PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Number 2 for the Newcastle Jets Women is the very impressive 18-year-old Sophie Nenadovic. Having just returned from the Young Matilda’s Asian Cup qualifiers in China last week, Sophie played her first game of the 2016.17 Westfield W-League season against Melbourne Victory on the weekend where the Jets Women came away with a 4-0 trashing over Melbourne.
“Initially I was meant to be on the bench, but Grace [McIntyre] was sick with gastro which gave me the opportunity to start.”
“I really enjoyed playing at right back, a position I’m more familiar with and I got to play the full 90,” Sophie explained.
Sophie began her football career at the age of 10, signing with her local team, the Warners Bay Panthers. Proving to be a stand out player from the get go, Sophie’s talent was recognised only five years after her first game of football. She progressed rapidly through the ranks and signed her first contract with the Jets for the 2013.14 season.
In 2013 and at the age of 15, Sophie had her debut game with the Jets in round 2 of the W-League when she was subbed on for the last 15 minutes of the game, unfortunately, the Jets took a penetrating 4-0 loss from the always strong Sydney FC side.
“I went on as left fullback with about 15 minutes to go, I think Pete (McGuiness) was happy with how I played which gave me a lot of confidence.”
“The following week I was on the starting team against Adelaide and became a regular for the rest of the season, which is pretty exciting for my first season of the W-League,” Sophie said.
The results of Sophie’s debut game proved to be a highlight in her already extraordinary footballing career. Another highlight of Sophie’s career would be her first W-League goal against Perth Glory, which again occurred in her first season with the Jets.
After returning to Newcastle following a winter season playing for the Emerging Jets in Sydney’s Women’s Premier League, Sophie is glad to be back in Newcastle and representing her hometown.
“[I] always feel supported and included at Newcastle.”
“I’ve also grown up in Newcastle, so to play for my hometown just seems right”, stated Sophie.
Coach Craig Deans commends the young gun, stating “she’s technically a very good player, and as she’s so versatile, she’s great to have in the squad”.
“Where she filled in on the weekend, she did a great job and she played the full 90, which was the first time in a long time since a few injuries.”
“Her performance on the weekend was pleasing and hopefully she can continue on for the rest of the year and keep her sights on the Under 20’s National team for the World Cup in 2018,” Deans said.
On the field:
Even when Sophie began in the W-League competition at 15, the Young Matilda has had no fear when coming up against players who are often older or more experienced than her.
A strong two-footed player, her control of the ball often makes her touch look effortless. Although Sophie’s original position was in defence, her recent move into midfield has proved she is a versatile player, which will be imperative for the Jets this season. Sophie’s move into this role sees her team relying on her when taking corners, and it was Sophie’s corner ball which aided Arin Gilliland’s beautiful header into the back of the net on the weekend.
Off the field:
When asking Sophie about what she likes to do in her spare time she simply replied, “What spare time?” Between her busy footballing schedule Sophie is currently “working towards earning entry into a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of Newcastle”. When she does get a bit of down time Sophie enjoys soaking up the sun at one of Newcastle’s many awesome beaches!