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Archive for May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017 — An interesting career change

Georgie Parker has been a supernova of a field hockey player for the Australia Hockeyroos the last five years. In a career lasting a shade more than 100 appearances, she had 33 goals and gave many sleepless nights to opposing coaches and tacticians trying to find a way to stop her.

But for Parker and her career, the peak came in the summer of 2014 when Australia won the Commonwealth Games and placed second in the FIH World Cup only after a shootout win over the United States.

This week, it’s been announced that Parker, at the age of 28, would begin training to play with the Collingswood Magpies in the new Australia Football League for Women. Parker is one of a number of women who have been called “code switchers,” people who have certain skills from various other sports such as indoor cricket and Ultimate Frisbee.

Australian Rules Football has been played by women for more than 100 years, and there are roughly 300 women’s club sides across Australia. But only this year has the game become professionalized, with AFL Premiership clubs on the men’s side offering space and facilities to the women’s clubs which are playing in front of unexpected crowds. Indeed, there was one match recently held where the gates had to be locked, leaving nearly 2,000 willing supporters outside the ground.

What’s interesting about this endeavor is that the AFLW is not being held in a vacuum: there is an under-18 competition to provide the next generation of women’s footy stars.

It’s something that no professional women’s league in America has, and I think that bodes extremely well for the league’s future.

Perhaps the people running field hockey in Australia and worldwide need to take notice.