in high school and she sees herself working as a teacher in her life after football.

Finding the right balance

When touring with the national team Steph’s days are full of training, meetings and media appearances, so it can prove difficult to find the time for study.

“Balancing football and study can be really difficult at times. I try to keep my study load quite low, between one to two subjects at a time, depending on how busy my football calendar is. When I’m at a major tournament, overseas or in a hotel where the wifi isn’t great, it can be very challenging,” she says.

However, I also love the distraction that study allows me away from my football life. It’s given me balance and an opportunity to switch my brain off from my sport, which often dominates my life.

Online study suits Steph’s lifestyle perfectly and depending on her football schedule, she can study at a time of day that best suits her. So, how is Steph celebrating the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup we hear you cry?

“I’ll be in America, most likely watching the games with my teammates at bars. Or getting up early with Lydia, who I live with in Seattle, to watch the Socceroos.”

What an inspiration! If you are ever in doubt about your studies, remember, if professional athlete Stephanie Catley can balance it all, so can you!