PHOTO: VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
On the Bench with Sophie O’Brien
Team: Wallsend Devils
Position: Central Defender
Shirt Number: 4
Sophie began playing football as soon as she could, signing up at the age of 4 with St Joseph’s Soccer Club in Cessnock.
Sophie’s first taste of the Herald WPL competition was in 2014 where she played with the under 18s Emerging Jets prior to the teams’ transition into the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s League. Sophie continued to play for the Emerging Jets the following season and commuted to Sydney weekly before deciding to remain local for the 2016 season and play in Newcastle.
As such, Sophie signed with the Wallsend Devils and made it all the way to the Grand Final in her first season back in the WPL competition.
Throughout her years playing football, Sophie has represented Northern NSW at the National Championships from the under 13s right through to the under 17s. Like all sportspeople, Sophie has had her fair share of injuries in this time, tearing her posterior cruciate ligament in her knee in 2015, and again in January this year.
Having gained so much experience from a young age within very competitive competitions, Sophie has many career highlights. For Sophie, namely, “winning the WPL 1st Grade Grand Final when I was 16 was a big achievement individually, but in regard to the Devils, I was super proud of the team effort we produced in the finals last year,” she explained.
WPL PLAYERS’ PLAYER:
For Sophie’s WPL players’ player, she had to mention two. She said, “in regards to playing with, I have a lot of respect for Keely Gawthrop,” mentioning the Devils co-captain to be “a very hard worker, and the core of our team”. But in regard to her opponents, Sophie’s mention goes to Adamstown Rosebuds captain, Clare Cummings. Sophie says Cummings has an undying “passion for the sport and her club”. However, there is more to Cummings than just being a great football player… Sophie says that it would be crazy “not to mention her extraordinary music taste”.
OFF THE FIELD:
Currently, in her second year of studying Primary Teaching at the University of Newcastle and working part-time at Sweet Bean Café in New Lambton, Sophie is clearly a busy bee! In her spare time, she likes to hang out with her friends, listen to music (most likely music recommended.