From Texas to Perth: Gabriella Coleman’s long journey to the A-League Women

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American striker has already netted one goal for Perth Glory’s A-League Women side, but what made her travel to Australia for football?

The 24-year-old has starred in the American Elite Club National League, at college level and as a professional in Iceland. She scored nine goals in her first season for the HK Kopavogur women’s side last season and has recently joined the Perth Glory Women’s team. How did she get here?

Let’s rewind a bit.

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Coleman began playing football around the age of four alongside other sports her parents enrolled her in. However, she says football became her favourite throughout her childhood and into her late teens.

“My parents put me in a lot of different sports and soccer was the one where I just enjoyed the most. I did run track. That was really my first sport, but I just enjoyed soccer more. It was more a team sport than just an individual sport,” she says.

Coleman’s father Marcus boasts an 11-year NFL career at the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans. He also has All-American and Hall of Fame awards. She says he was more than happy about her decision to pick up the world game.

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“He was very excited that I was very passionate about a sport that I wanted to continue doing,” Coleman said.

“So when he realised that I was more focused into playing soccer and wanted to go to a higher level he kind of guided me, gave me a lot of advice…which was really helpful because he was someone I talked to a lot through my whole career.

“Whenever I’m frustrated or I need some advice from him, I just go and call him. I do talk to my mother about certain stuff but with him it’s different because he understands, and he’s been through all of it. So it’s more of a connection between me and him.”

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Coleman continued to play football throughout her childhood and late teens. By her first year in high school she decided she would focus on going professional, however by the beginning of college this dream almost didn’t come true. Although she had played in the ECNL, Coleman says her coach at university almost put her off pursuing a career in football.

“I was leaning towards not wanting to play anymore. I was like, ‘I don’t think I want to do this’ and I know it’s going to be harder if I do go professional. So that was where I was at for a bit. But I had a lot of people convince me not to stop, because I’d gotten that far,” she said.

“I would say mostly my mother [motivates me the most]. It’s always been me and her and until she’s gotten remarried, she’s been my person. She’s been the one who’s pushed me since the beginning.

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She’s the one who’s motivated me the most and especially when I decided to go play professional, she was very excited. Credit all to her she’s the reason why I’m here.”

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Following her university experience at Mississippi State, Coleman transferred to Oklahoma State University. She says this motivated her even more to play professional.

“When I transferred to OSU, there was a couple of girls who went [professional] and that really motivated me more to like actually lead towards playing professional,” Coleman said.

“My coaches at Oklahoma State University encouraged me to go play overseas instead of staying in the States to play.”

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After her time playing university level football, Coleman signed for HK Kopavogur in Iceland. She scored nine goals for the side in the single season she was there.

Coleman finally landed at Perth Glory following phone calls with American teammate Cyera Hintzen as well as head coach Alex Epakis.

“Cyera was one of the reasons why I came and then Alex reminds me of a lot of past coaches I’ve had which I felt was the reason why I was so successful in my career,” she said.

“He’s a coach who actually cares. He’s not like someone who’s just like, ‘Oh it’s all about soccer.’ He also cares about personal life, mental health and how you’re doing as a person outside of the whole soccer world, which is what i’ve experienced in the past before.

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So that’s what qualities really drew me in.”

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Feature image credit: Tom McCarthy

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Alex Govan
Alex Govanhttps://alexgovan1.wixsite.com/alexgovan
Aspiring sports journalist and passionate follower of the A-League and Premier League. Young, motivated and keen to be a part of TFS team.

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