Shefts determined to be drafted into AFLW
This week, Pittwater Tigers Youth Girls player, Ellie Shefts will represent her state at the 2017 AFL Female Diversity Championships in Byron Bay.
Here, Youth Girls footballers of Multicultural and Indigenous backgrounds from across Australia, will participate in a week-long, round-robin AFL competition.
Playing as a part of the NSW/ACT All Nations side, 15-year-old Shefts has a mixed Japanese and Israeli background, and migrated from Japan to Australia in 2011. Shefts says this period of her life was a time of great change.
“Australia is so different to Japan and initially it was such a shock, and I couldn’t get used to it for a long time,” she said.
“I had an American accent and I was a bit shy when I first got here, so I didn’t make many friends at first.
“It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been because there were two other kids who were new to the school who had also moved to Australia from a different country.”
Shefts says that playing AFL when she began school, meant she was able to establish friendships and root herself to Australian culture, something she had previously struggled with.
“My Year 4 teacher was the AFL Coordinator and didn’t have enough girls on the team, so he asked me and my friends to join the school team,” she said.
Despite her tentative beginnings, Shefts now describes herself as competitive and motivated, and whilst she did not grow up with AFL as a major part of her early life, she is now taking every opportunity to develop her football skills.
Shefts joined the AFL Sydney Juniors club, the Pittwatter Tigers in 2015 and her passion for the game began to blossom.
Now, she enjoys the game so much that she aspires to play AFL professionally in the AFL Women’s competition. Shefts says she hopes her favourite team, the Sydney Swans will one day have an AFLW team, which she strives to be drafted to.
AFL NSW/ACT Diversity Development Officer, Jess Atoui says the Championships will provide Shefts and her teammates with a unique Australian Football experience.
“It will provide the girls with the opportunity to play in an elite environment with others from their state,” said Atoui.
“The Championships also provide a pathway for a selection of girls to be selected for the representative side, the Medleys, consisting of the most talented 25 players from Multicultural backgrounds across Australia.”
Shefts and the NSW/ACT All Nations side will play six matches of 15-minute halves over three days at the 2017 AFL Female Diversity Championships this week in Byron Bay.