Alana is currently playing for Junior NTC in Victoria and has big goals to play for Australia and make the W-League.

The left-foot winger began playing football at five because of the influence of her family, including her brother, Dean, who’s a current NPLVIC player.

Based in the north-east of Melbourne, Alana’s parents, Silvana and Tony signed her up at Bundoora United where she had experience playing with boys until she was 11.

Silvana, who is a primary school teacher, praised her daughter and said she was loving how female sport was promoted today.

“She played with Dean in the backyard and we saw she had that natural ability, so we thought ‘why don’t we try her out with soccer?’,” Silvana told TWG.

“I took her to Bundoora only because it was local and I wanted to see how she goes first in case she thought it wasn’t for her.

“From the first time she started, you could see on the pitch she had something. Other people started to notice and asked ‘who’s this girl and where’d she come from?’.

“As a parent everyone thinks their kid is the best player on the pitch, but she did do well and playing with boys really helped her.

“I think she just adapted, she never felt out of place and the boys made her feel welcome. She had that natural ability, passion and hard-work.”

Alana has experience traveling interstate to play futsal and nationals for school. She also played in the NTC challenge in Canberra in May where she scored.

She also had the opportunity to train with Melbourne City’s W-League team with the likes of Steph Catley, Lydia Williams, Kyah Simon and Alanna Kennedy.

NTC Victoria in Canberra in May. By Ben Southall

And the teenager said reaching professional level was in her goals, but was also keen on pursuing tertiary studies after high school.

“I know how professional you have to be and how much fitness and athleticism you have to have, so that’s one of my long term goals,” Alana said.

“Training with City was very different compared to what I’m used to. It’s much harder and there’s much more expected of you.

“It was a great experience for me to train with players like that and just to learn off them. It’s where I want to be, so they’re like mentors for me. It’s how I aspire to be and I hope to be there one day.

“Nerves do get to me when it’s an important game and nationals can be very stressful and nerve-racking, so you have to control them.

“Once you get out there and touch the ball for the first time, all the nerves go away and there’s freedom on the pitch.

“At NTC, we’re a young team, so we struggle with physicality, which is a big thing for us. Quality-wise, I think we know how to play and our technical skills are very good. We’re a great team tactically.”