Local player pitches in at historic match

Burdekin soccer star Ellyana Mugica was on the field on Friday’s historic match between the Matilda’s and New Zealand Football Ferns.

Ellie Carpenter (Matilda’s player) and Ellyana Mugica.

FOOTBALL Queensland invited Burdekin FC Premier Ladies player Ellyana Mugica to be a ball girl at Friday’s historic soccer game at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

As a ball girl, her primary duty was to collect the ball when it came off the field in her area. As she was on the western corner, she said.

“None of the balls came into my area, so I didn’t get to do much, but it was a great view to sit and watch.”

Ellyana admitted she was more excited than nervous to watch the game at such close range. “We saw the teams warm-up and all that, but we didn’t talk to them until after the game,” she said.

When the match was over, Ellyana was able to get autographs and photos with the Matilda’s, including captain Sam Kerr and favourite player Ellie Carpenter. “They were all really nice girls and more than willing to chat, have photos and sign my jerseys,” she said.

Before embarking on her soccer career, Ellyana was a ballet dancer and touch footy player. “I picked up soccer to be fit in the offseason for touch football. And then I ended up trialling for NQ School Girls, and I started playing after that,” said Ellyana. She started playing for Burdekin Juniors Football Club Competition in 2019 at 12 years old.

At 15, she is the youngest player on the Burdekin Panthers Premier’s Women’s team in addition to the FQ Northern Academy U17 girls team in Townsville, and she has no plans to return to touch footy or ballet.

Ellyana was recently selected for the 2022 U15 North Queensland girls team and will play at the State Championships in Cairns in May before heading to Ipswich in June/July for the FQ State Carnival, where she will represent U17 FQ Northern Academy Girls.

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Catherine Duffy is a budding writer with a background in creative writing, English literature and journalism. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines both locally and internationally. She has a particular interest in regional and community-based news stories. ... more