Canberra United has a proud history of showcasing talented local players, with more than half the squad locally based. This tradition has continued this season with the addition of talented 17-year-old Julia De Angelis.

Playing in the workman-like position of holding midfield, De Angelis will never catch the headlines for scoring a match-winning hat trick. However, this does not diminish her commitment to her role, or her importance to the team.

Image provided by Canberra United FC.

Playing in such an important position, one may assume De Angelis would have been eased into the side by the coaching staff, but that did not happen. De Angelis made two appearances off the bench in the opening three rounds, before making her starting debut at home last weekend against the Brisbane Roar.

De Angelis expressed her surprise at her immediate inclusion into the side and delight at playing in front of family and friends

“I have Mum and Dad in the crowd, but it was quite unexpected. I was a little nervous, but it was really exciting”, De Angelis said.

De Angelis’ starting debut lasted 82 minutes, coming off to a warm reception from the crowd with her team up 2-0 against one of the powerhouses of the competition, her job complete, having restricted the influence of proven international players such as Katrina Gorry and Elise Kellond-Knight during the match.

The Canberra native joined Canberra United having plied her trade with the ACT Academy of Sport (ACTAS) this year in the ACT Women’s Premier League competition.

As captain of the side, De Angelis led the young squad during their first year in the league to the Grand Final, but missed the big game, being away with Canberra United for their round one match.

De Angelis admitting the quick transition from ACTAS to Canberra United has been a challenge.

“Obviously the intensity is a lot higher, and the pace of the game is so much faster,” she said.

“But it’s a matter of getting used to that and easing my way into it all.”

One person that holds De Angelis in high regard is Canberra United assistant coach Raeanne Dower, who was also De Angelis’ coach at ACTAS.

“Even at her age she is the ultimate worker, a really disciplined and hard-working player who plays above her height, age, and experience,” Dower said.

“She understands her role; defensive midfield isn’t the prettiest position in football, but she is prepared to do that for the team.

“She is a real fighter, she wins tackles she shouldn’t win and against players much bigger than herself.”

De Angelis’ addition to the team couldn’t have come at a better time with the Canberra United squad, especially in a midfield, filled with experience. Lori Lindsey and Caitlin Munoz have both had decorated international careers with close to 90 international caps between them and can offer a lot to the younger players looking to learn.

“It’s a dream occasion for her to play with someone of the caliber of Lori Lindsey,” Dower said.

“Even in the twilight of her career, Lori is the ultimate professional in the way she prepares for matches and training. I’m sure Julia is taking it all in like a sponge.”

De Angelis will be part of the Canberra United squad to take on the Perth Glory this Saturday from 6pm at the Ashfield Sports Club.

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