Josie Allan is hopeful her Northern NSW Football under-16s team can go all the way at the 2022 National Youth Championships later this year.
The Girls National Youth Championships will be held at Coffs Harbour from 19 to 23 September, with the Boys NYC to follow from 26 to 30 September.
NNSWF will enter under-14s and 16s squads in the girls tournament, with Allan one of the players to watch in the under-16s group.
As well as her selection in the NNSWF squad, Allan is in Indonesia as part of the Junior Matildas squad for the AFF under-18s Women’s Championship 2022.
The 16-year-old from Charlestown was chosen in the squad on the back of impressive showings at four Junior Matildas camps over the last six months.
Allan and a number of her Newcastle Jets Academy teammates make up the NNSWF under-16s squad, which will be coached by Mara Watts.
And Allan is keen for NNSWF to put in a strong showing at the tournament.
“I think through hard work, effort at training and taking onboard feedback from our coaches we have a good chance at taking home the gold medal,” Allan said.
“I know most of the girls from past teams and we have a lot of Jets Academy girls so we have a lot of friends.
“Individually the tournament is a great chance to get identified as a player but to do that we need to play well and be successful as a team.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of the last two National Youth Championships tournaments, Allan is just keen to get on the pitch and test herself against the best of the best for her age from across the country.
The Hunter Sports High School student said she hoped that competition would give her a good indication of where she is at as a player and a leader.
“I hope playing in the tournament will help me become more of a leader in future teams,” Allan said.
“People that I look up to are always leaders. It helps me become better at communication and talking on the field. The major one I look up to in football is Sam Kerr, she’s just always so eager to win.
“Also just picking up new skills and gaining a better knowledge of the game as well as getting the chance to play and get [identified].”
The tournament will be Allan’s second appearance at the National Youth Championships, having been part of the under-14s Newcastle Jets side that featured in 2019.
Allan, a winger or attacking midfielder, has come a long way since first kicking a ball with junior clubs Kahibah FC and Charlestown Junior FC.
She represented NSW twice at primary school and has now graduated to the Junior Matildas, with Allen saying that experience had been vital to her development as a player.
“The camps have been really good, really intense,” Allan said.
“It’s a great chance to improve and see things from a coach’s perspective. The coach feedback plays a big role. They’re always looking to help players develop in different ways.
“Also the learning curve. They know you’re going to make mistakes but that make it so you don’t worry about it, making mistakes helps you learn and improve. You’re always moving forward.”
As for the future, Allan has her sights set on a career as a professional.
“One day I want to go pro. When I finish school I want to go to America and play college football,” Allan said.
“Of course anything could happen so you’ve got to have a back up option in life. If you don’t make it you’ve got to have something else to look back on. But I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Matildas, that’s my biggest goal.”
Upsize your NYC
Northern NSW Football has hosted the National Youth Championships since 2006 through the support of long-time partners Coffs City Council and the NSW Government.
It is estimated that this year’s National Youth Championships will attract 3,000 visitors to Coffs Harbour and surrounding areas. The NYC will deliver strong economic benefits to the local economy, while competitors will experience some of the state’s best regional sporting facilities.
You can also holiday on NSW’s Coffs Coast before or after the on-field action.
From ancient rainforests and a pristine marine park to the Big Banana Fun Park and gorgeous beaches, Coffs Coast is a wonderland of attractions. Head out and enjoy fun adventures such as kayaking, surfing and mountain biking, or go bushwalking and discover spectacular lookouts.