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How Ipswich is the breeding ground for tomorrow’s soccer stars

Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School (IGGS) is playing an increasingly important role in the development of elite soccer players.

IGGS is leading the charge at a grassroots level, as the number of girls across Australia choosing soccer as their team sport increases.

Chinchilla students Alyssa Cox and Natalie Stevenson are among those chasing their soccer dream as full-time boarders on a Rural Scholarship at Ipswich.

Before they moved to Ipswich this year, the girls and their families would travel up to 20 hours a week to drive the promising players to training and games. 

Last year the girls were both playing for the NPL South West Queensland Thunder U15 squad in Toowoomba.

Alyssa’s mother Francis Cox said the last three years had been flat out.

“We would travel three nights a week to Toowoomba,” Mrs Cox said.

“Straight after school we would drive to training for two hours one-way into Toowoomba.  It would be nine or 10 o’clock at night before we get back to Chinchilla.”

2015 South West Queensland school trials. Natalie Cox back row, third from left and Alyssa Stevenson front row, second from left.

Alyssa Cox playing for the IGGS Open football team.

Natalie’s mother Samantha Stevenson said the mother guilt is strong.

“I have three other children,” Mrs Stevenson said.

“I’m lucky I have so many friends and family to help with the other children.

“As someone pointed out to me once, we would do the same for the other kids too.”

Natalie said being at IGGS this year has allowed her to play even more soccer.

“At home we don’t have school soccer so I now have the opportunity to play both club and school soccer,” Ms Stevenson said.

The Queensland Girls’ Secondary Schools Sports Association (QGSSSA) is the premiere sporting competition in the area with 10 schools competing.

The IGGS is dominating in the soccer with its open football team winning the last seven QGSSSA premierships.

IGGS principal and CEO, Dr Peter Britton said a number of high-performing footballers have enrolled at the school to be a part of the tailored Football Program which allows for flexibility and extension beyond usual programs.

“Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School’s signature is inspiring girls to become confident well-educated young women,” Dr Britton said.

“We want our girls to be proud of who they are, where they come from and achieve their personal bests.”

While women sports are still trying to find traction with mass audiences, the pathways are now in place.

As Ipswich schools turn their focus on incubating the stars of tomorrow, it may be only a matter of time until we see one or more of our Ipswich women’s soccer players lacing up their boots and pulling on the green and gold to represent Australia.

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