Having your life together at 19-years-old is a remarkable feat. And football player Ellie Carpenter has just done that.
When she was just 16-years-old Ellie was able to say she had represented Australia, been to the Olympic Games and trekked it around the globe to play football professionally.
There’s no doubt that Ellie is absolutely killin’ it on and off the field. Just take a peek at her insta.
There's no denying that Ellie has had a cracking career so far–she was the first millennial to make the Matildas, has received esteemed accolades for her football skills and was the youngest ever female footballer to compete at the Olympics.
More importantly, she’s a testament that following your dreams, accompanied by hard work and sacrifice, can be worth it. Even if you drop out of high school.
“My advice would be, no matter what anyone tells you, you’re not good enough, you’re too small or you’re not fast enough, keep working and keep grounded and no matter what anyone says, you believe what your dreams are and you’ve got to make them come true.”
Ellie grew up in a country town called Cowra in NSW. From a very young age, her parents knew she was going to be a football player when she grew up.
At age 8, she was travelling across NSW to train with development squads. Trekking it from Cowra to make sure she could attend training sessions and games. But her parents didn’t mind–they encouraged her to be the best football player she could be no matter how many kms it took.
And when Ellie watched the London Olympics in 2012, she knew she wanted to be out there on the field for the 2016 Olympics, representing Australia.
In her journey, things started to get serious. At the age of 12, Ellie and her Mum packed their bags, left their friends and moved to Sydney to enhance her football finesse. And when it was time for her to go to high school, she enrolled in Westfields Sport High but it wasn’t always walk in the park.
“One of the hardest things I’ve had to overcome so far would be moving away from home at twelve and leaving my family,” Ellie said in an interview. “But this is what you’ve got to do if you want to make it. It isn’t simple. It’s definitely not easy.”
Juggling high school and her intense football training regime, it wasn’t long until she signed her first W-League contract with the Western Sydney Wanderers.
After four games, Ellie caught the attention of national selectors and earned an invite to a Matildas training camp in November 2015.
“I’m sure it would’ve been nice to do a few more of those normal things, but I’m not sad about it.”
After working her absolute bloody hardest, she made her Matildas debut in March 2016, playing two games during Australia’s Olympic qualifier tournament in Japan.
At only 15 during the tournament, Ellie became the first player born in this millennium to play senior international football for Australia.
“When I made my debut for the Matildas I knew I had a chance, so I worked really hard at the training camps and showed Staj (coach Alen Stajcic) what I can do,” Ellie told the Daily Telegraph.
Ellie was then named a part of the Matildas squad for the Rio Olympic Games. And while they didn’t come home with a medal, Ellie is grateful for the experience.
“It's such an amazing feeling and experience. To come into the squad and be part of the team with the girls is amazing,” Ellie said to The Sydney Morning Herald. “Our hard work has paid off and to make it to Rio, the Olympics is such an amazing feeling."
Shortly after, Ellie decided to leave school in Year 10, comparing her situation to a tradie leaving school at the same age for work.
To top it all off, she's just been named the 2017/18 NAB Young Footballer of the Year and has been named in the Matildas squad for the World Cup.
At such a young age, Ellie is one of the brightest sporting prospects in Australia. Her love for football, her hunger to continue to break barriers, unbridled enthusiasm and invaluable spirit is a catalyst for the growth of women’s football.
“It's great there are those options now for women in sport and the way women's football is growing and keeps growing.”
She’s just one of the many young Aussies proving that you can kill the game even without finishing high school.
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