KickStart coach earns national role

Queensland U18 Female KickStart coach Deja Anne Clanton has been selected as one of two assistant coaches for the inaugural National U18 Woomera’s team, adding to an impressive portfolio of achievements.

Deja played most of her football through WAWFL, after a friend introduced her to club football with East Fremantle.

“I played footy in high school and I didn’t know that there was a pathway into league, few years later a mate brought me down to an East Fremantle training session and I never looked back,”’ said the 2013 Yeronga Devil’s ruck.

Deja later became a member of the West Australian Women’s Football League State Squad (2007). She gives credit to Nicole Graves – her league and State level coach at that time – who is the first female to hold a level 3 AFL coaching accreditation.

Deja said, “She has been a driving force behind my footy encouraging me to try out for my first state team and I have learnt a lot from her over the years.”

After playing with EFFC for a few years she returned to the Pilbara for work as a Health Specialist for Rio Tinto Iron Ore after graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Sports and Exercise) from Edith Cowan University.

Deja moved back to Brisbane in January 2013 where she is studying a Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Queensland.

Some of Deja’s football achievements include:

• East Fremantle Football Clubs player of the finals and Umpires Award 2008

• NAIDOC (Perth) Sportswomen of the Year 2008

• Captain of “Indigenous All Stars” Squad – 2012- Western Australia Football League

• Club Captain of Women’s Team – Swan Districts Football Club – 2012

• Member of SEQ South – QLD State Champions Winners 2013

• Member of State Academy- 2012/2013 – Western Australia Football League.

“I have always been passionate about Indigenous pathways into footy, because football has given me so much and I want others to have the same opportunities,” she said.

“Our young girls need to be in an environment that not only teaches them life skills like team work, commitment and dedication, but introduces them to a whole other world outside of football and I think the KickStart and Woomeras programs does exactly that.

“I just looked at some of the talent on display during the KickStart championships and wished I could have been that good at 16.

“Being asked to coach QLD first KickStart team was such a privilege and learning curve for me but I had some great support through AFLQ’s – Breeanna Brock, Jesse Green and Ally Anderson – the only Queensland Indigenous Female to be drafted to Western Bulldogs at the inaugural AFL Women’s draft.

“Being recognized from the championships and asked to assistant coach alongside Chris Johnson was a welcomed surprise.”

The first ever all indigenous female side (National Woomeras) will compete at the National U18 Youth Women’s Championships in Canberra from the 1st May to the 9th May 2014, playing in Division 1.

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