Girl heroes don’t give up just because people tell them that they can’t do something.
Isabel, Izzy, Huntington has played footy all her life. Now 18, she started playing at 5 and she loves it – and she is good at it. Really good it. Izzy dreamed of being a footballer player but, over the years, that dream has often been squashed with comments from other people and little opportunities for girls to play footy, especially once you reached high school.
However, Izzy was determined to play and play competitively at the highest level possible – and that meant playing against the boys. Often she was the only girl playing on the field. But there weren’t just challenges on the field: off the field she also faced resistance.
‘As a young girl in a league full of only boys, I was constantly told I couldn’t play AFL. Comments like ‘footy is a man’s game’ were a regular occurrence on and off the field, and many people were shocked to see a young girl playing such a physical sport… I was lucky enough to find my way through a completely male dominated sport.’
I don’t think luck had anything to do with it. Izzy persevered, she kept training and she kept asking to play at the highest level. She didn’t give up.
At 14, she was told she could no longer play in a mixed team. She switched to local woman’s footy and quickly made a name for herself but she was frustrated.
‘Boys could go on and play AFL and make a full-time career of it, but I would just play at a local club’
But Izzy kept going, training hard and getting better and better. In 2016 she starred at the youth girl championships, booting five goals and having more than 30 touches. She was one to watch.
And then, this year, the inaugural Australian Football Women’s League season changed everything. There was now a pathway for Izzy and all girls to play professional football – and Izzy is being talked about as a potential number one pick for the draft in October.
‘Now that the AFLW is available for female footballers, young girls have an abundance of role models to look up to, and can have clear visions of their future in the sport.’
And just last week, Izzy was announced as League Football Ambassador for the Victorian South Metro Junior Football League – Izzy has already begun to be a wonderful role model for young girls herself.
Izzy Huntington – girl hero.
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