Bunbury footballer Jaicie Atthowe has been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by a respected Victorian Football League club.
Atthowe was recently selected by the Essendon VFL Inaugural Women’s squad for its 2018 season campaign.
She and the side have since begun pre-season training.
The 19-year-old had trained in the Australian Rules Football College and played for Deer Park in 2017.
“I basically got informed about the trial by my head coach from the football college and it turned out the trial was on my birthday, so that was pretty exciting,” she said.
“I don’t know if it has all quite sunk in yet, this whole year has just been crazy and I never expected to be in a VFL team by now.
“The fact that it’s with a VFL side is even better and I just feel overwhelmed but so, so grateful.”
I get to be myself and it is the one thing I really love to do.Jaicie Atthowe
Atthowe first started playing for Carey Park when she was eight-years-old, and continued for the next five years.
She then stopped for three years before joining the South Bunbury Tigers’ Junior Women’s team.
Atthowe, convinced playing football was her calling, kept up the training and competition schedule.
“It’s always been my dream to play football, ever since I was eight-years-old,” she said.
“It has just always been in my heart.
“I just love the fact that people can come together and just enjoy a really great game.”
The footballer said she felt the most comfortable out on the field.
“I have never really thought about why I wanted to play, I just love the game,” she said.
“When I am out there on the field it just feels like I am not worrying about anything and it just takes me to a whole other planet, basically.
“I get to be myself and it is the one thing I really love to do.”
Atthowe said the state and national women’s leagues had provided valuable opportunities for aspiring female players around the country.
“Girls will be able to feel like they can achieve their goals, even if it seems like just a dream,” she said.
“Families all over the place can get involved in such a great sport.”