Our GSAP Girls, Girls Development and Youth girl teams were lucky enough to meet and interact with fast paced defender DANIKA MATOS from the Western Sydney Wanderers Liberty A-League team last Thursday night at training.
Danika is a local girl who started playing soccer age 9 for Port Kembla, before moving to the Illawarra Stingrays. In 2019, she had the opportunity to train-on with the Western Sydney Wanderers Women’s First Grade team and was signed soon after, and has now been playing in the Red and Black for the past four seasons.
Danika was joined by her Wanderers Women’s Liberty A-League Head Coach Kat Smith, who shared her perspective on what it takes to break into the top level of soccer in Australia and become a professional player. As a coach, she looks for commitment and unrelenting effort, always putting in 100% and having a positive attitude. This aligned with the thoughts of Danika when asked how to make it to the top – commitment, sacrifice, hard work, and a positive mindset.
Each Flame squad had the opportunity to chat with both Danika and Kat who shared their soccer journey experiences, and joined in on some of the training drills our coaches were putting their players through. Danika even accepted a juggling challenge with player Georgia Gomes from U13’s who displayed her exceptional skills and easily kept the ball in the air much to the Flame girls delight.
The level of training Danika undertakes and starting time each day of 4.30am is a testament to her dedication and motivation to succeed in her current position. As a left full back, she noted that although her strong foot was her right, she plays left so that it becomes her strength. Consistent practice and repetition is what makes someone great at what they do.
It was an exciting afternoon for our girls to spend time with and hear from a professional player, and to see them in person makes their childhood dreams a little more real. We thank Danika and Kat for their time and interaction with our players who we believe will have been inspired by their journeys.